Tag Archives: ferry

Aegina

On my last day in Greece I wanted to see another island. K had to work, so I got up early so I could catch a ferry to Aegina. It’s only little more than an hour away from Athens, and it happens to be known for its pistachios (which I love).

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The Acropolis in the morning.

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It took me a while to find the right ferry, but I found it eventually.

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I used to live in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m used to ferries. But not like this. This is pretty nice – the cafe made your food (or in my case, coffee) to order.

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Leaving Athens behind.

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The main town on Aegina.

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Leaving the ferry.

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I guess freedom is closed.

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Look at how clear that water in the harbor is. I was astonished.

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The beach is part of the town.

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Many shades of blue.

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As in the rest of Greece, there were many cats. This one found something tasty in the garbage.

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A quiet street in Aegina.

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A beautiful trellis!

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Motorbikes were everywhere. Not just on the island; in Greece generally. It makes sense given the cost of petrol, and how narrow the streets are.

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They must be wealthy to have so much nice wood on the exterior of their home.

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A pretty street.

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Another street. On one of these I found a shop that sold me 200 ml bottles of wine for a single Euro.

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Lemons!

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Betty? What are you doing here? At a hardware store, no less?\

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Kitties above.

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Another gorgeous trellis.

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A home in disrepair.

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I found a lunch spot and wrote postcards during the afternoon. When I ventured out again, I saw this kitty.

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He climbed down when I called, and we bonded for a long while. He eventually climbed atop my shoulders and curled up for about five minutes. Eventually I lured him off and said goodbye, as I had other places to go.

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One of the high speed ferries coming in.

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I wanted to go for another long island walk, out of town and along the coast. Just to see what I could see.

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It’s not a tree. It’s a grass.

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FYI.

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This abandoned place, just outside of town…

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…has this for a view.

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A front yard of clover. I love it.

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I also saw this from time to time. A solar array and solar hot water heater.

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Pistachio trees. It’s not like there are huge pistachio fields – at least not that I saw. Instead, everyone has their little plot.

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Just a pretty view.

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Canna lilies!

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Orange drops.

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The Aegean.

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I walked south along the coast of Aegina about three and a half miles. When I turned back to catch the last ferry, the sun was setting.

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You can see other islands in the distance.

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The fading of the light.

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Shortly before this shot was taken, I passed a couple with their dog walking down their long driveway. Then they were shouting. It took me a while to figure out they were shouting for their dog to return, because it was chasing me. I brought it back to them (it was friendly) and they politely explained it was a new dog. “It must have seen something good in you,” she kindly said.

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Another island sunset.

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Frond down.

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I love it.

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Aegina town once more.

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That afternoon, some of these boats had makeshift produce racks, and folks along the quay could buy what they wanted.

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The water/electric hook-up.

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The restaurants with a view.

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Folks buying ferry tickets.

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A helpful map that not only identifies attractions, but lets you know what sort of taxi fare you should expect to pay.

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The ferry back to Athens. Halfway there I stepped out on deck. There were seabirds flying right alongside the ship, matching its speed and direction. For how long, I don’t know, but it was strange to watch.

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Ferry

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A few shots from the ferry ride over.

I had no car, but there was space if I did:

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For cars, like so many things.

The passenger area:

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People passengering.

And immigration control, where you had your passport stamped for entry into Morocco. This is near the end of the trip, at the beginning the line was much longer.

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Immigration: on the ferry!

Goodbye Europe…

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Sad wave.

…Hi, tanker…

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Oh hi

…Hello, Africa!

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Happy wave!

The gates come down!

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On our way.

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The Black Sea

Sunday, 10 July 2011

So when I was in Istanbul, I wanted to see the Black Sea. Would it actually be black? This is what I wondered. Istanbul straddles both an isthmus and a straight; the straight is called the Bosphorus, and it links the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea. When I was in Istanbul I was couchsurfing with my friend Christina, and she lived about an our from the city center, but also some distance from the Black Sea. In order to get there, some public transportation would be required – a bus ride; disembarkation at the correct stop; a 10-minute ferry ride across the Bosphorus, and a climb up to a castle on the Asian side, from which the Black Sea would reputedly be clearly visible. A challenge, certainly, but one I felt I could master.

After all, I wanted to see the blackness of the Sea.

Getting on the right bus first meant climbing down a very, very steep hill. Christina shares a flat just behind Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, which is one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey. The most direct way to get down passes through the campus; there are steep paths and stairs and cobbled streets, all winding their way steeply downward. In fact it’s so steep that it can be rather hard on the knees, but once you reach the bottom (after 15 minutes if you’re reckless), you’re beside the Bosphorus. And the Bosphorus itself is lined with fishermen, endless fishermen. If you pass by at the right time, at dusk, they may even be frying up some of their day’s catch to eat. People stroll the broad sidewalk and vendors sell corn on the cob and little cups of chai. And there you’ll find boats from all over the world – some large, some small: two-seater speedboats from as far away as Delaware, Copenhagen, and London. And there’s the Bosphorus itself, a different shade of blue each day, gently choppy, filled with massive tankers traveling back and forth from the oil fields of Central Asia, container ships, ferries, tour boats, and pleasure boats.

The bus was 25E, and it wound its way along the coastline, sometimes pulling ahead of the tanker I was keeping time with, sometimes falling behind. I got off at the right stop and started looking for the ferry I was to board. I started looking left – and that was my mistake. Because the ferry stop was just to the right, *behind* the bus stop, a few steps back toward the way we’d come. In walking to the left – further onward – it would take me another hour to reach another port of call. But along the way, this was the view:

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The Black Sea

You could do worse. When I hoped on the ferry it wasn’t like the other ferries I’d taken over to Asia; it was wooden and old, like an old steamboat. And filled with people speaking familiar languages, like English, which was also different. This is the view looking back toward Europe:

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The Bosphorus

And this was the view towards Asia, and the Castle I intended to climb:

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The Bosphorus

Meanwhile, this was the view towards the Black Sea:

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The Black Sea

Where we landed was filled with restaurants and tourist trinket shops: clearly I wasn’t the first person to wonder about the Black Sea. Up I climbed through hills so steep that my feet were often above my head. You knew you were close to the top, though, when you found restaurants again – this time with terraced views and even more expensive menus. By the time I reached the top, I was panting like a dog, sweating like a leprechaun, and looking out at this:

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The Black Sea

The Black Sea, not so black after all. In the other direction, you could see the office towers of Istanbul:

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Towards Istanbul

When I reached the bottom again, I had to wait an hour for the ferry – the real ferry, not the all-day Bosphorus tour ship that I’d accidentally hitched a ride on earlier. If I wanted to ride THAT (and I didn’t) it would cost me $10, a ferry token to cross cost about $1. So I spent my time in one of the tourist-trap restaurants, reading about budgeting and eating a delicious meal of whitefish with fresh tomato and onion and arugula. One the ferry ride over, I took one last look towards the Black Sea:

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The Black Sea

If only those two tankers would collide, maybe a part – a very small part – of the Black Sea would be black, like it’s supposed to be.

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