|A calm day in Hydra|
Sunday, 8 March 2015
In the lap of the Greek gods, part 2
My flight home is booked to leave Athens at 5pm, so I have plenty of time to visit both the museum in Piraeus and then carry on to central Athens to see the new exhibits at the Acropolis. I check the weather forecast and apart from possible thunder and lightening, the wind speed is showing only 16 knots for Friday morning - a stiff breeze but nothing too vomit inducing. The hydrofoil should be able to skim the waves. So when I am awoken at 1am by the fir tree in the garden banging against the wall, I first assume it is something inside the house. It proves how dependant I am on my iPad these days that I first click on the weather icon to reassure myself that it is not windy before I get up and look outside to confirm that the weather app is lying about being updated on an hourly basis. I hardly get any more sleep as the anticipation of a bouncing around inside the hateful metal tube for 2 hours keeps me awake. By 6:50 I am on a suspiciously empty quay waiting for the 7:05 departure, trying to decide whether a koulourakia for breakfast will settle or unsettle my stomach. A French lady and her young son turn up and it is obvious that the ferry has been cancelled but news has gone out in a mysterious Greek way that has missed out us two foreigners. Cecille has a flight at 3pm so we are at least going in the same direction. When public transport fails, the only way to get off the island is by sea-taxi to the mainland - Metohi is only 15 minutes away and we will have to get a road taxi from there. That is the theory but the "practical" coast guard has banned the trip to Metoxi because it is too rough and insists that boats can only travel to Ermione further south (i.e. away from Athens) as long as they hug the coast and cross in the lee of islands; a 30 minute trip that puts the cost up from the usual 30 to 120 Euros. As a parsimonious sea sickness-sufferer, you can imagine how happy this news makes me. I make a pathetic attempt to bargain the price down, but with a flight to catch and only one sea taxi in the harbour, we all knew that we will be parting with 120 Euros now or considerably more at the airport to buy new flights. The trip across is just about bearable in a teeth gritting way. At one point Cecille and little Nicolas are sitting opposite me and seconds later they are rolling at my feet. They have been bounced off their seat. My white knuckles are evidence that I have a better grip. But we get there and find a taxi (another 200 Euros, this time I do bargain 20 E discount, just to make myself feel a bit better at parting with so much cash) and set off on the 3 hour trip to Athens. Three-year-old Nicholas keeps us entertained by playing a kind of French eye-spy but demands we answer in Greek, which makes me feel at home because my Greek lessons in Turkey are in Greek and French, but after an hour, as the road gets more winding, he goes suspiciously quiet and I am just thinking I should retrieve the plastic bags from my pocket but it's too late. After both boy and car are cleaned up we are on our way again through a torrential downpour. We arrive at the airport, considerably poorer with green-tinged, white faces and I decide that travelling is a much overrated activity and I should spend more time at home.