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2017 Greek Island Swim - Blog 4

Our second day in Athens required an early start. Our Travel Agent Deb instructed the group to assemble at reception at 6:00am to check out and board a fleet of taxis to take us to the Bus Terminal. We arrived downstairs at 6:00 on-the-dot to discover, except for Glenda, everyone had already left, as the Taxis had arrived early and were blocking all traffic in the street. We jumped in the last of the Taxis for the short ride. Another interesting fact about Athens is that all taxi drivers are ex- Formula 1 drivers, who save tyre wear by going round corners on only two wheels. At the Bus Terminal we all caught up and shared stories of our adventures from the night before. Travelling with a group you start to recognize that nearly every person brings a set of skills, which, when combined all together, makes travelling in a group like a well oiled machine and a far more pleasurable experience.

Wayne's unique skill is not giving directions! The directions he gave everyone on where to meet for dinner last night bore little or no resemblance to where his group went for dinner. This meant nearly everyone else walked at least 5kms scouring central Athens trying to find them (Jim extended his PB reaching 25km). Eventually, everyone gave into fatigue and starvation, settling to eat at random establishments .

Deb's unique skills are a cheery, happy, bubbly personality and tardiness! At the risk of being accused at making an early call, there appears to be pattern forming. Let's see: she was not ready for the pickup when we left Mandra, missing for boarding the plane in Dubai, last to have a strategic wee at bus terminus toilets and board the bus! Mmmm... definite pattern forming!! By way of explanation, the bus trip to Lefkada is 6 hours and as all Mannas know a strategic wee is compulsory before going to or coming from Perth, except this trip is 6 times longer.

On the other hand Steve and Jen weren't late, as during the night while searching in the dark for a clock to check the time Steve managed to knock over the bedside table thereby tipping a full glass of water over Jen and negating the need for her to shower in the morning before departing. A good plan but pity it was 3:00am causing Jen and the bed to remain wet for another 2 hours!

Public toilets in Athens are very efficiently run with very little waste, in that you purchase a modest length of toilet paper from an attendant before entering. I would recommend a BYO strategy if a visit might involve a more expansive lavatorial experience.

The bus trip was most enjoyable travelling along modern but relatively empty motorways through very hilly dry terrain spasmodically dotted with small villages and the occasional larger town. Once we turned off the motorways progress slowed as we wound our way along narrower less maintained roads. The effects of Greece’s economic downturn are more tangible away from the tourist centre of Athens with partially completed roads and more modest dwellings, almost an abandoned feel in some places.

We arrived in Lefkada too early to check in to our hotel, so off for coffee and lunch at a cafe on the yacht harbour foreshore. Lefkada is a yachties dream stopover, with safe mooring alongside classic cafes that serve good Greek food at reasonable prices. It was at one of these establishments that VP Steve managed to disgrace himself but gesticulating his conversation with an unexpected flair, well unexpected for the waitress whose tray of drinks was sent flying!!

The Greek Team

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