Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On the Road to Patra and Up the Adriatic to Trieste - September 16 - 17, 2013

This was quite a sight.  The folks just down from our hotel were getting new glass fronts for their balcony.  Watching the preparations made for good entertainment as we waited for our taxi. To tell the truth, I was a little disappointed that we had to leave before the glass went up.  Oh, well.

Before we go to the bus station, a word about our hotel.  We stayed at the Art Gallery Hotel, just a few blocks from the Acropolis.  The location couldn't have been better and the staff was very helpful! If you ever need a place to stay in Athens, look them up.  

So the taxis arrive.  Three of them. We only need two. There is a small altercation among the drivers about which taxi will leave empty.  Not understanding a word of Greek beyond "Yammus!" I still got the idea that the odd man out left very unhappy.

Off we zoomed!  Up one street, down the next.  Up a tiny alley, now flying on a modern expressway.  I was thinking we were being taken for a ride in more ways than one and dreading what the bill would be.  Much to my surprise, it was very reasonable and the drivers got us as close to the bus terminal door as possible.

After a very short wait, we were on our way to Patra to catch the ferry boat to Trieste.

First, a reminder that I don't take many pictures from a moving bus that amount to anything.  

This is the route we took:  Athens to Patra.

First, there was a seemingly endless parade of harbor cranes as we drove along the Piraeus Harbor.  The port is huge. If you ever visit, make sure you know exactly where you are going before you start.  Otherwise, you may wander for days before you find your way out.

Then past Megara Bay on our left, where Stanley worked many years ago doing hydrographic surveys for the US Navy.

Past some pretty rugged looking landscape. It was much like I expected:  lots of olive trees, stand alone mountains, and mountain ranges.

And across the Corinth Canal.

The trek was dotted quite liberally with little towns and Frosty and I made a game of counting churches.  Every little hamlet had at least one, but it was much more common to see the spires and domes of three or four in towns that couldn't possible support that many

The road continued along the coast of the Gulf of Corinth.  Mile after mile slipped by with water on our right and rugged landscape sprinkled with picturesque villages on the left.

Finally, we sighted the Rio-Antirrio Bridge which links Rio on the Peloponnese with Antirrio on mainland Greece. Aside from being a engineering masterpiece, it is also drop-dead gorgeous.  Patra is just beyond the bridge.

Arriving in Patra with no directions to the ferry dock, we made a couple of false starts, but managed to get in a good walk as a side benefit.  At last, we found the bus that would take us directly to the waiting area.
You can't take pictures in front of a twisted flag so first we had to 
modify the props.

Then, we were ready to pose!  Bon voyage! We're off to Trieste!

So here is the link that shows a possible land route from Patra to Trieste.  We took the short-cut by ferry boat.

The ride was as smooth as silk in spite of the rainy dreary weather. Our accommodations were quite adequate and thanks to our foresight in bringing supplies on board, the bar tab was quite manageable.  However, in all fairness, I have to say that the food was terrible.  In fact, it was worse than that.  

And then there was the incident.  On the morning of the 17th, Stanley and I met Jake and went to breakfast.  For some reason, we decided it would be best if we went the route that would take us outside.  I slipped on the wet metal stairs and landed on my butt.  Fortunately, my butt is well padded so I wasn't hurt severely.  I did nurse the injury for all it was worth and managed to eek out a considerable amount of attention.

Later that evening, I spoiled the whole drama thing when I allowed myself to become involved with a 19 year old kid named Mario doing the YMCA routine mixed with some sort of German folk dance.  It was great fun, but my chances of reinstating the "poor pitiful me" act were greatly diminished.  

We made only one stop:  Here is the map:  Ancona, Italy. And Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the town as well as some great pictures.

It is a beautiful little town and it obviously gets its share of cruise ships.  

We were still several hours out of Trieste and for some reason, we were behind schedule.  We arrived at our final destination more than two hours late at about 3:00 AM.  We found the B&B quickly. Fausto, our host, was waiting for us and seemed totally unperturbed by our late arrival.  

To bed, to bed.  No question about it.  In just a few hours we will begin our tour of Trieste.