June 7, 2013
We woke up with the sun and hurried to pack up camp. There was a lot of traffic on the side road we had camped off of and we were both a little nervous about getting caught. However, once completely packed, we lingered in the ruins graveyard to make breakfast.
After breakfast, we made our way to town looking for wifi. We ended up at a small café and ordered coffee. Our options were Nescafe or “Greek coffee”. We gave the Greek stuff a try and it ended up being a two ounce glass of burnt tasting coffee sludge. While the coffee left much to be desired, we were able to use the internet and do a bit of research about the island. There were some interesting museums on the island, but they were not in the main town so we would have to ride out to see them and probably spend the night out there. We were interested in hanging out for a little while, but since any riding we did on Lesvos wouldn’t translate to any progress along our overall route, we decided to head to the mainland.
We got ferry tickets to Athens at a local travel agency for the same price as online, still pretty expensive, but at least we were headed somewhere. We stopped at the discount grocer “Lidl” and experienced a certain socioeconomic regime within the Greek population. The prices were way better than we saw in town, but the place reminded us of a combination of a Walmart and a local “supermarket”.
The rest of the afternoon we dedicated to the beach. We rolled around in the ocean, practiced floating skills (filling the lungs makes a huge difference), showered and lounged in the hammock. A number of people stopped by to chat, but they were from Bulgaria or Poland on vacation.
We boarded the ship around 5pm, and the crew tied our bikes off to the wall of the upper car deck. We were assigned deck seats which meant we could find a place to sleep anywhere. We snagged a nice looking place under an outside stairwell on the fan deck. We hung out for a while as we sailed towards Athens. At each port, the ferry picked up more people even though it was very late at night at this point.
The problem with our spot on the fan deck was that even though it was outside there wasn’t enough air circulation for it to ventilate properly and being the small sliver of the boat that was not enclosed, it became the designated smoking area. An alarming number of people chose to spend the entire night chain smoking. I have never seen so many people smoking so much in my life. The woman next to us went through at least two packs during the 11 hours of the crossing. At 3:00 in the morning there were more than 100 people smoking off the back of the boat. We resorted to moving all the ash trays to tables away from us, but people still came and sat right next to us, ashing on the ground or even accidentally on our inflatable sleeping pad. We considered moving inside, but all the good spots were already occupied so we would have been in the middle of floor next to the café. Without many options we stayed put and dealt with it.