14 July 2006: After greeting everybody in the office, I took my scooter and started heading for my house. I was very calm, all the previous day’s tensions were left behind. Everything was already routed properly and soon I would start my own long awaited journey. My emotions were mixed and complicated. Around 5’o clock in the afternoon I started testing the luggage setup on the bike. A tighten up on one side, loosen up on the other side, but still my luggage could not be properly be setup! Finally I called my father to assist me on this difficult task.
At about 7 we’ve managed to settle with the luggage tightening. After saying goodbye to the whole family, I put on my helmet and jacket, did last time check on the luggage and bike, ignition and here we go. After a few hundreds of meters, I’ve noticed that something was going wrong with my luggage, in each bump, they were shifting places, kinda dancing in my back seat. I realized that this was a no-go situation for my journey. Luckily, I was en route to Piraeus so I found it a good idea to pass by and say goodbye to my good friend and mechanic in Piraeus. Once I met him and shown him the situation, he quickly identified the problem: I didn’t correctly tighten up the luggage with the bike, so he happily assisted me, providing me some handy nautical knots. After saying goodbye to him also, I’ve started my journey to Patra port, around 8:30 in the afternoon.
Around 10pm I finally reached Patra. After doing a few rounds near the port, in order to identify the entrance, I went to the familiar EVEREST food chain to get something to eat. Last minute’s shopping, like bottles of water and then straight to the port. Reaching the ship, that interestingly enough, didn’t have the same name with my ticket’s name; I’ve asked a harbour guard if the boarding had started and if the name was correct. He replied that I had to do the check-in first. So u-turn again and driving to the check-in place. After accomplishing this, I’ve managed to board to the ship. The time I was boarding (around 11), only a few cars were already inside. In simple words, traffic was mediocre; though I was expecting this kind of traffic for the season I chose to travel.
Traveling by your own has its own difficulties. I had to remove the tankbag, remove the sleeping bag, tighten it with the tankbag, remove the chain from the luggage, tighten the chain along with the bike and the helmet, put the central stand on the bike and last but not least, wish that everything will go as I was hoping and by no means to find my bike scratched or fallen.
Doing a small round aboard the ship, I’ve concluded that the best place to hang out was at the central cafeteria of the ship (the internal one). I’ve settled there for a couple of hours, tasting coffees, milkshakes and anything else I could read from the menu. Time was already 1 and my sleepiness was unbearable. I tried to stay awake by reading a couple of interesting things on the lonelyplanet guidebook, which I wrote them down to my pocket-notebook, in order to give them a better study in the following day. Finally, I fall asleep in the cafeteria around 4 in the morning.
15 July 2006: Everyone else that was sleeping at the same cafeteria, were simply waiting for the ship to lay up on Corfu, thing that I had completely forgotten by that time. Around 6am and after only 2 hours of sleep, I was again awake, thanks to the waiters. Approximately at around 7, the ship finally lay up on Corfu. I grabbed the opportunity to leave the cafeteria and head for the airplane-type seats. Everything and everyone was quiet there, so I opened my sleeping bag and fall asleep again for another 4 hours, until 11 in the morning. After waking up, I went to the bathroom in order to freshen up myself and directly to the cafeteria for my morning coffee. Later on, I made a second round on the ship, took some not-so-interesting photos of the rough mountains of Albania and again started reading the lonelyplanet guidebook more closely.
Time was around 3:30pm and I was hanging on the same cafeteria as the previous day for my coffee. One hour later, I felt that I was full of boredom and dullness. I was waiting so eagerly to get dark in order to go to sleep. It was unknown if I could find a place to sleep in the airplane-type seats. Time was 8. I was trying to relax myself by thinking that in 12 hours I would be en route to Brno. Once again I’ve concluded that the most boring part in a journey like this is the time spending on the ship. Time doesn’t fly …. it rather seems that it’s frozen and the only way to deceive yourself is by… sleeping!
Around 10pm I couldn’t stand it anymore and started looking desperately somewhere to sleep. At the airplane-type seats there was only one seat empty so I settled there, though I could only sleep for 3 hours, since I couldn’t feel comfortable.