My time in Greece was surprisingly short, in the end I only stayed four nights.
I started by flying into Athens airport on the 6th June, and I caught the airport express bus into central Athens, known as the Plaka. The hostel I stayed at was a bit more expensive than I would have liked, but the cheaper options were all in the ‘rougher’ areas.
After checking in I went to get some food, this time from the supermarket – something I was going to have to get used to a lot more over the following months to stay within my budget.
I made myself a sandwich and went for a walk up to the Acropolis (though I didn’t go inside), then I went to the Acropolis museum before going back to the hostel.
Day 2 in Athens I walked to the old Olympic Stadium which was really impressive and awesome. It felt really special to be in that place, and the free audio guide was excellent. I would definitely recommend a visit there.
On the way back to the Plaka area I went by Hadrians Arch and some more runs in the city centre.
Now I was trying to plan my next destination. I had heard great things about the Greek Islands, but Greece seemed qute expensive and I wanted to make my way to Albania. Corfu seemed like a perfect compromise, being a Greek island only 1hr from Albania by boat. I booked my ticket for 40 Euros(!) and left the next morning for Corfu.
The bus to the mainland port at Igoumenitsa took about 9 hours. It dropped us off right in the port, where we had to pay for our own ferry ticket. As the only non-Greek on the bus I had not been told card payment was not available and that there was no ATM, so meekly asked the bus driver what I should do (I had 5 Euros, the ticket was 10). He hesitantly loaned me the extra 5 Euros out of his own pocket (legend) and I got my ticket and on the boat just before departing.
On arrival in Corfu, the bus dropped us off at the main bus station. I went to the ATM and gave the driver back his 5 Euros. He then told me where to wait for the public bus to Pelakas beach. Well it turns out he was wrong, and I missed the 8pm bus and was forced to wait for the 10pm departure or pay 15 or 20 Euros for a taxi – so I waited. I found a bakery with WIFI and had dinner while I waited.
The bus dropped me off at the top of the steep hill leading down to the beach area. It was 20 minutes later when I arrived at my fairly quiet hostel overlooking the ocean, but the owner had a Greek salad ready and waiting for me which was nice.
In the morning I went for a walk down to a little beach that someone had recommenced to me. I hitched a ride with an old Greek guy and that was not a pleasant experience, so I left the beach soon after arriving just to avoid him. The only bad hitchhiking experience I have had.
I had a walk around the town a bit more, but really didn’t see it as somewhere I could spend a long time alone, so I caught the public bus back to the main port town the next morning to get a boat to Albania.
Someone had shown me a timetable that said the boat was leaving at 10am. I decided to go with two other guys from the hostel who were getting a 9am boat back to the mainland of Greece, figuring an extra hour for my international boat was appropriate. When I arrived at the ticket office at 8;45am, the staff told me to hurry because it was actually leaving at 9am – I hurried, and I made it.
I didn’t realise that Albania was 1hr behind Greece either, so I actually arrived 2 hours earlier than I expected – 9am instead of 11am!