The dramatic change of plan on Thursday necessitated an uncomfortably early start to Friday. Well. Uncomfortable by current standards anyway. When I was in work I usually got out of bed about 06.00 and was in the office by 07.00. Now an 07.20 alarm gets me up about 07.30, not ideal but fits with a lifestyle which rarely gets me into bed before 01.00. Today, an 07.15 bus meant I had to be out of bed by 06.20 and it was …. uncomfortably early. The 07.15 bus was the only option to get me to a ferry from Igoumenitsa at 12.45, the only option for getting to Paxos today. Limited choices prescribe necessary action.
Parga was waking up and was busy even at that time in the morning. Not many holiday makers in evidence but plenty of activity as locals went about their business and prepared for the onslaught of taverna loungers and window shoppers.
The bus arrived and left on time and ground its way back to Igoumenitsa via pick-up points for commuters in villages en route. Most of the way was under grey skies with various levels of cloud blanketing the mountains.
It dropped me off at the bus station before 09.00 by which time the cloud had dispersed and again the sun beat down hotly from a clear blue sky. I fumbled my way down to a taverna on the main seafront drag where I was revived with a good strong caffeine fix. Igoumenitsa was also coming alive and people dropped in to the taverns for a frappé or coffee to start the day. It seems to be a Greek thing to stop off at a coffee shop on the way to work.
When I came-to I had 3 hours to kill before the ferry so I left the Big Bag in the taverna and ambled around town. Two points of note.
First, despite the disparaging remarks in the Rough Guide to Greece, away from the ferry terminal the town is a pretty respectable modern place with a good early morning cafe-culture ambience. Not at all unpleasant, particularly in the sunshine.
Second, and on a purely practical matter, it has a wide range of shops including one where I could put credit on the Greek SIM card in my mobile. In the UK it can be done very simply on-line. Here it cannot be done on-line at all and is far more complex not least because the necessary on-phone instructions are in rapid-flowing Greek which I still can’t cope with. The guy in the shop was not only unphased by the fact that I didn’t know my phone number but put the credit on the phone AND reset the phone so the on-phone instructions are now in English. Brilliant!!
Ferry left only 15 minutes late and by 14.30 arrived in Paxos where my friends were waiting in their car to take me up to their place in the hills. Amazing location. I haven’t been in such a quiet, peaceful place for a long time. Spent the rest of the day chewing the fat and then going down the 150 metres to the nearby village/harbour of Loggos for the evening.
Loggos is a very attractive place and not surprisingly attracts a great many English visitors. It is also the closest place with internet connections so for the next few days communication with the world outset will be limited.