Day 15 was a nightmare of a travel day. Nightmarish because we were due to travel from Rio to Athens but there happened to be a train strike. But this is not a post in which to complain about my day. Instead, I want to describe how much of a difference small and beautiful things can make to an otherwise bad day.
Our day began with breakfast outside and the lament that we could not stay longer in a place we had come to love. Reluctantly, we set off for the short train ride to the port of Patras. We managed to buy tickets in Greek and had plenty of time to find the bus stop.
Unfortunately, Greek bus stops are rather minimalist on information and there were at least 3 nearby. Even more unfortunately, when we asked someone, we discovered that the bus had been cancelled due to a strike. Cue waiting around for 3 hours.
‘The information you wanted’ cartoon at a bus stop
So we wandered off and discovered a beach and lighthouse. I took a swim and floated near a fisherman. He was throwing bait into the sea and encouraging schools of tiny fish to leap out. As they did this, terns swooped down and carried some off. I bobbed underneath catching this unusual angle of the repeating schedule. We decided to look on the bright side: that we were able to spend more time in Patras.
Eventually, we got on a bus and headed off to Kiato. Here we were delayed yet again. As we sat outside the station admiring the mountain scenery, we spotted a beetle scuttling by. It appeared to be a cross between a Lily Beetle and Ladybird. When I wandered off to explore, I found an orange tree from which to scavenge a meal. I also climbed up to the railway line and was able to walk along it.
We set off for Ska and, on arrival, were delayed once more. After a ridiculous amount of waiting around, we met some lovely American girls on the platform and I suggested sharing a taxi to Athens. They agreed and, together, our calm presence helped to stop us descending into panic.
We arrived in Athens in style; our taxi driver had not understood where we wanted to go but instead dropped us right up near the top of the Acropolis! The view of the evening sunlight drifting through the columns was stunning and the buzz of street music and people made for a good atmosphere.
We still had no idea where our hostel was but, luckily, there were maps on every street corner. We wandered hopefully off through the streets of souvenir shops. We said goodbye to our traveller pals and managed to locate our street.
At long last, we made it to our hostel and were greeted by the friendly staff and guests.
All the kind and adventurous people we met and the wildlife encountered helped turn my day from nightmarish to wonderful. And I’m not exaggerating; I really enjoyed this wild day.
Footnote: Apologies for the blurry photos but it makes it look more romantic, right?