Saturday, 2 February 2013

Where am I ? “ Welcome to Igoumenitsa ”

Igoumenitsa – The Town I didn’t Plan to Visit

With barely any sleep the sun rose and we headed back to the ticketing counter. It was a Saturday and the possibility of the counter not going to open suddenly hit me. Do boats travel on weekends? Corfu did not have any public bus on Sundays back when I first arrive there a week ago. Still early in the day about 7am I just kept wondering.

Port of Igoumenitsa
Between cigarettes and getting some cool fresh air outside to wake me up I noticed shops that I couldn’t see at night and slowly took in the new mysterious town that I was thrown into unwillingly. It was just one road with a dozen at most shops and a port. Further down up the road seams more settlement was present but I dared not venture too far from the port fearing many things. I did notice that one of the shops had the shipping company name as a signboard exactly the same as printed on my ticket. It was not open thou.

8am soon came and pass. 9am, noise of footsteps and finally the opening of a counter by a grumpy lady being force to work on a Sunday. I was the only one there so I had to ask despite not speaking any Greek. She was so unhelpful that it gave a bad impression of Greek people at work. I begin to feel I knew why their country was in chaos with the bad debt crisis and everyone going on strikes and refusing to work. These people are lazy I concluded. (Not my best moments). Few more attempts and the only reply was her asking us to wait. While we waited she was happily clipping her nails, eating breakfast, reading newspapers and when she finally got onto the phone it sounded more like idle chatter than a work kinda talk.

Alice was still tagging along. I became the person she could voice her opinion on about rude Greek people. She did it loudly hoping the grumpy lady could hear her but I wondered if she could even understand. I felt that the grumpy lady got the feel of the anger directed to her from Alice, which only made matters worst in trying to find a solution to the problem.

“Calm down …. You can have her once I get these tickets exchange for a new one, but till then we are at her mercy”, I said

This was not going well … fellow stranded people from last night begin to pool in and got the same treatment from the grumpy lady. Apparently some got their ticket change yesterday night but could not catch the boat in time. So it was not because I couldn’t speak greek …. That lady was just awful.

Going for another smoke I couldn’t stop looking at the shop across the road. It was open now and I thought there was no harm trying. A nice old man was smoking his cigarette outside when I walked up and he saw me holding the boat ticket in my hand.

“Did you miss the boat yesterday night”, He said.

He spoke English!! I was saved!! So they were the company that the original boat we were supposes to get on at Corfu. Apparently the boat broke down, according to them and had to redirect all passengers to their competitor boat. Within minutes I got my new ticket for Bari but at a price (Not Money). The next boat leaves at midnight. I was stuck at Igoumenitsa it seams for the whole day. Someone made it very clear I was to visit this small town at all cost. I got back to the port and told the Alice, and Grandpa (finally showed up), and directed the crowd to the shop for the change of new tickets.

Then Wait.

The Town - Igoumenitsa

I figured if I was going to be stuck here the whole day might as well explore the town that has magically pulled me here. I stowed my backpack away said bye bye to Alice as she was too tired from all the FUN last night to go exploring and set off to the far off settlement I seen earlier. It was about an hour walk I presume, maybe about 4 kilometers.

Igoumenitsa was nothing fancy, a small town which survives by being a port. People come and pass by this area but no one really stay for anything. Walking around the town it was, I think the size of three football fields. Very very small yet if you are retired and love a slow life with visitors once a while to buy your trinkets it was a nice place to be.
Walking on I passed by what seem to be another protest of some sort. The second demonstration I have seen since Athens. U-Turn was my immediate action as I didn’t wan to get caught in it. I did found a nice kebab store and finally had a nice Brunch and finally head back to the port.

Night came after long hours of waiting and idle chatter with the Gramps and Alice and finally we were on our way.

Farewell Port Igoumenitsa it’s been fun GreeceItaly was next

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