30 July 2006: Wake up – without an alarm clock this time – at 9:15am. I went straight to the cafeteria, in order to wake up. “The day of my return” I though. Venice was only – according to the road signs – 45 kilometers away. So if I would leave at 11am – since I had to empty the room at 12am max – I would right on time at the port. The boarding to the ship was at 2pm in the noon. I thought that it would be wiser to be right next to the ship earlier. You never know what kind of traffic you’re going to meet. I was planning to get off at Igoumenitsa, since I couldn’t stand waiting up to 8pm, the time that the ship would reach Patra.
The departure point was actually the old port, inside Venice. At the check-in place, I met a couple of Italians, where they would too get off at Igoumenitsa port, in order to start their summer vacations at the Ionian Islands. Time was flying, due to our discussions and without noticing it, it was already 12:30pm, when they opened the doors and let us go inside the ship. Inside, making a few rounds, I decided that the best place to stay –once again– was the central cafeteria, since it had air-condition and I couldn’t stand the heat outside.
At the cafeteria I met again the Italian couple. They sat to my table and we discussed a little bit. I asked them what would be the best period for me to see the Alps in the summer, since I was amazed by the size of it and landscape also and I was counting for a future trip there. From what they told me, I can conclude that if I want to enjoy the beauty of nature but also the roads and route without traffic, the best period would be July and September. They also pointed out that it would be wise to check the weather before actually going there, because … you never know. Of course, I would certainly meet some unexpected rainfalls (even during the summer), like the one I almost tasted on Friday.
In the afternoon, passing by the airplane type seats, I discovered that no one could fit there. Every seat was taken from the boarding time. I asked a person from the staff where I could sleep and he replied to me that I could sleep at the big drawing-room of the ship, when it would close. So I did go to the drawing-room and was waiting for it to close. Time was passing, but still no luck. It was already 1am in the night and it was still open and with a lot of people. At 2am, I couldn’t stand it anymore so fell asleep. A waiter came close to me and told me “I don’t have any problem for you to sleep here, but you have to know that in the morning, they’ll wake you up at 5:30”.
31 July 2006:At 6:30 in the morning, a guy came and woke me up. He was cleaning the drawing-room. From that time and on, I was continuously wake. I think I drink 3 coffees up to 11:30 where we reached our first destination, Corfu. Two hours later, and while I was in between sleep and awake, we reached the port of Igoumenitsa. I went down to the garage and while I was preparing myself, I took the opportunity to ask a truck driver what route would be better to go from Igoumenitsa to Athens. He told me that the best one would be Igoumenitsa – Preveza – Amfilochia – Athens.
So, when the ship lay up, we went out, I saluted the Italian couple that I met onboard and started for Athens, in the midday’s heat. My journey was getting towards the end, when I finally reached my home at 7pm, exhausted from the heat and tiredness, but full of pictures, emotions, unique experience and, of course, satisfaction.
My emotions still remain complicated. I am not sad that it was finished, maybe it’s because I didn’t understood if and when this journey was finished. The idea and decision for this trip was pure madness, a crazy thought, but I NEVER regret it! If I would sum it up, what did I actually win?
Well, first of all, self-confidence, that I can really rely completely on myself. It’s not as easy as it seems if you have to manage everything by yourself, especially the survival issues, like where you are going to stay or what you must eat etc.
Second, ethical satisfaction… yes, I did it! I didn’t turn back!
Huge experience. Can you imagine going 80 years old and with a pipe on your mouth, narrating to your grandchildren stories like “53 years ago, when I was at the far Lithuania…”.
Another important factor is strength. Mental strength, since I was completely alone in unknown countries and physical strength (especially my bottoms!).
Last but not least, new friends. Hospitality is an amazing experience. I thought that here we were a very hospitable nation! They should see how the others are doing too...
So, this is it, concerning the year 2006.
Hold on for 2007 and our next trip …