The moment we were dreading had arrived. . leaving the beautiful Greek Islands and moving back into intense backpacking, but this time separately. The ferry ride into Athens was at night. Completely exhausted, we pretty much walked to the harbour half asleep, where we dangled our legs by the water and waited for the ferry.
The boat had arrived and everyone rushed towards it. I always find that so intriguing, when people rush towards something. I’ve experienced it for flights, subways, trains and ferries. I never see the point because things like flights and ferries, they won’t leave until everyone is there, and there is usually enough time for everyone to get on. I’ve been knocked over, caught in the middle of luggage and trapped between people all because they turn into wild animals when their form of transport arrives. So just a tip for anyone who is this kind of person: calm down!
As we all eventually got onto the ferry, an employee pointed us towards a room. Since we didn’t have any assigned seats, we thought that this was a room with lounges or something where we could try and get some sleep.
We walked closer to the room and could hear very loud noises. Peaking around the corner, we noticed that it was a gaming room. They had shoved all the backpackers into a gaming room to sleep. I quickly ran to the back of the room where I claimed my corner. I don’t think I noticed anything odd at the time, as I was so sleep deprived. But, when I woke up at 3 in the morning to see 40 backpackers all lined up in rows, sleeping on their backpacks and curled up with their jackets over their cold bodies, I couldn’t believe it! I kind of felt like an illegal immigrant, like that instance in San Fran where the cab driver chucked us in the back of his van. I put my coat back over my head and drifted back to sleep as the gaming machines played sounds of excitement.
We arrived into Athens later that morning and put our stuff in a locker at the main station. We sat on the ground and freshened up, as the toilets cost money and we were poor. We still hadn’t slept, but had a full day in Athens until we separated the next day. With a fresh face and clothes, we headed out to explore the Acropolis. Feeling completely exhausted, we knew we needed a nap to get through the rest of the day. Finding a park bench, we both took a side and had a fairly decent hour nap. We woke up even more tired, sore and cramped up.
Long story short, that night we caught a train into Thessaloniki, and then another one into Bulgaria. From there, Jay and I were going to catch one more train together, where I would get off into Serbia and start exploring, and from Serbia, Jay would catch a train back towards the west of Europe.
We arrived into Serbia early morning, but as there was a delay, we though Jay had missed her train. We ended up spending the day together in Belgrade, which was really nice. We went to these cool underground tunnels and caves where we learnt about the Serbian history, explored wine cellars and just roamed around the city. After a while, we realised that Jay hadn’t actually missed the train. There was a time difference and our phones hadn’t changed, so she was actually early for the train! We laughed at our stupidity, said our goodbyes and ventured off on our own adventures.