Tuesday, July 01, 2008

the ferry to mykonos

we spent half of our time in greece on the island of mykonos, and after so many hot and dusty days in athens, we were looking forward to a little R&R by the sea. but in order to get there, we needed to take a ferry trip from the port of piraeus to the island itself.

we left our hotel in athens shortly after 6:00 a.m., and took the metro directly to the port. adam had gone out to piraeus the day before, to pick up our tickets, and did a great job checking out the set-up so that we wouldn't be running around lost and behind schedule with our big bags, the baby, and our stroller on the morning of our departure. (a good thing, too, because if he wasn't so helpful we would probably still be wandering around piraeus looking for our ship!) he did such a good job finding everything the day before, that it really was no problem leaving the station and making our way to our boat! good job, adam!

we boarded around 7:00 a.m. and our ship was set to sail at 7:30. we didn't have assigned seats, so we were glad that we got there early enough to find a place where we could all spread out. we went first to some sort of lobby-type desk that reminded me of a hotel reception area, and the people there told us where we could and could not sit. then we made our way up to the upper deck, and the back of the boat (was that the poopdeck?), and found a nice picnic table to settle down at. it was a really nice area, because it was mostly covered, but was open at the very back and on the sides. and because it was in the back of the boat, it wasn't windy. and because it was covered, you didn't smell the fuel from the ship. it was really quite nice!

elizabeth and i got some tea from the bar on our deck, and soon enough we set sail. it was so fun to see athens get smaller and smaller and to see the greek flag waving in the bright morning sunshine. adam sat with gracie for a time, while i had the luxury of actually sitting down with my journal (which i carry everywhere with me but never seem to have the time to write in it anymore -- i wonder why?!). i pulled a chair up to the very back of the boat so that i was in the sun, and smelled the breeze, and had some nice, quiet "amber time" for about an hour. what a great treat that was!

the entire journey took just over 4 hours or so, and along the way there were lots of things to see and do. we played with gracie a TON, and i swear i have never seen her happier or more excited in all her life. she L-O-V-E-D the ferry! all the people talking to her, all the sunshine and wind, all the bright blue from the sea and sky, all the sounds and motions from the boat! oh! she was just in hog heaven, that girl! the only way we could get her to take a nap is if i put her in the sling and covered her eyes, because she just wanted to SEE EVERYTHING! too funny!

we also saw quite a bit. i saw a couple of dolphins, but adam and elizabeth missed them. there were also several islands that we passed along the way, many of which looked uninhabited. a few had people on them, and those were the ones that we stopped at. it was fun to watch people and vehicles enter and exit the ferry as we docked. it all happened REALLY fast -- there was no messing around when we docked!

one one island, i'm not sure which one it was, there was a man who got on board and starting yelling something, like he had something to sell. out of curiosity, adam approached him and bought two of whatever it was he was selling. they turned out to be these weird cookies that looked like ginormous communion wafers filled with homemade nougat. i only ate a tiny bit (eating something uber-sweet and sitting on a boat: maybe not such a good idea), but elizabeth says they were quite good and i believe her.

finally we got to mykonos, and everyone got off because that was the last port of call. as we exited, there were like a zillion hotel employees with signs that they waved in our faces: "hello! looking for a place to stay?" "beautiful rooms right on the beach! come with me!" "free internet and breakfast! enjoy a stay at our hotel!" but we already had reservations for someplace so we made our way through the crowd and tried to find george, who was the chauffeur for our hotel.

we didn't bring along a car seat on this trip, and i was nervous the whole time about what it was going to be like to take gracie in a van to get from our port to our hotel. but there were really no other options, so we had to do it. and it would have made no difference even if we did bring a car seat, because there were no seatbelts in the van anyway! but george was a very safe driver, and since we were on an island, the drivers were all very polite and drove carefully and slow (where are you going in such a hurry when you are on an island in the mediterranean anyway?). and shortly we were at our beautiful hotel, checking into our gorgeous room, and dipping our tired bodies into the refreshing pool.

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