5 o’ clock this morning the alarm rang on its usual, detestable tone. It however, this time, sounded pleasant. That was so because it rang to signal the beginning of a great adventure. Today is the day I and Christina are starting on our cycling trip through Italy.
The day’s mission was to leave Athens, reach the port of Patras, and catch the ferry which is to bring us to Ancona by the following day, wherefrom the actual cycling trip is going to start.
All the preparations for the departure were made by the previous day already. So, what we basically had to do was to enjoy a cup of coffee, have breakfast, and get on the road.
We carried the bicycles down the stairs (which was quite a task due to the heavy loads being fixed on them), and we started pedaling through the still quiet neighborhoods of the Greek capital.
The first problem of the trip was quick to appear, as we soon realized that Christina’s backpack was not properly fastened on the bike, falling and hanging over the side. We had to postpone for the moment the coming up with a definite solution about this issue, and, temporarily fixing it as well as we could, given the accessible means, we got straight to the Kifissos bus station of Athens.
Having to search a bit around the crowded station and deal with the numerous, persistent gypsy beggars who were constantly trying their best to hinder us from doing so, we got our tickets to Patras on the 9:45 bus and stayed waiting for it on the right platform. Luckily, and in spite of what I expected, the bus driver and the company’s personnel were very positive about putting the bicycles in the bus’ trunk. We were only asked to remove the front wheels and the job was done.
After a 3 hour pleasant trip on the air-conditioned bus, we arrived in Patras at about noontime; when the temperature had escalated to nearly 40 degrees Celsius. Christina waited for me with all the stuff at the station, while I took the bike and went out to the city in search of a solution for our packing issue. I, after all, came back after about an hour, carrying some more elastic ropes and a reed stick. We placed two pieces of reed horizontally on the rack under the bag, tied it properly with two ropes, and the issue was solved.
After cycling a bit around the city to get food and stuff, we ended up under a eucalyptus by the seacoast near the port, where we could see the ferry that was soon to take us up the Adriatic Sea. We took a nap accompanied by the relieving sea breeze, and we proceeded to the port at around 5 o’ clock, two hours prior to departure.
It was very good we did so, as the boarding process turned out to be much more complicated than I had known it to be. The queue in front of the check-in office was long and the staff tormentingly slow. But the worst thing was the airport-style control which they’ve applied at the port as well, where we had to take all our stuff off the bikes and pass them through the scanning machine. My knife and two bottles of cooking gas were taken away, and whether I take them back or not I still doubt.
Now, finally, the time is 21:00. We are sitting on the deck of the boat which has just left the Gulf of Patras and is passing by the side of Ithaca. The sun recently set, the sky is purple and is slowly turning black. The day is soon over. Tomorrow will find us in a new sea and by a new land.