There wasn’t very many people left on the ferry as most had got off at other stops or were now down in the lounges. The girls we had seen in Sorrento and then again at the ferry station were still here however and we struck up a conversation with them. There were three of them who were also from Canada and were doing the same thing we were only they had started in October and planned to go until April. We felt a bit jealous that they had been on the road for so long already but knew our trip was just starting and we would get there eventually. They were also staying only in hostels so they had a lot less gear and the added bonus of spreading it between three of them. Turns out carrying all the camping gear on top of normal supplies is a lot heavier and bulkier but it also gives us more options. Camping is generally cheaper as long as you have the weather for it and seeing as we were headed into Greece we were excited. I find camping more enjoyable but hostel life can also be a lot of fun in the right places. Being winter however most places were either closed or empty which kind of kills the social environment that makes them so much fun.
The ferry was delayed due to stormy weather during the night apparently and we didn’t get in until 1:30
. It didn’t really bother us as we knew a campsite to go to and that was really our only goal when we got there. Jumping off the ferry it was 16C and sunny and the layers were immediately stripped off as we were still dressed for the cold. Upon exiting the ferry station we weren’t sure which way to go so we just picked a direction and started walking. We passed a nice marina and stumbled into a grocery store which we eventually needed to find anyway and loaded up some food. Shopping is starting to get pretty boring as it’s always the same thing every time: sandwiches and pasta. After sitting in the marina and having lunch in the sun we figured we went the wrong way as there was supposed to be an information booth near the port and we didn’t see one this way. Scott checked the book again to check the information and I asked him what street we are looking for. He just chuckled at me and said "horseshoe, eyeball, W, H...". From this day forth the expression “I don’t know, it’s all Greek to me” will forever have new meaning. It’s bad enough not being able to read anything around you or talk to people but in Greece they have a new alphabet to boot. Every sign we looked at was just a jumble of symbols that you wouldn’t even attempt to read. Lucky for us a lot of the signs also had English on them and even the street signs were starting to have an English translation on them.
Eventually tracking down the mystical information booth we got the bus information we needed and headed up the street to catch a local bus to Rio (a suburb just outside Patra) where Rion Camping was located and we planned to stay
. After some fumbling around we managed to find the bus stop as the map we were given sucked and didn’t have half the streets on it. After we jumped on we asked the bus driver if he could tell us when we are in Rio but he didn’t speak any English which was going to be a problem. The information booth guy just said to tell the bus driver you want off there and he will tell you but without the communication we were on our own. Scott pulled out the book hoping to get some Greek words that we could hash out what we wanted out of him but pronunciation was a problem and he still didn’t get it. Luckily Scott had read something about a big bridge near the campsite and we could see it in the distance so we knew we still had some distance to travel. Eventually the bus came to a stop outside of town and everyone started to get off and we were really confused. Count our lucky stars a passenger saw our dumbfounded state and spoke English. We told her we were trying to get to Rion Camping and she knew where it was and explained that we were just switching buses to get the rest of the way to Rio.
Thankful for our assistance we followed her to the other bus and we saw some signs pointing to the campsite so we were indeed headed the right way. Eventually we made it to the closest stop and jumped off under what we are told is the longest suspension bridge in Europe. After taking a couple pictures we got to the site at around 4:00 and it was completely empty
. We were told by a very friendly chap to just go wherever we wanted as we had the whole place to ourselves. Quickly throwing down the tent and locking our bags inside we got some directions to the town to find an internet cafe. We didn’t really want to stay here any longer than we had to and it was more just a stop over to do some planning. However there was some serious research and planning that had to be done as we didn’t yet know how we wanted to tackle Greece. Wanting to go to some of the isles we had first figure out the ferry prices and also where the best airport to fly out of would be. We knew Athens was a safe bet but there were a couple airports on islands that we could possibly use. We also wanted to book our plane tickets now as we could hopefully get a seat sale to save a heavy hit to the wallet.
The walk to town was fun and the buildings and area were finally getting cleaner as we had been through some rough stuff in Italy. It was starting to look more hospitable and poking our heads into a few stores the prices were also finally starting to come down from what we had previously seen. There was also an abundance of stray cats and dogs still so it wasn’t just Italy that had them. We found the cafe but it was still pretty expensive and it was getting late so we decided to just wait until tomorrow and do the planning then. Returning to our campsite and grabbing a couple beer on the way we sat and watched some movies in the kitchen area. It was so nice to finally sit outside and still have warmth. We didn’t go to bed until about 1:00 which is the latest we have stayed up in a long time. Funny considering I used to never go to bed before 1:00 back in Oxford. After Pompeii’s cold it was a great sleep as we didn’t have to burrow down in our sleeping bags or wear a bunch of layers and finally got some decent rest.
We began to stir pretty early as it wasn't the most comfortable sleeping and combined with the snoring it was getting annoying. We went and bought a couple muffins and coffee which weren’t too expensive considering everything else on the ferry was super expensive. If you are ever going to ride ferries for any length of time take your own stuff to eat or drink and save yourself the money. They certainly know you are trapped on there and will take advantage of it. Hunting down a plug-in we pulled out the laptop and watched a couple movies. Scott wanted to change some of the songs on his iPOD as well but due to it being set up for Mac he had to reformat it. He also has the added problem that he broke the screen back in Oxford and cannot see the menus anymore. Somehow he was able to get it reformatted though but something went horribly wrong and it wouldn’t play songs anymore. Furious at himself he was not in the best of moods but would have to try and figure it out later when we had some internet.