Things didn’t go to a good start when I went to find the ferry in Athens. I went to the port to look for a ticket and couldn’t find anything for a while. It started pouring rain while this happened. I finally got a ticket and then I had to find the ferry. It is a huge port; I boarded a bus that went around the port but I still didn’t see the ferry since the bus only covered half the area. Walking around to the opposite end I finally got on board with soaking pants and feet (poncho covered the rest).
The ferry was much different from the cruise ship type I took last time. This one looked more like a large airplane inside with rows of seats. Luckily, I found a power outlet near some seats for my computer. Left at 8PM and after a few hours a lot of people left the ship to go to one of the other Greek islands, giving me some space to sleep. I was able to sleep across two seats where an armrest was removed.
I arrived at 8AM at the island of Samos, Greece. I spent the day relaxing near the beaches and water. Since I was in Greece I decided to eat a Greek salad for lunch. I guess it was authentic because there was no lettuce in it, but mostly tomatoes. One annoying thing about the Mediterranean countries is most stores and businesses close between 1PM-4PM, during the hottest part of the day. Trying to find a super market to buy a snack for later can be tough in the afternoon, for example.
At 4:30PM I boarded a ferry to Kusadasi, Turkey. Now this is where it started getting scary because I’m leaving the European Union, I have to get a visa, new currency, and find my way to the hotel before sundown without any guidebooks or maps.
At 6:30PM I got off the ferry; the first person I had to go through asked for my ticket and a 10 Euro port fee. Next I went to another person to get a visa, so I handed over my passport and a $20 bill and with no questions asked I got my visa. Next was passport control where they typed my name into the computer and let me into the country, again no questions asked.
Next, I had the name of the city (SelÃ§uk) and hotel (Urkmez) and I had to get there from the port city of Kusadasi. Getting sent out onto the street some helpful people ask where I’m going and give me some vague directions for a 10 minute walk to the minibus (or dolmuÅŸ) station. First I made a quick stop and changed some Euros into Turkish Lira. Amazingly I did make it to the minibuses and I only had to have one other person point me in the right direction. I was expecting a big building or a huge parking lot with lots of busses, but it was just a street corner with some people waiting there and these small buses with 12-15 seats pulling up real quick and driving away. There was one guy with a cowboy hat and a radio who seemed to be running things. I managed to get on the bus to SelÃ§uk for 3 YTL ($2.28) and about 20-30 minutes later arrived in the town.
I was closer now, but I still had to find my hotel. In all the countries so far, I’ve had road maps on my computer, but not the case here. Some more helpful people gave me some directions and I walked again. They said it is next to the post office, but too bad I have no idea how a Turkish post office looks. Asking a couple more people I was able to find the hotel while it was starting to get dark.
I got some food recommendations from the hotel staff and ending up having a Turkish Pizza for dinner (wood burning oven, long oval shaped pizza cut in small pieces). Not quite enough I went and had some meatballs across the street. Feeling full I went to bed.