Monday, July 13  Kioni to Messolonghi… to Athens   

 Last night after our dinner on the boat I went for a walk around the village of Kioni then back to the terrace to enjoy the last evening on the Greek islands in the Ionian Sea. I wrote some more and enjoyed a small dessert of baklava (I thought I might as well while I’m still here!) It was quite nice. We were to have an early start the following day so I wanted to get to bed at a decent time. 

 Ross & I were up early and got the boat ready for departure. I pulled up the anchor and Ross freed the stern lines as we motored out of the bay, leaving the beautiful village of Kioni behind. About an hour later the rest of our crew (Joe & Lisa) got up for the day. Using up the last of our consumables I made everyone a dish of Greek yogurt with fruit, and we continued on our way towards Messolonghi. It was a long sail and took close to 10 hours for us to reach our destination. Approaching Messolonghi there’s a long canal all the boats must enter to reach the marina. The scenery here was much different to the islands! Certainly not as pretty… 

 We spent about an hour coming into the marina as we took down the headsail and tidied up the boat a little. Ross & I also went to the office and he took care of his paperwork for the boat haul-out he has planned for later in the week (he’s getting work done on the boat over the summer before going sailing with it again in October) and I enquired about bus times to Athens for the next day. 

 My plan was to catch the 04:20 am bus, which would have me arriving in Athens at 07:50. I needed to be there before 10:00 to be able to drop off my stuff at my accommodation and make my way to the bike tour I have booked. There was only one tour available and it was at 10:00, so the next bus at 06:30 wouldn’t give me enough time to make it. I couldn’t quite believe it when the lady told me the 04:20 bus was full. I really didn’t think such an early bus would be full but apparently people like to arrive early in Athens. My only other option was the 20:30 bus tonight—in just a couple of hours! So I booked a seat, got back to the boat and had a really quick shower, then packed and tidied my cabin in a hurry, and ran to join Ross, Lisa, & Joe for our last dinner together. I had to eat in a hurry as the restaurant wasn’t too prompt with the food. It tasted good but I would have preferred to take my time especially with it being our final time together. At 20:15 the taxi arrived and I had to bid my skipper & crewmates a fond farewell. Before I knew it I was onto the next leg of the journey. 

 The bus station in Messolonghi was only about a six minute drive from the marina, and it wasn’t anything special—just like any other ugly bus station with the same rough crowd hanging around. The bus actually wasn’t going to be leaving until 20:45 and it was even 10 minutes later showing up. It was a full load to Athens. It wasn’t too comfortable and I was so tired. I nodded off for part of the journey but also tried to pay attention to the route. 

 The bus arrived at the station around 01:00 am. It was pretty quite around there then but there were a few taxi cabs waiting for fares. After explaining where I needed to go on my phone’s map they understood and agreed to take me there for €10.  The driver wasted no time driving down a back alley full of potholes, hitting every one of them with his car with shot suspension. It was quite the ride. He seemed fairly relaxed but still drove as if he was frustrated and in a hurry. And he was smoking (with the windows down, thankfully)  sidenote: it seems everyone in Greece (and Italy) smokes. Even the bus driver was smoking while we were going down the highway!  

 After going in circles a few times we arrived at what the map indicated was my destination. After double-checking the address I collected my bags and paid the driver. Let’s just say it’s a rough-looking neighbourhood. I’m sure it’s safe enough—I’m not worried… just looking forward to a clean bed to sleep in.

Monday, July 13
Kioni to Messolonghi… to Athens

Last night after our dinner on the boat I went for a walk around the village of Kioni then back to the terrace to enjoy the last evening on the Greek islands in the Ionian Sea. I wrote some more and enjoyed a small dessert of baklava (I thought I might as well while I’m still here!) It was quite nice. We were to have an early start the following day so I wanted to get to bed at a decent time.

Ross & I were up early and got the boat ready for departure. I pulled up the anchor and Ross freed the stern lines as we motored out of the bay, leaving the beautiful village of Kioni behind. About an hour later the rest of our crew (Joe & Lisa) got up for the day. Using up the last of our consumables I made everyone a dish of Greek yogurt with fruit, and we continued on our way towards Messolonghi. It was a long sail and took close to 10 hours for us to reach our destination. Approaching Messolonghi there’s a long canal all the boats must enter to reach the marina. The scenery here was much different to the islands! Certainly not as pretty…

We spent about an hour coming into the marina as we took down the headsail and tidied up the boat a little. Ross & I also went to the office and he took care of his paperwork for the boat haul-out he has planned for later in the week (he’s getting work done on the boat over the summer before going sailing with it again in October) and I enquired about bus times to Athens for the next day.

My plan was to catch the 04:20 am bus, which would have me arriving in Athens at 07:50. I needed to be there before 10:00 to be able to drop off my stuff at my accommodation and make my way to the bike tour I have booked. There was only one tour available and it was at 10:00, so the next bus at 06:30 wouldn’t give me enough time to make it. I couldn’t quite believe it when the lady told me the 04:20 bus was full. I really didn’t think such an early bus would be full but apparently people like to arrive early in Athens. My only other option was the 20:30 bus tonight—in just a couple of hours! So I booked a seat, got back to the boat and had a really quick shower, then packed and tidied my cabin in a hurry, and ran to join Ross, Lisa, & Joe for our last dinner together. I had to eat in a hurry as the restaurant wasn’t too prompt with the food. It tasted good but I would have preferred to take my time especially with it being our final time together. At 20:15 the taxi arrived and I had to bid my skipper & crewmates a fond farewell. Before I knew it I was onto the next leg of the journey.

The bus station in Messolonghi was only about a six minute drive from the marina, and it wasn’t anything special—just like any other ugly bus station with the same rough crowd hanging around. The bus actually wasn’t going to be leaving until 20:45 and it was even 10 minutes later showing up. It was a full load to Athens. It wasn’t too comfortable and I was so tired. I nodded off for part of the journey but also tried to pay attention to the route.

The bus arrived at the station around 01:00 am. It was pretty quite around there then but there were a few taxi cabs waiting for fares. After explaining where I needed to go on my phone’s map they understood and agreed to take me there for €10. The driver wasted no time driving down a back alley full of potholes, hitting every one of them with his car with shot suspension. It was quite the ride. He seemed fairly relaxed but still drove as if he was frustrated and in a hurry. And he was smoking (with the windows down, thankfully) sidenote: it seems everyone in Greece (and Italy) smokes. Even the bus driver was smoking while we were going down the highway!

After going in circles a few times we arrived at what the map indicated was my destination. After double-checking the address I collected my bags and paid the driver. Let’s just say it’s a rough-looking neighbourhood. I’m sure it’s safe enough—I’m not worried… just looking forward to a clean bed to sleep in.

Dale NicholsComment