It’s been 10 years since my trip to Europe and Africa with Nicola. Here is my journal entry 10 years ago today.
[Sunday, April 25, 2004: Santorini, Greece]
So on Friday we got up at 7:30 to catch the bus to Fira, which they pronounce as “thira.” We took the cable car down to the port. It’s a very steep hill, more like a cliff. On our boat there were a bunch of Americans. My favorites were the ones wearing flip flops. Who goes to an active volcano wearing flip flops? Apparently, they were part of a class on a field trip. So we got off at the volcano. What a huge ass volcano. Walked along this little path to the top. Pretty neat, really windy. Nicola and I joked about being blown into the volcano crater by the wind. Spent about an hour and a half there, walking around, and then took the boat to the hot springs. We decided to go swimming. In the fucking Aegean Sea. Some of the American kids decided to as well. The seawater was freezing – colder than Temagami. It was wonderful tasting clean saltwater. We swam to the hot springs, which turned out to be really only lukewarm. Muddy too – my cute cherry bathing suit got all stained from the mud. Changing on the boat was interesting. Did half of it with a bunch of boys around, but it didn’t really bother me if they saw me in my bra. On our way to another island everyone went to the bottom of the boat (it was a glass-bottomed boat) to see the coral and the crew played really cheesy dramatic music during the whole thing.
Nic and I got off the boat and sure enough – just like Mr. Mclaughlin said – we were asked if we wanted to take a donkey back up to the top. And we did. Nic got a brown one and I got on a white one. Another white donkey just decided to go up the steps with us anyway, without a person on his back. My donkey was pretty pissed about that and he kept trying to pass him, but the person-less donkey was too fat. The donkey ride up the stairs was the scariest thing of my life [ED. NOTE: I had yet experienced the terror that is getting charged by a 2,000 pound white rhino in the African bush.] because the cliff was so steep it felt like I was going to fall over at any moment. Once we were at the top we got these crazy, delicious pastries. I got a chocolate covered banana on a crepe and a strawberry pie thing. We took a taxi back to Perissa Beach and got Nic’s clothes from the laundry lady. No hot Greek guy though. Took showers at our hotel and took a nap. Walking up a volcano really wears you out. Got some extra blankets for the night and the beautiful woman who owns the hotel let us know that her husband would take us to the port in the morning.
We went out for dinner at the same place as the night before. We had the same waiter who wanted us to go clubbing with him. We both just shared a Greek salad and a feta cheese pizza. Also got bread with that — best part. We just got a coke, but our waiter brought us free wine, which pissed off the girls next to us. The weather was nice and we decided it was a good way to spend our last night in Santorini. Packed up our suitcases (very full at this point) and went to bed.
Woke up at 5:30 the next morning. Didn’t get out of bed until 5:45 and were ready to leave by 6. Laid back down in bed until 6:15. Crazy psycho drive to the port, along the very narrow road that bends with the curve of the cliff. Blue Star Ferries again. We sat in the same annoying “air seats” as last time. Nicola and I were determined to be comfy though so we laid on each other in all the different positions. It only worked for a little while until one of our legs fell asleep or Nicola’s hip started to hurt. We entertained ourselves by playing cards: Spit, which I suck at; and Go Fish, which is the best card game ever. Time eventually passed and we asked where the train station was before we got off. “500 meters to the right.”
Spent at least 30 minutes looking for the train station, which was to the left. It was a shady looking place – same kind of train we rode in on. If we took it we would have missed the ferry to Ancona, so we spent some more time looking for a faster way to Patras. Eventually we took a taxi to the main bus station. Cheap taxi. The bus would take us to Patras in three hours, we’d arrive in Patras at 7:20, hopefully in time to catch the 8 o’clock ferry. On the 4:20 bus we went, seats and all! Even though I couldn’t put my seat back because of some asshole behind me. The bus kept making stops, making Nicola and me very nervous because we were afraid of missing the ferry and having to spent the night in Patras. Nicola cursed the girl in front of her, only to find out when arriving at the Superfast ticket station, was getting on the same ferry and we were and spoke English.
We ran to the ferry (which wasn’t moving) and there we were again, like we had never even went to Greece, riding up the s’vary nice escalator with the mirrors everywhere. It was a different ferry though – Superfast 5 instead of Superfast 6. So our favorite Ukrainian crew men weren’t there. We found a spot on the floor to sleep and this is where we lived for the next 20 hours. The ship was a bit nicer than the other one, but the crew wasn’t as friendly. Some memorable moments were getting this very good chocolate pudding dessert and playing Go Fish in the florescent lit disco area. Nicola ran into this creepy guy who was on our last ferry to Greece, the man who said, “Come with me, I get you discount.” Very scary. So he was there. Nicola went to ask if we could pay for blankets, but they told her “no blankets, no deck.” We ended up getting them though illegally from really cute crew guy by smiling and sounding all sweet. The Italian school children were running around all night, which was annoying. I wanted to hit a few of them. Woke up today (Sunday) at 8 in the morning, shared an omelet for breakfast. The weather on the ocean looked bad, so we just decided that weather in Italy is going to suck for us. Started reading Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee, who is a South African writer. It’s a weird book so far – about a professor that has sex with one of his students. He gets caught, of course. They all do eventually, don’t they? The guy is a real asshole. Kinda reminds me of [ED. NOTE: redacted personal parts here].
Ok, so we are on the train to Bologna and then to Venice. Hopefully we have a hostel for tonight… [ED. NOTE: we did]