The transition from spending 24/7 with my darlin’ boyfriend to being all by my lonesome for what felt like 25/8 was tougher than I thought. Both my trips to Greece so far have been safely protected by his presence and good Greek language skills, so starting off on my own for 10 days was going to be different.
|My lone shadow at sunset in Delphi, symbolic, yadda yadda. 😉|
Once I arrived in Delphi, I was overwhelmed by feelings: of loneliness, sure, but more than that, of panic. If I’m so sorry to be alone and it’s only the first day, how am I going to survive this year? was my thought. I allowed myself a few moments of complete insanity before thinking about ways to feel better. How can I spend my unstructured free time? This seemed to be the most important question, as it was in those off-moments that I was most prone to meltdown. Write, was the obvious answer. But writing alone is a solitary endeavor, so I’m still trying to figure out how I may want to spend time otherwise, as well. Volunteering is one option, perhaps seeking conversation partner another, depending on the country I’m in. In any case, my day of “mourning” ended and my first day of real independence began.
Delphi was very cool, but I was only there for one night. My next stop, I had decided, was Nafplio. A number of folks had told me Nafplio was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Boris assured me I would love it, and so I went. How did I get there, you might ask? By being super resourceful and amazing? NO, not really, but it sure felt like that!
Step 1: Buy a bus ticket. The taverna where the bus had dropped us off from Athens is the new KTEL, apparently, so I walked into the restaurant and asked for the ticket. Greeks generally speak English, which is really helpful for me. (I had heard enough from Boris, though, to be able to say a few things, but that would only mislead the Greek to whom I was speaking! I’d ask for something in Greek, they’d reply in the same language only to be met by my confused stare.)
The bus from Delphi to Athens left at 11 a.m. Or, at least, it was supposed to, but it arrived at 11:20 and we were on our way.
Step 2: Take the bus to Attiki metro stop. The bus for Delphi arrives at Stathmos Liossion, which is bus station B and services some of the northern parts of Greece. It’s much smaller than the other bus station, as I would soon learn. I remembered how Boris and I had gotten to the metro when we had arrived there from Meteora, so I walked to the nearest periptero and then took a bus (basically any city bus goes far enough down that street to get you to Attiki), dutifully asked the driver, “Attiki?” And when he nodded, hopped off.
Step 3: Take the metro from Attiki to Omonia. I knew to do this thanks to the desk lady at Athens Backpackers, where I had stayed my last night in Athens. She had given me a really excellent map, and given me directions to Station A before realizing I needed to get to Station B. Thus, I had both sets of directions, and my absolutely genius brain (haha) decided to meld the directions together.
I knew I had to get to Omonia. Some had suggested I take a cab to the bus station from there, but the hostel lady disagreed. To save money–and, perhaps, for a subconscious desire to prove to myself that I could do it–I stuck to her directions. Attiki and Omonia are on the same line, so all I had to do was hop on the train in the direction of Piraeus, and get off a few stops along the way.
Omonia is not known as being the safest area in Athens; in fact, many guidebooks tell you to avoid the place altogether at night. It was only 2:30 p.m., though, and I felt perfectly safe.
Step 4: Walk to the next bus stop. Here, I had to go directly from the directions she had given me: take the Piros (Piraos? some P street name) exit from the metro stop, which is a spider of entrances and exits, and walk along it. Take a RIGHT onto Zinonas. I ended up asking a few people where Zinonas was, since I walked right past it. I was expecting a trafficked street, but realized Zinonas was, in part, pedestrian-only. I fooled a periptero guy into thinking I spoke Greek when I asked for the street, and he replied; my suspicions that it was to the right were confirmed when I caught “dexia,” so I knew I was on the right track.
After only a few minutes of wandering, I found Zinonas. Took a right. Walked two blocks, and looked for a bus stop. There was one on my right, now the trick would be to make sure it went the right way! Again, language barriers are really not so much barriers as interesting opportunities to interact and mime, if need be. I brokenly explained where I needed to go to the driver, he affirmed I was in the right place, and so I went. Bus 51 runs every 10 minutes, and the last stop is directly at Terminal A of the bus station.
Step 5: Buy a ticket to Nafplio! I asked at information which window I should find for my ticket, and she told me “outside.” Bus Station Kafissos is HUGE. At least, it felt that way compared to Lission, where there is one waiting area and about 8 bus bays. Here, I couldn’t even tell how many bus bays there were, because I couldn’t see to the end of the station. I saw a sign saying “Nafplio <–” and headed that way. Argolides is the area where Nafplio is located for the busses, and I had just the right amount of time to buy a ticket, which was leaving, as I suspected, at 3:30, go to the bathroom, pick up a sandwich, and get back to my bus before it started boarding.
Solo travel success! Man, it felt good to be able not only to get from point A to point B, but to do it using multiple forms of public transport and only spend 1.40 euro rather than paying for a cab. I knew where to buy my tickets, (don’t forget, if you need a bus/metro ticket, it’s the same price but be sure to tell the periptero person, because apparently it’s a different type of ticket. AND DON’T FORGET TO VALIDATE and keep your ticket with you! They do check in Greece, a lot more often than in Italy, for sure) I knew how to validate them (busses have a thingy on board, metro stations have validation points close to the entrance), and I ultimately got to where I needed to go.
Now, I’m situated in Nafplio, which is basically one of my new favorite places. More on that coming soon!