The Ferry Fiasco

Anyone that’s traveled before will tell you there are times when things will go wrong. This is even one of the reasons some people travel: to be pushed out of their comfort zone and overcome unforeseen obstacles. Well, buckle up readers, because I have one such story for you now. But first, I need to explain what was supposed to happen.

The plan

My allotted 90 days in the Schengen Zone will come to an end on the 28th (of April). So I’d been looking at future destinations for a while. Should I go further up the Balkans; maybe hit up Bulgaria; run off to Egypt? There were plenty of choices, but I settled on Turkey. (Note: this is not where things went wrong. As far as I can tell from people I’ve met along the way, Turkey is an excellent place to visit.)

I noticed the island of Ρόδος (Rhodes) is right next to it, and some quick searching on Rome 2 Rio told me there’s a ferry that goes between the island and a place called Marmaris, Turkey. Better yet, there’s a cheap hostel in Marmaris that looks amazing. So that was settled; Rhodes would be my last stop in Ελλάδα (Greece).

Quick travel hack: if you want to know how to get from one place to another, Rome 2 Rio is an excellent website that can give you a bunch of options. It can even direct you to the various transportation company’s webpages.

And how would I get to Rhodes? There’s a once a week ferry from Κρήτη (Crete); specifically Ηράκλιο (Heraklion). It arrived at 0030 (12:30 am) though, and the hostel I wanted to stay in was a good ways from the port and its reception closed at 0100. No problem; I’d book a place closer to the port, spend a night there, and move on the next day to the better, cheaper hostel that’s a little farther inland.

I’d heard Heraklion kinda sucked though so I’d spend most of my time in Crete in Χάνια (Chania/Hania). I could take an overnight ferry to either city from Αθήνα (Athens), and save a night at a hostel in the process. The plan seemed foolproof.

When things went wrong

Things started to go wrong in Hania two days before my bus to Herakion. I thought going to the beach would be fun, and it was! But this was the first time all year I didn’t wear jeans outside, and my legs and feet got really burned. Showering hurt; putting socks and pants on hurt; trying to lay down and cover up with a sheet to sleep hurt…. I spent the entire day (at least while the sun was up) before my bus to Herakion inside the hostel in shorts and flip-flops trying to be in as little pain as possible.

The day of my bus trip, I put my socks and jeans on as gently as I could (it still hurt though), and waddled down the road to the bus station. The bus ride took 3 hours. Then, I had to walk to another bus station to take the city bus out to the Heraklion suburbs where I’d foolishly booked my hostel. I ended up spending about 5 hours clothed until I could strip back down to shorts and flip-flops. I had managed to find some vaseline with aloe in it when I was grocery shopping though so I put some on my burns.

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Brunch

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The next day was the day of the ferry to Rhodes. But the ferry left in the evening, and check-out was around noon. So I hopped the bus back into town, and chilled near the harbor all day; which would have been pleasant if not for the cloths rubbing against my sunburns the whole time.

Finally, it was FerryTime © (just kidding, people can’t copyright that). I went to check in, but the guy was taking a long time to find my ticket. After a good 10 minutes of back and forth, he figured out that the ferry I was supposed to catch had left 12 hours earlier than I was expecting — wait, what? The ferry from Athens to Hania was 8 hours long, and it was far shorter from Heraklion to Rhodes. After some post-crisis research, I discovered that the ferry takes 14 hours to traverse that relatively small distance. Talk about slow-boating….

The fix

So now, I had to hurry up and catch the ferry to Athens (that was leaving in 2 hours), and from there, go to Rhodes. Which is far more expensive and would take me over 24 hours to complete. So the overnight ferry to Athens left at 2130, and arrived at 0600. Then I took the 0930 ferry from Athens to Rhodes that arrived at 0315 (yes, that’s the next day).

There were two fortunate things I discovered during those long hours on boats. The first is that I’d almost gotten used to the pain of cloths rubbing on my sunburns…almost. The second is that the hostel I really wanted to stay at allowed for late/early check-in. I simply informed them of when I would arrive, and the host arranged for me to find the key in a pre-determined location.

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Before the city wakes.

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So I arrived in Rhodes at 0315, spent about an hour trying to find the bus station, took the local bus at 0445, and arrived at the hostel (in Ιαλυσός/Iallysos) around 0530. At which point, I found the key and my room, and promptly went to sleep. And for anyone keeping track, I’d been fully clothed for over 40 hours.

The aftermath

Fortunately, the first, expensive hostel I was going to stay at didn’t charge me for the full night; they just kept the security deposit: $5.58. That ended up saving me $31.46 (you know how I mentioned they’re expensive).

The original ferry from Heraklion to Rhodes was €21; which was just lost money. The ferry from Heraklion back to Athens was €46 euro, and the one to Rhodes was €63.50.

So when that’s all computed, I basically lost $103.73, and spent a lot more time in pain from sunburns than was necessary. A pessimist would probably say something like ‘worst most of a week ever’ or something.

Summary

But I’ve been surprisingly upbeat (relatively) this whole time. I mean, just look at today’s brunch:

Brunch

How could you not love that? Granted, I was wearing socks and long pants that still hurt a little, but that view though…it’ll be even better for dinner once the sun’s gone down.

So if there’s anything to take away from this it’s that sometimes bad shit happens. But it’s typically not the worst thing ever, and afterwards, it makes for a fantastic story (or blog post). Until next time….

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