Day 111 to 113
Travel to Greece.
Unfortunately we had to return the campervan. Cannot believe that 7 days camping in Turkey has passed already. So we all got up early packed up our belongings and then got on the road. We had roughly three hours to drive to Izmir at the drop off point. We had to stop a few times to allow Spring some walking time on the side of the road due to her travel sickness. Needless to say we were very late to our meeting point.
Get from Turkey to Skopelos in Greece by 12 May for Spring’s 9th birthday.
We began this mammoth task at the Izmir International airport where we dropped the campervan. We had calculated flights for three adults and one child from Izmir, Turkey to Athens, Greece at about $600 with checked in luggage. It would take only one hour direct but we would still have to take a bus from the airport to Volos and a ferry from Volos to Skopelos. So Summer said we have time and need to save money and she looked up land transfer options. This is how we did it:
10 May 1430 – Bus – Izmir to Cesme – 1 hour – $25AUD
We had a light dinner in Cesme after buying our ferry tickets for Greece and then walked the 15 minutes around to the ferry terminal. BTW Cesme is a port that is modernising very quickly and will soon fill with young crowds and families due to the many newly refurbished water side eateries and great outlook.
10 May 1830 – Ferry – Cesme to Chios (Greece) – 50 minutes – $95AUD
We cleared customs at Turkey, traveled and cleared customs in Chios, Greece all quicker than it took us to walk and clear the 1km Cambodian – Thailand border crossing a couple months back.
After getting our tickets on the next ferry to Athens’ port in Piraeus we waited near the docks and had our first Greek beer and wine. We couldn’t miss the ferry when it pulled in, it was massive and the dock was a total dogs breakfast. Cars, trucks and passengers all going in different directions to get onboard, I suppose to claim a good spot to sleep. Really different to how the Spirit of Tassie back home is boarded.
10 May 2325 – Ferry – Chios to Piraeus – 7 hours 25 minutes – $287AUD
We booked VIP recliner seats but soon upgraded to a sleeper cabin as advised by the travel agent in Chios. After a proper nights sleep and a shower we arrived in Piraeus at 0700 11 May. We caught a free bus off the dock and walked to the train station.
11 May 0830 – Train – Piraeus to Attiki (central Athens) – 20 minutes – $6AUD
When we got off the train in Athens we stopped to have some breakfast in a Café across from the station. It almost felt as though we were at Flinders St Station Melbourne, what with the 80′ music, yellow taxis lined up and the glass street-front outdoor dining room.
11 May 0930 – Taxi – Attiki to Liossion (long distance bus terminal) – 10 minutes – $8AUD
So far we had spent $421AUD to get to the same position we would have been if we had of flown. So that is a saving of $179AUD BUT it has taken an extra 15 hours, when you consider that realistically the flight would have taken four hours, two hours for departure, one hour flight and one hour to clear customs.
Now we only had to catch a bus and ferry to get to our final destination.
11 May 1030 – Bus – Liossion to Volos – 4 hours – $154AUD
The last ferry to Skopelos from Volos is at 1430 and we got into Volos at 1435 to see the ferry leaving the port. We missed the ferry. Deflated but not defeated, we stop at a cafe to have some delicious pork and chicken giros.
Then it started to rain and we had all of our bags sitting under the awning next to our outdoor seating, so Summer went for a walk with Spring to find a hotel as I stayed with Autumn and the bags and indulged in a couple of Alpha beers. Summer was again determined to get the best price and walked to a couple of places before finding a triple room around the corner for $77AUD including breakfast.
After getting out of the rain and checking in, our next challenge was finding somewhere to buy our ferry tickets for the morning.
Volos working hours…Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 0800 – 1430. Tuesday and Thursday 0800 – 1430 and open again 1700 – 2100, not much open on Sundays. Definitely a different lifestyle to back home in Sydney. During dinner that night the waiter explained their lifestyle like this; ‘we work hard in the morning, have a life after work at 2pm, with the children and then work hard at night and drink late until 2am’. It works for them he reckons.
Luckily, we found a travel agent open and bought 9am ferry tickets to Skopelos.
12 May 0800 Happy Birthday Spring – now eat fast, walk fast and get on the ferry
12 May 0900 – Volos to Skopelos – 5 hours 30 minutes – $118AUD
After finding seats not hoarded by the locals we settled in. The wind was up and the sea a bit choppy so there was plenty of upper deck time for me, Spring and Autumn while Summer watched the bags and did some stuff on the computer.
12 May 1430 arrived Skopelos – The weather was so bad that we could not travel around the Island to the scheduled drop off in Skopelos Town Centre and pulled into Agnontas instead. We were met by the son of our guesthouse host and driven to our accommodation. Finally we made it.
Why did we do all this?
Because this is the Island that many of the scenes of the movie Mamamia were filmed and Spring is a massive fan. We all have our travel wish list and this was Spring’s. We wanted to make sure we could give this to her for her birthday. While we were a little late we did make it.
When we arrived in our apartment we were greeted by our host who had just baked a fruit cake for Springs birthday. It was actually very nice, the cake, the size of our two bedroom apartment and not having to travel for at least the next two weeks. Spring didn’t want to go into town for her birthday but wanted to cook, so we went to the local supermarket, grabbed some ingredients for her to cook dinner and with Summers help we ate our first home (not van) cooked dinner since early January.
Mission complete – Total $770AUD over 48 hours and Spring didn’t spew. Totally worth it.