“I seem to have heard of Ithaca”

The intrepid poet, relaxing at Cafe Spavento

The intrepid poet, relaxing at Cafe Spavento

Ithaca … yes, I seem to have heard of Ithaca,
even on Crete’s broad island across the sea,
and now I’ve reached it myself.
~~Odysseus, to Athena, in disguise

I arrived in darkness and in darkness I traveled the winding roads through the hills in a shared taxi to the small town of Kioni. I couldn’t see much, but the taxi deposited me in the driveway below my friends’ apartment just above the little town. It was, as in so many photos of Greece, white and blue in the heated darkness.

When I woke the next morning, my friends said that their life while in Kioni was sedate and fairly set: breakfast, off to the beach, back for lunch, down to town for a drink, back to the apartment for a bit, then down into town again for dinner. Would I have a problem with that, they asked.

I told them no, that sounded lovely, and I had a book, and notebooks for writing, to keep me occupied. I waved my Odyssey at them.

Stephen and Peter on the way to the beach

Stephen and Peter on the way to the beach

That was, indeed, how my days were occupied during my visit. Every morning, we got up and walked down to Cemetery Beach after having breakfast. It was about 15 minutes away, down a road and then a trail through the woods. Tall, narrow cypress trees interspersed the pines. Everywhere, at all times, there was the chirring sound of crickets under everything else. They were nearly loud enough that I thought them cicadas. They were also, as I discovered later, damned near the size of mice. Geraniums were quite literally bushes there, much larger than I’d ever seen before.

cemetery detail, Cemetary Beach, Ithaki

cemetery detail, Cemetary Beach, Ithaki

The eponymous cemetery was behind a wall, across the road from the beach, shielded by trees and weeds and vines. Up on a little bank above the beach proper, was a bar. It was separated from the cemetery by thin, brown reed walls. The bar was set up in a little kitchen trailer, with a cooler nearby, and a reed roof over the seating area, under oaks with tiny leaves. I think the oaks were Quercus coccifera, also called the Kermes Oak– an evergreen species with tiny, holly-like leaves. The ground beneath the trees was sparsely sprinkled with tiny, immature acorn caps, and the occasional larger, empty cap. I didn’t see any of the actual acorns. The bar served coffee, sodas, beer and other alcoholic beverages, light snacks, and apparently some evenings they were also open for dinner, but requested reservations.

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the bar at Cemetery Beach

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view from the bar

Each day, I’d have a swim, then a Greek coffee with a glass of water, then another swim, before we’d head back. Stephen and Peter would go snorkeling, looking for sea urchin shells. They asked if I’d like to snorkel, but my eyesight is so bad I’d need a prescription mask in order to see anything. I love snorkeling and, back when I was in the Navy and living in Hawaii, I actually qualified as a SCUBA diver, but those days are long behind me. The water in the Salish Sea is far too cold for me, and you really rather need a dry suit to tackle it, so I haven’t dived or snorkeled since 1980. Now that I’m living on warmer water, though, I’m considering taking up snorkeling again, once I can find a proper mask that will allow me to actually see.

flowers at Cemetery Beach

flowers at Cemetery Beach

One day, I found myself needing to use the restroom. There is one behind the bar, walled in with reeds, just like the bar itself. I was expecting perhaps a porta-potty. What I got was a bit surreal. There, sitting under the open sky, on the white gravel of the earth, was a fully plumbed and functional ceramic toilet. It was such a surprise in that setting that if I’d had my camera with me instead of leaving it in my bag, I’d have taken a photo.

Each afternoon, after lunch, Peter and I would go down to Kioni (Stephen had other things he needed to do) and have a glass of wine, passing the time at Café Spavento. Chairs and tiny tables line the narrow crossroads outside, with barely room for cars to pass. The place is run by Jennie, a British woman who’s been in Kioni for many years. She helped me get a bus ticket back from Kyllini to Patras, calling down to the Pisaetos ferry dock and arranging things for me. She was really friendly and very kind.

Cafe Spavento

Cafe Spavento

Unfortunately, this little slice of paradise has its own politics and its share of small-town bullshit going on, just like everywhere else. Two years ago, a man from the town of Vathi (the largest town on Ithaki) came to Kioni and opened a restaurant. When he arrived, he announced that within five years he intended to drive all the other restaurants and bars in town out of business. To that end, very recently he’s managed to have people associated with Spavento arrested four times for having their chairs and tables along the street side. The tables have been there for years, with appropriate payments to the town council for a waiver of the law against such things. The owners of the other restaurants are also being harassed and arrested. Apparently, even the cops in Kioni are sick of it. The whole thing is ridiculous, and one of the cops even suggested to the people at Spavento that they hire someone to get arrested in their place when things like this happen. Apparently, that’s a thing. At any rate, the guy who wants to put half the town out of business runs a place called Mills, so if you do end up in Kioni, for the sake of all the other small businesses in town that are employing quite a few people, don’t eat there.

Every afternoon, like clockwork, two boatloads of tourists land at the end of the waterfront in Kioni and swamp the place for about 45 minutes. It was always an eclectic mix, but there was inevitably at least one guy in an ill-advised Speedo and nothing else wandering around town. I get that it’s hot, and I’m down with wearing what you like to the beach, and naturisim for people who are into nudity, but really? The center of a small town isn’t actually a beach, and it seemed rather inappropriate. Even just a pair of shorts or a towel around the waist would have been nice.

Late afternoons back at the apartment were spiced with the amplified hawking of a couple of guys with pickup trucks. One of them was selling plastic tables and chairs, the other selling fruit and vegetables. Their rhythmic calls never varied, echoing against the hills behind Kioni as they drove slowly along. It felt kind of like ice-cream trucks, but rather more practical, and less likely to drive anyone mad with tinny canned music on a short loop.

looking out of the living room toward the sea

looking out of the living room toward the sea

The view from the balcony of the apartment is amazing. There were always swallows swooping around and lighting on the wires outside. The hills and the beaches, the sailboats, and the colors, all seemed like something out of a dream. There were moments when I felt like I was living in a travel poster. Of course, at that point, I rather was. My hosts told me that, during the winter, Kioni has a permanent population of about 80 people. Most ferry service is sparse, and people don’t come on holiday because the sea is treacherous and the weather unpredictable.

view from the balcony

view from the balcony

Dinner every night was at the Mythos restaurant. The restaurants down in Kioni are all on the waterfront, with covered tables right at the water’s edge. There’s a significant stray cat population that converges on them during meal hours, though they are far more polite than any of the pigeons. The cats wait patiently near the tables, hoping for a handout or a dropped bit. There’s a spay and neuter program in the area, but they do also help keep the rat population down. The food at Mythos was excellent. Everything I had there was great, and the octopus appetizer was the best octopus I have ever had in my life: tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned. That stuff was tentacle sex on a plate, and I mean that in the best possible way.

imagine this as the view from your dinner table every night

imagine this as the view from your dinner table every night

I finished my reading of The Odyssey on my last full day in Kioni. My hosts had arranged for a cab to come pick me up at about 6:30 the next morning to get back to Pisaetos in time for the ferry. I bid them a fond farewell before we all went to bed that night.

At the ferry dock, I went to the kiosk as advised, and picked up a bus ticket there, so thank you, Jennie, for all your help. The bus boarded the ferry at Poros on the way back to Kyllini; I put my bag in the cargo hold at that time, and boarded the bus when it debarked on the mainland. That had to be the strangest bus stop ever, waiting on the ferry deck with other people catching the same one. Several buses boarded, so I had to figure out which was the one I needed. One was headed for Athens, others to different destinations. The Patras bus was clearly marked with a little cardboard sign in the windshield. I think it was the same one I’d ridden in on, with a little Greek Orthodox icon in the driver’s side window. The driver played local music rather than the English-language pop I hear everywhere else. I really enjoyed listening to it, as a very refreshing break from the pop. A kid who might have been his son rode in a jump seat in front of the door once everyone boarded. He’d been helping with the baggage.

When I got back to Patras, I needed to get some ouzo for my brother. I’d thought about going into town for it, but ended up getting a taxi down to the ferry terminal for Italian-bound boats. This was in a different part of town than the arrival docks, so I was glad that I’d caught a cab instead of walking up to where I’d arrived, as I’d considered doing. They did have a fair-sized duty-free shop, so I got him a bottle there, and grabbed some lunch. I was also able to upgrade my ticket to a bed in a four-person cabin, as the trip involved a full night and an arrival scheduled for about 1:30 in the morning back in Trieste. It cost an extra €38 but was, I thought, worth every penny. Said cabin included a toilet and shower and, because the route back to Italy was nearly deserted, I ended up having the cabin to myself.

Kioni street art reminds me of Coyote from the webcomic Gunnerkrig Court

Kioni street art reminds me of Coyote from the webcomic Gunnerkrig Court

Our afternoon was hot and sunny, but as they day proceeded toward evening, clouds rolled in. Most of the trip was cooler, windier, and darker than the trip in. I was pretty exhausted, so I spent some time in my cabin writing, but was dealing with a growing migraine. I took what medications I had available, but still ended up getting sick, so the private bathroom was a relief. I was so glad I didn’t have to run for one of the public bathrooms on a different deck and puke in a stall. Being able to sleep in absolute darkness after that, alone, in the quiet, was a blessing.

After Ancona, we did hit the storm, and passed through it. The boat rocked and rolled its way through the final Brazil-Germany game of the World Cup, announced in Greek. Later that evening, it was “The Tudors” in Italian. Because of the heavy seas, we arrived over an hour late back in Trieste, just on the edge of the storm. I was out on deck for part of our arrival, watching the harbor lights, and the great, blinking beam of the Faro Vittora, lightning painting the sky and lighting the clouds around us. The rain hit just as the foot passengers were debarking, and my brother had been waiting, hoping vainly that we’d be ashore before the storm arrived. We ended up riding his motorcycle back to my place in the pouring rain, soaked to the skin. I unpacked my bags; fortunately my book and notebooks hadn’t been damaged, though things were a bit damp. Home at last, a hot shower and bed called my name.

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Kioni from the road to the beach

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ouzo and urchins

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marina at Kioni

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dreaming of faraway places

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You can get there from here, sort of

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Leaving Trieste in the gold light of morning

When last we left our intrepid traveler, I’d just returned, about 9:30pm, to Trieste from Torino. I was supposed to be at the ferry docks by 4:30am to check in for the trip from Trieste to Patras, still not knowing how I was going to get from Patras to Ithaki. I knew that if I tried to sleep, I was going to be miserable, so instead I packed my bags and fretted and caught up with email, and did all those things an anxiety-prone insomniac does before popping off on a new adventure.

My travel kit consisted of one backpack with clothes, notebooks, and such, and one grocery-sized shoulder bag mostly containing food and water for the trip, to help keep expenses down a little. Food on the ferries is somewhat pricey. My reading material consisted of the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey. If one is going to the hypothetical home of Odysseus, best to brush up, after all. One must know what (not?) to do if beset by unwanted suitors, or encountering the one-eyed son of Poseidon. My brother hauled me down to the docks on his motorcycle. It took us a little while to find the office where I was supposed to check in. The signs aren’t the clearest in the world and, while we found the correct dock, actually finding the office involved asking one of the workers who was directing vehicles onto the ferry. Once that was settled, I left my brother on the dock and boarded, heading up for check-in, and was told where my seat was.

What do poets read on the way to Ithaki? 500+ pages of mythological mayhem.

What do poets read on the way to Ithaki? 500+ pages of mythological mayhem.

I’d booked an airline-type seat (nicer than cattle-car class on a plane) in one of the lounges. On these ferries, you can get a basic ticket and sleep wherever you find space on the decks or one of the lounges that doesn’t close, you can buy a seat in a reserved passenger lounge like I did, or you can get one of the various types of cabins. I’d opted for cheap, though I probably should have gone with a low-end cabin. More on that, later.

By 5am, the sky was already lightening over the Carso and by the time we set sail at 6:30-ish, the sky above the hills was golden, laced with silver clouds. I watched for a while from the open deck on the top level (deck 11), then explored the rest of the accessible boat. Lounges and bars, and other amenities, are on deck 10, and passenger cabins on decks 8 and 9, while the reception area and the seats are on deck 7. The rest of the boat is engines, crew space, and lots of garages for cars, trucks, and campers. Many of the passengers were long-distance truckers heading from Italy to Greece.

It had been a long time since I’d really been out on the water. Puget Sound has an extensive ferry system, but most of the trips I’d taken there had been Seattle to Bremerton, Seattle to Bainbridge Island, Edmonds to Kingston, or Mukilteo to Clinton. A few times it was Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, when I lived in West Seattle. Twice, I’d taken the Victoria Clipper from Seattle up to Victoria, BC, which was far shorter than my Italy to Greece trip, but rather more alike in character. On that, and on the Irish ferry from Ros a’ Mhíl to the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, I had heavy seas and choppy water to deal with, but I’ve never been seasick. In comparison, the trip from Trieste to Patras was smooth as glass. And I still absolutely love being on the water.

Sleep wasn’t going to happen, though I rested for a few hours on the way to our first port in Ancona, Italy, where we offloaded some vehicles, and picked up quite a few more passengers. Prices vary by season on these international ferries, and it was “mid-season” on the way to Greece from Italy. Apparently it’s always “low season” on the trip back from Greece to Italy. Not as many people traveling the return route, apparently. These aren’t cruise ship ports of call, where you can get off and visit the town; ferries are transportation, not generally regarded as pleasure cruises. That said, the boat was comfortable, and they had bars, a cafeteria, a restaurant, and a swimming pool, among other facilities. Their advertised internet access and wifi was nonexistent, however. I spent a fair amount of the journey out of sight of the coast without any phone or internet service.

Coming in to the port of Ancona

Coming in to the port of Ancona

After Ancona, we set sail for Greece. The trip to Patras from Trieste is about 36 hours, I think. I wasn’t paying close attention, and we gained an hour in the time change from Italy to Greece, passing into a new time zone. I found it really hard to sleep – while I had two seats to myself, not far away was a family with a toddler who wouldn’t settle down for love nor money. Screaming just doesn’t set well with me as peaceful nighttime sound effects. Some of the people who had obviously taken the trip before set up air mattresses and sleeping bags on the floor in the passenger lounge. Wise people, these. Nearly everyone had brought some food and water, or other things to drink. I did a lot of reading and tried to nap on bench seats in a couple of the bars, but televisions were on the entire time, with shows in either Italian or Greek, depending on the screen and the bar.

The second day on the boat, we made port in Igoumenitsa.

The sea as we sailed toward Greece was the most incredible dark blue, almost indigo in its intensity. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything bluer, except perhaps the blooms of the Lithodora diffusa, which look kind of like dark blue holes in the fabric of space when you see them in the right light. The coast as we sailed was largely barren. It reminded me a lot of the California hills and the southern California coast, brown and grey and sage green. It was extremely rocky, lots of cliffs, and very few settlements that I could see. But the blue of the water made me think of Homer’s wine-dark sea, and the blue doors in white buildings that I always see in photos by travelers in Greece; they are dark sea-blue and whitecaps. Even the blue decks of the ferry are not so blue.

Sailing to Igoumenitsa

Sailing to Igoumenitsa

Late that afternoon, we finally arrived in Patras. The closer we got to port, the more worried I was about not finding a way to Ithaki, so I talked to one of the crew at reception. She wasn’t sure (“You would probably have had an easier time if you were sailing from Igoumenitsa”) but one of the other folks was from Patras, so she asked him. No, there are no direct boats from Patras to Ithaka, or even ones going to Kefalonia first, so I was given instructions about how to get a bus ticket to the port of Kyllini and take the ferry from there to Pisaetos via Poros on the island of Kefalonia.

I grabbed a cab to the KTEL Kefalonia office (€5), where I bought a bus (€7.60) and ferry (€13.60) ticket to Pisaetos. I could not, however, get the guy at the desk to understand that I needed return tickets as well, so that I’d be back in time for my ferry back to Italy a few days later. Finally, giving up, I grabbed some lunch, then walked to another travel office, where I was able to get the ferry part of the return trip taken care of. “We only sell ferry tickets. You’ll have to get the bus ticket somewhere else.” I wasn’t sure I wanted to try my luck with the guy at the KTEL office again, so I went wandering a bit before I had to be back to catch the bus at 8pm.

Waiting for the bus to Kyllini

Waiting for the bus to Kyllini

I had bought a Greek-English phrasebook online some weeks ago, when I knew I was going to Ithaki. It hadn’t arrived by the time I left. I stopped in at a bookshop and did find one. The procedure in there was really different than what I’m used to. I couldn’t take the book down to the counter. The clerk had to print up a receipt for me upstairs where I found it; I paid for the book, and then collected it downstairs near the door. It was rather like my clothes-buying expedition a couple of weeks back before my departure, also really different than what I’m used to. After the book, I got myself a really amazingly delicious “cappuccino” (“what is that, and can I have one?”) which was more iced coffee with immensely thick whipped cream and a bit of sugar. The thing was fantastic. Greek coffee on a more general scale, though, is kind of like sipping mud. It tastes fine, but half the cup is grounds. I drank Greek coffee the entire time I was in Greece, though. For the most part I managed to filter the worst of the silt through my teeth after letting the cup settle, and not ingest too much of it.

Being in Greece gave me a far greater appreciation for even the really crap Italian that I know. I can at least make vague sense of conversations here, and participate to a limited degree. I can do basic errands. I can say please and thank you. I greet people and ask for things in stores. I can order food in restaurants and pay my tab. In Greece, I didn’t know yes and no. In fact, “yes” in Greek (ναί) sounds like “neh” in English and is easy to mistake for a no. I didn’t even have the advantage of being able to read the alphabet very well. I could transliterate most but not all of it into something that was vaguely readable, but not translatable. If I ever traveled to a country that used non-Latinate writing, it would be even worse.

The bus arrived at the KTEL office about half an hour late, but everyone took it in stride. I wasn’t sure what all was happening, so I had a brief, phone-translation aided conversation with the woman in the seat next to me, who was from Ithaki but living in Patras, and pretty much just followed her along like a duckling onto the ferry from the bus, and where to get off the boat.

On the ferry, the tv was playing a Turkish costume drama, I think about Suleiman and the Ottoman empire, dubbed into Greek. I was a bit surprised, considering the political history between the two countries, but people were watching it, and it looked like it was probably pretty interesting. Beautiful costumes and sets, definitely. Later that night, Greek-dubbed “Grey’s Anatomy” came on, but it’s apparently set in Seattle, and I told her that’s where I’m from. At which point two young people (her son and daughter) got into the conversation. Her son speaks English and was able to help me out by answering a couple of questions. They found it an amusing coincidence that I had come from the place they were ostensibly seeing on TV.

With the ferry leaving late, we got to the dock in Pisaetos over half an hour late, arriving around 1:30 in the morning. There were taxis waiting. There wasn’t much else there, just a ticket kiosk, but all I was really interested in was getting out to Stephen and Peter’s place. The ride from the ferry to Kioni took about half an hour and cost €35. I didn’t think it was that bad, considering the distance and the time. Peter greeted me, as Stephen was asleep. Not having slept for close to three days, I collapsed in a heap and slept the sleep of the just (and mosquito-bitten) so I could start the next day with a clearer head.

On buying ferry tickets

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I lost all my photos from the past couple of days, so have a consolation photo of Molo Audace at dusk

I spent Monday and Tuesday afternoons at the Italian civics class. It was at a school closer to me than the one I’d originally been assigned when I had the trip back to Seattle, with no big hill in the middle. The class is a series of videos available in 20 languages. There were three of us in the English session.

The videos had a lot of necessary information but they were so badly done. The narrators, an American woman and a British man, were obviously and awkwardly reading from a teleprompter. They would talk about informational slides that occasionally were duplicates of each other, not showing the information they were referring to, or not appearing at all. Still, now I’m done with that bit and have retained the 15 points toward my eventual permanent residence.

The school also does free classes in Italian for foreigners. The A1 level is 100 hours of instruction and the A2 is 80 hours. They will give an Italian language test at the beginning of the school year, in September, to place the students appropriately. I have to be able to pass an Italian test at the A2 level within two years to remain in Italy.

Wednesday, my brother was here to help me with the Tessera Sanitaria for signing up for a doctor. The videos were rather confusing about the health service and didn’t cover my situation at all, which was unsurprising. Most of the people going through this are here as students or for work, while others come to join a working spouse. Elective residence visas were mentioned very briefly but were not discussed in any detail.

Anyway, when we got to the Tessera, we asked about joining the Italian health service. Since I don’t work and have not contributed to the Italian system, they would want a percentage of my annual income to go to the system (a reasonable request, actually), but that percentage equaled about $1,000 more than I’m paying in insurance right now, so I elected to remain on my insurance. I was, however, given an assignment to a woman doctor who does speak English – I think for dealing with medical issues, it’s pretty important to have as few barriers to communication as possible. She has an office down by the Barcola, so it’s not that far away, but it’s a long walk. Buses go by there regularly, though.

I picked up a 10-trip bus pass at a Tabacchi. It was about €11. I haven’t used the bus yet, but am feeling a bit more confident and will probably do so soon.

Thursday I went back to the school with a Croatian woman I met at the American Corner. We spent a fair amount of the day together. She speaks English, Dutch, and French. She said that she left Croatia before the war that split Serbia and Croatia and that the language changed after that, with the Croatians wanting to remove words and influences from Serbian and other languages. When she goes back to Croatia, as she has been living in other countries for a long time, people say, “you haven’t been here in a while, have you?” We both signed up for the Italian class, and she signed up for an art class.

On the way back to my place, she took me by Prunk Carni, which is a Slovenian butcher and grocery store on Largo della Barriera Vecchia, across from the Coop, giving me a tour and explaining what some of the things there were. They have game meat in regularly – venison, squirrel, bear, and other things. They have wine in barrels, sold by the liter, and you bring your own bottles. She showed me which of the dairy case things was sour cream, and talked about some of her favorite things, like nettle syrup and various sweets. I was really happy to have a guided tour, as I would have been completely lost without her explanations.

Friday night I went to visit my Italian teacher, Luisella, and her husband and father in law. She lives at the top of the Scala Dublino, right above the Trieste observatory, which was built in 1753. Gino said something about the building having been sold by the University last year and converted into a hotel, but I couldn’t find anything online confirming that. Gino’s father, Aldo D’Eliso, was a translator for the American army during and after the second world war; he wrote an autobiography that talks about his origins in Bari, in the south, and his move to Trieste with the British and Americans between 1929 and 1954. He was very kind and gave me a copy of the book. I haven’t read it yet, but talking to him was quite interesting. I spoke some Italian over the evening, but a fair bit of English as well. Since Giulia had donated a copy of my poetry book to the American library recently, Luisella had borrowed it and both Aldo and Gino have read it and very much liked my work. Luisella said she is reading it next.

Yesterday morning I walked down to Piazza Unità for a caffe latte and a brioche. The heat here has been pretty intense for my tender northwest sensibilities lately (up in the 90s and humid), so breakfast al fresco was just the thing. There were a lot of fire engines on the waterfront, and a stage set up across the piazza. On the way home along the Riva, I saw a long line of firefighters – the Vigili di Fuoco – carrying what seemed like an endless Italian tricolor over the bridge at Ponterosso toward Piazza Unità. It was quite a sight, but I was feeling a little under the weather so didn’t follow them down to the piazza to watch whatever was happening. I took some photos with my phone, but lost all the photos I’d taken over the past couple of days in a tragic iPhoto accident when a software update did me in while I was transferring them. When I got home, I did a little web searching and found out that the Vigili were having their annual conference here in Trieste this weekend, and this was part of their ceremonies.

Today I’ve been finalizing plans for the end of June and early July. My friend Dan has a lecture in Torino on June 30th, so I’ll be taking the train there on the 29th, then back here to Trieste on the 1st of July. On July 2nd, I’ll hop on a ferry to Greece to visit with my friend Stephen Green, a ceramics artist I met on Twitter in 2012. I was couch-surfing across Europe after my Brigid pilgrimage to Ireland and made a stop in Penrith, staying at a B&B to meet him and his partner at a ceramics festival where he was vending. We hit it off quite well and hoped to meet again at some point. Now that I’m in Italy, they have invited me to stay a couple of days with them on the island of Ithaki while they’re there on holiday. I’ve spent gods know how many hours this past several weeks trying to figure out how to get there for the least expense. Flying would be extremely expensive, and there’d still be the issue of getting from whatever airport I landed at, out to the island.

Almost all the ferry websites I encountered are difficult to navigate, often with outdated information about routes and prices. I’ve got myself a ferry ticket from Trieste to Patras, an overnight trip out and a two-night trip back with Minoan Lines. From what I can tell there are local ferries to the islands from Patras on Strintzis Ferries and I should be able to get to Vathi on Ithaki without too much trouble, as there are daily trips. I have an email in to Strintzis, as they had an actual 2014 schedule and rate sheet posted, but the website they link to for online purchase of tickets is pretty much non-functional and doesn’t give me the right options.

My brother agreed to take care of my dog for me while I’m traveling. I’ll be taking my laptop along, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to post anything while I’m traveling. There will definitely be photos gu leòr when I return!