I quietly sneak around the room in the morning, packing up the last of my belongings and trying not to wake anyone. I feel a bit bad that I won’t say a proper goodbye, but I really hate goodbyes anyway so this is better.
The ferry to Kyllini is much bigger than the one that brought us from Zakynthos. It even has an escalator. The first room of seating I enter looks a bit like a casino lounge. Bright lights and leather lounge chairs arranged around small circular drink tables. The man running the snack bar is wearing a tie.
I can’t see a class designation anywhere on my ticket but I’m certain I don’t belong here with my dirty backpack, so I move on to the next room. This is set up more like a giant coach bus or plane, with rows of seats all facing the same direction; no leg room. I’m kind of curious to see what the next room will have to offer, but I’m lugging my bag around and don’t care where I sit for a 1 hour journey, so I post up in one of these strange coach bus seats next to a window. NO ONE is on this boat. Not in comparison to how big it is. If these armrests were adjustable I could make myself a nice little bed, but they’re not. Instead I just put my feet up between the seats in front of me. No one is around so I can even stretch em out a little. It’s not the casino lounge, but it’s comfortable enough for me.
As the boat starts to pull away, my seating area remains empty, yet some curious gentleman decides that out of ALLLLLLLL the seats in this room, he requires the seat directly in front of me, and motions for me to move my feet so he can sit down.
Like. Okay. But also, not okay, because SIT SOMEWHERE ELSE. Literally even the window seat behind me. Annoyed, I decide to move to one of the other 8 billion seats instead. Human behaviour never ceases to amaze me.
From the ferry I immediately board a coach bus that will bring me to Athens. I sit next to a stranger who is traveling with his family in the seats next to us. I don’t even realize I’m tired until I wake up, with my head resting on this poor strangers shoulder. Oops! He’s lovely about it but I’m obviously embarrassed and awkward.
After 4 long pretty quick hours on the bus, I arrive at the bustling Athens terminal. I have 7% battery and a screenshot of the Air BnB address, but I’m two hours early to pick up the keys.
I grab a taxi for 3€ to the Air BnB address, and walk down the street to find a cafe where I hope to recharge and use some wifi. It’s kind of a strange neighbourhood; I don’t feel in danger per se, but I get the vibe it’s not the greatest area to be in. I do eventually come across a little empty café, with two women behind the bar smoking, and an old Greek man at a table enjoying a coffee and a cigarette as well. I ask if there’s a place I can charge my phone, and they motion for me to sit right next to the old man, where there is a power outlet. No one speaks English so there’s a lot of smiling and hand gesturing. I make a mental note to learn some basic Greek while I’m here. I don’t even know how to say hello, which is ridiculous.
I order an iced coffee, because there is no menu and I don’t know what else to do so I just point at the beverage the woman behind the counter is drinking. I’m not a coffee drinker at all, but I know I need to pay for something so this’ll do.
I open up my laptop in the smokey cafe and kill two hours. I lug my stuff across the street to collect the keys to the flat. The woman who meets me is the mother of the guy we’ve been in contact with, and also speaks no English. More hand gestures and smiles. The flat is way bigger than I expected and seems to have everything we could possibly need (with the exception of a shower curtain. A shower curtain would be cool.)
I’m the first to arrive and therefore entitled to the best bedroom, duh. Chances are I’ll be sharing this with someone at some point but for now I get the double bed and balcony all to myself.
I spend tons more time on my laptop, writing. I plan to go out and get food because I’m starving and haven’t eaten, but I get so wrapped up that I don’t even realize the sun has gone down. Like I said before, I don’t think I’m staying in the safest area of Athens, and didn’t see a plethora of restaurant options in the vicinity. I decide to order in.
Providing the name listed on the buzzer directory downstairs is a mission. It’s not a simple 3piso 1puerta (3rd floor 1st door) like in Spain, it’s the name of the person living in the flat. In Greek.
I’m a problem solver, let me tell you.
I find the family name on the outside of our door, run downstairs to find the match on the directory, take a screen shot, return upstairs, find the Greek alphabet on Google, and copy and paste in individual letter to the delivery page. MΠOYPAΣ.
At 2am Cesc arrives and we are reunited! We catch up over a beer on our lovely front balcony and discuss plans for our time here. We’ve arrived about 3 or 4 days before the others are expected to turn up, and decide to swing by a squatters residence tomorrow to meet some people and see what kind of volunteer help they need. I’m getting more and more excited about getting this underway!