Well, hello there Greece, how lovely to see you!
From the sunset send-off of Italy, to the sunrise welcome of Igoumenitsa.
I'll apologise again for the quality of the photo's. Please bear in mind, that these were taken with my mobile phone in the giddiness of the moment, usually through a filthy pane of glass. In this case, our cabin window again. I promise they will get better with time. Or maybe not - flying by the seat of our pants and all that. I really do need to get to grips with the newly acquired Go Pro 9 which is gathering dust in a suitcase somewhere.
Our evening had been spent mostly in our cabin, but with regular breaks for the dog to have a mooch about. I think it's probably unnecessary to point out the cat really didn't care. She lay down and snoozed from the get-go.
Considering the cabins were pet friendly, we struggled to find areas for the dog to do 'his business'. Deciding on a smaller, more discreet side deck, I set about cajoling a clearly desperate dog that it was okay to go ahead and wee-wee. He was absoluely not convinced.
Twenty minutes in, we had an element of success, but surprisingly his business was not of the number 1 kind. As a responsible pet owner, I'd come prepared of course, but where to put the bag? I really didn't think it was an option to walk through the entire length of the ship and store it in our cabin. I ended up placing it in the most obvious, but secure place I could for the subsequent cleaners. Please pass on my sincere apologies to whoever that turned out to be.
Feeling equally as relieved as the dog now, I headed inside and back to the cabin, stopping along the way for Mo-Mo to have a good old sniff. Pausing in the reception area, I had a look around at the various items on the wall, using the time wisely to practice my Greek reading abilities. The cold sweat of horrors hit me hard as my gaze turned towards the pooch, who was clearly enjoying the enormous wee-wee he was having, partly up against a wall, partly onto a floor-standing poster before gracefully flowing down onto the part wood, part rug floor.
I won't lie, I fully explored all of the options my brain offered to me within the split second that followed. There were at least 6 that came to mind:- 1. Pretend I didn't see and walk on
2. Blame someone else
3. Pull the rug further over the remaining puddle
4. Pretend I'd spilt my water
5. Use a distraction method, like fainting
6. 'Fess up
Being the mature, grown adult I proclaim to be these days, you'll be pleased to hear that I decided to go with option 1. Sorry, I meant option 6.
I approached the Gentleman sitting behind the reception area, who was until this moment completely oblivious to any shenanigans. Explaining in slow English that my doggie had done wee-wee was much easier than I had anticipated it to be.
I saw his face change from indifference to one of disgust, not particularly aimed at the dog, more-so to the owner incapable of controlling their furry friend. I'm not one for confrontation, and I really don't like to upset people and so I went into overdrive to try and rectify the situation.
"Could you please tell me where the cleaning items are so I can clean it up myself?"
"What iz eet, iz eet pee-pee or more?"
"Oh no, it's just pee-pee, not poo-poo."
"Go! Just go! I will call someone."
"No, you really don't have to do that, I'll sort it out."
There was no further conversation, just an eye-roll and a tut before he turned and left the area.
I was mortified and scurried off back to the cabin.
The unfortunate part was that in order to get anywhere on the ferry, we had to walk through the reception area. For the remainder of the journey, my Husband was tasked with walking the dog through the danger-zone whilst I confidently strode on a minimum of 3 metres ahead.
Refreshed and invigorated, we arrived in Igoumenitsa port and quickly found ourselves pulling out onto Greek Terra Firma. The sky was bright blue with small white, fluffy clouds, the March sun gentle but warming in the van.
Despite the additional 6 hour drive we now had to undertake, being one step closer to our goal was thrilling. We had already travelled through 3 countries, a feat we now realise was monumental in the timescales we had managed it in. The road was new, with an unsurprising amount of tolls along the way, a small price to pay for the reduction in travel time and the comfort of a smooth ride. The sights were priceless though, take a closer look at the photo above to see the goats wandering along the steep cliff-edge in a nonchalant manner. I'm not great with heights and despite the goats being clearly confident in their stride, my toes pressed against the soles of my shoes in an attempt to coil under. Had I grabbed my camera a little bit quicker, you'd have seen at least 50 on their morning wander. Crazy kids.
The highlight of this journey for me, however, was the sight of Rio- Antirrio Bridge, with the snow peaked Klokova (also known as Paliovouna) mountains framing the scene, dwarfing the 52m high construction. Whilst height-wise it's not the tallest bridge in the world, it's length is impressively one of the world's longest multi-span cable stayed bridges and longest of the fully suspended type. The vision of the then Greek Prime Minister, Charilaos Trikoupis back in 1889, was to cross the Gulf of Corinth connecting both Rio and Antirio, opening up a host of trade and travel opportunities from mainland Greece into the remote Peloponnese area. It took many years for this dream to become a reality but the challenge was set and the bridge was finally completed in 2004. Quite aptly, it was named "Charilaos Trikoupis" after the man who had visualised this creation some 100 years earlier.
We had no idea we were crossing this of course - thank you very much to Google for the insight above. In fact, there was huge panic when we thought our new European sat-nav had malfunctioned and was trying to make us drive across water. Whilst Easter was upon us, I knew that we were not capable of performing such miracles and had once again, consulted the trusty search engine.
We made good time thanks to the new motorway and arrived in Pireaus port ready for our final leg of the journey. The aforementioned dislike of confrontation was about to take a real beating.