June 9 Greece to Italy (Day 256)

We had a relaxed morning, getting ready to leave Corinth by cab, train and bus to Patras to catch an overnight ferry that will take us through the Ionian Sea and up the Adriatic Sea to the boot heel of Italy! The ferry was not due to leave until 5:30pm so we had plenty of time…or so we thought! We got to the train station by cab to catch the train to Kiato where due to ongoing (years of ongoing) maintenance it is required to take a bus the one and a half hours to Patras. Unfortunately it is required to get a seat reservation on that bus! We had tried by several methods online to get said bus seat reservations, to no avail, and thought we could get them at the train station the morning of our travel. They were sold out! The next bus would not get us to Patras in time to catch our ferry! But, the ticket agent suggested we take a cab to the bus station in town and take a bus direct to Patras. So we quickly got a cab and zoomed to the bus station, got our bus tickets, found some fast food for lunch and quickly settled into our bus seats on the crowded bus!

The highway follows the north coast of the Peloponnese and as we approached Patras the Gulf of Corinth narrows and we could see the mainland across the water.

We reached the bus station in Patras and went into the ferry office nearby to get our paper tickets for the ferry and discovered that the ferry terminal is 4 km away! Too far to walk, and the hassle of getting city bus service, plus the fact that it was about 95 degrees out already, eased our decision to catch a cab! We actually got to the ferry port with 2 hours to spare! We relaxed, went through the duty free store, got some beers and found a place to sit in the cool air conditioned waiting room!

So many duty-free choices! We decided to get wine instead, probably for the best!

The announcement was made to board our ferry and go through the security check, scanning our passports and baggage, and a line formed outside in the hot sun. We chose to wait until the line dwindled down and we still had about 45 minutes to spare, to avoid the sun! We were almost the last in line and as we ran our baggage through the woman checking our tickets said “WAIT, you have to go check-in at the ticket office”. Apparently we did not get “TICKETS” at the previous ferry office by the bus station! So we had to go back in the building and stand in a short line to get our “tickets”, and also the key cards to our sleeper cabin. The ticket agent casually said “no problem, your ferry has been delayed for 2 hours, at 7pm you can go back through security”. Well, we had time for another beer, but the delay would affect our trains in Italy scheduled for tomorrow when we dock. Robert went back to the ticket window, this time in a much longer line, to ask when the ferry would dock so we could rearrange our trains then. He finally got to the window and the agent said “you will get into Ancona 2 hours later than scheduled”. Robert said “we’re not going to Ancona, we’re going to Bari”. The agent said, “GO, QUICK, NOW! Your ferry is leaving”! We RAN to the security line and they rushed us through, we were literally the very last people getting on the ferry! It’s a good thing Robert stood in line or we would have watched the ferry leave the dock! Don’t believe everything “people who should know” tell you!

As we left Patras we looked back and saw this beautiful bridge.

The Rio-Antirio Bridge, officially the Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge is a marvel of engineering. It links the towns of Rio on the Peloponnese side to Antirio on mainland Greece.

Further out in the Ionian Sea we passed this lighthouse.

Named Doukáto or Lefkatas Lighthouse, looking much better in a video in the link, located on the island of Lefkada, is about the last piece of Greece you see as you head out to the open sea!

As the sky darkened we headed for dinner before going to our cabin for a good nights sleep!

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