A Greek Odyssey – day 5

All change

Today we made our first “hop” on our island hopping adventure, leaving Santorini and heading for Milos. The two islands are two and a half hours apart by ferry, but a world apart in what they offer.

We’ve pre-booked all our ferries for this trip (I think we booked them back in February) and checking in and getting our tickets could not have been easier: 48 hours before we were due to sail, check in opened, I logged onto the “Ferries in Greece” website (we booked our tickets through them) filled in a quick form (my name and booking number) and our e-tickets were emailed to us. Simple. In true “dad” style, I made sure we arrived at the port in plenty of time – about 2 hours early! – found our loading gate, and sat and waited. I watched a couple of other ferries come and go, and then it was our turn …

It may look hap-hazard and chaotic, but it wasn’t – it was well practised cattle herding and it worked. We were released from our holding pen (the check in gate) and shouted at, whistled at and gesticulated at and some five to six hundred foot passengers were shepherded onto the ship in minutes, and we were sailing before we’d even dropped off our bags in the hold (different zones for different final destinations.)

(Becky has told me that I must now always wear my bright pink t-shirt on days that we sail, so that she can quickly pick me out in the crowd!)

As a boy, we used to regularly cross the English channel by ferry, and I remember roaming these giant ships, often going on deck for fresh air to settle my stomach and fend of sea-sickness; with this in mind, I had visions of taking to the deck, enjoying the wind in my hair and the sun on my back as we sailed over blue seas and past islands rising from the water, so I was a little disappointed to learn that you couldn’t go on deck, you couldn’t go outside at all during the trip. But everyone had an allocated seat (although Becky and I were seated in front and behind, not next to, each other) and although we were in economy class, the seats were spacious and comfy, a very pleasant trip, and I even managed a short snooze before the stern doors were lowered and we were herded off the ship into Ademas port on the island of Milos.

And first impressions are very favourable – what we have seen of Milos so far is picturesque and charming, a typical Greek harbour with beautiful water, bustling yet relaxed at the same time, a very pretty place. I think I will enjoy our time here.

(And for the record, just to place this day in time, we woke this morning to the results of the general election (we had voted by post before we left home) – delighted to see change and a new hope. And who knows, perhaps now we can take our first tentative steps as a country to returning to Europe: believe me, things are better here than at home)

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