Saturday, 12 February 2011

A morning cruise ...

On the Express Santorini ...


After a nice sleep, refreshed and after breakfast it was down to the dock to pick up the car. A night in the city car park on the docks was just €7. A quick whiz round the block to Avis, and it was Giannis who gave me a lift back to the ferry terminal, where the Express Santorini was waiting.

I had never had a ride on the Express Santorini, however i did know, that it was once a French cross channel ferry back in its youth. It has nice lines and i love, that when it arrives in Skiathos it announces its arrival with a blast of the ships horn that echoes into the distance.

It has a nice if somewhat dated interior, including quite interesting mural paintings. One of which seemed to be Honfleur over the forward staircase.

It was launched in 1974 as the Chantres and much to my surprise i learn, that it was the last of the old train ferries. It was also the last ferry to use the Dover Western docks, which is now the cruise terminal. So cars and lorries now sit, with the ghosts of old SNCF railway wagons, on what was once the train deck.

Its nice to return to Skiathos in a little style, and know you have touched base with a little piece of history.

On arrival it was the usual bedlam, but this time we were part of it too. By the time i had unloaded three packed Ikea bags, a Jumbo bag, a chair and our overnight kit, i was well acquainted with the ferry ramp. Moving quickly dodging lorries, cars motorbikes and the mad rush of people off and on the boat.

Now all i had to do was get it all to the house ...

Then an angel appeared - Stamatis on his scooter. He has his own arrangements somehow shipping his produce from A-B via the ferry. Today of course was no different. However he insisted on transporting our goods back to the house.
So off we went up Papadamatis street, dodging trucks and cars. Stamatis, our overnight bag on his back, and an IKEA bag balanced on the petrol tank. Me on the back, holding two IKEA bags one each side, like drop tanks.

Apparently we were quite an interesting sight ...

Back on the harbour i loaded him up with his goods, and he headed off into the distance riding one handed - with two crates supported behind his back, held in position by his free hand ...

He also filled my pockets with six red eating apples, and four bramley apples from his cousins farm in the Pelion which are sold in the bakery.

Thats what friends are for, 'A friend in need' and as Greek friends go he is the best ...







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