Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Trip in Ruins

Saturday night found me in bed, tossing and turning, convinced that I had forgotten something important regarding our impending trip. I had, in fact, recently discovered that the flight I had booked from Athens to Santorini was mistakenly for a morning, rather than an evening flight. The result? Nonrefundable tickets that could not be used. We decided rather than pay the exorbitant prices for a later ticket we would take the ferry. Everything seemed now to be under control, but I couldn't shake my paranoia.

Sunday, everything seemed to be going smoothly. We relaxed on the long flight to Amsterdam, and made an easy connection to Athens. From there, we caught the hour long bus that heads to the port of Piraeus. Tired and hungry, we disembarked at the port and headed to the closest travel agency to buy our tickets.

"There is no ferry to Santorini today," the agent informed me.

"What? But - but, I saw it online, there must be!"

"No, only at seven in the morning, and one now, at four. But it is too late."

Don't panic, I told myself. It wasn't quite four. Michael and I decided to make a run for it. We had only to cross the street to the dock, but there was no ferry to be seen. I stopped by the Blue Star Ferry office, hoping they had information the travel agent didn't.

"There is no ferry to Santorini today," the desk clerk at Blue Star said.

At this point, I began to cry. As I turned my face away, big tears rolled down my cheeks, and my countenance crumpled. Here we were in Piraeus, with a reservation that very night for a hotel on Santorini, and no way of getting there. And I had checked, double-checked, triple-checked the schedule online. How had I gone wrong?

"Hey, don't cry," Michael told me. "I could have done the same thing."

"But you didn't," I sobbed. "I don't see how I could make two such huge mistakes! First booking the wrong flight, now this!"

We took a moment to regroup. And before long we were back on the bus, heading back to airport, another hour spent in transit on top what was already a very long day. Despite the considerable expense, we booked a flight for 7:20 that very evening, and made it to Santorini without another hitch. In the end, we decided that it was better to get to our destination where we could relax and enjoy a full day to ourselves today, rather than spend the evening seeking out reasonable lodging in Piraeus or Athens, and spending nine hours on a ferry the following day.

When you travel, expect the unexpected. Ultimately, I am happy to be safe, healthy, and enjoying a beautiful warm day in Greece. Was I happy to pay almost $500 to get here? No, but that's way I plan a large emergency buffer into our travel budget. Up until now, I haven't really had to use it.

So, hello Greece! Our three weeks with you have only just begun, and we hope the best is yet to come. Stick around, I'm sure the adventure is just beginning.

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