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Ferry Limnos Express from Thessaloniki to Lesvos

Limnos Express, Thessaloniki to MytiliniIts 7:30 in the morning and we are somewhere between Limnos and Lesvos. I think. I am not sure because I don't know if the ferry stopped in Limnos because if it did I slept through it which is rare for me. Usually on the ferry I wake up when the engine stops just like I would if I was sleeping on a plane and the engine stopped, though with less a sense of danger and more of curiosity. I actually wanted to see what Limnos looked like and maybe I will still get the chance if we have not stopped there yet but that seems unlikely since we are due to arrive in Lesvos at 8am. Lesvos is nowhere in sight though and my phone tells me that I am within the Turkish network so my brand new COSMOTE Internet-on-the-go mobile connection does not even work. Actually I am just assuming that's why it doesn't work because I just set it up and maybe I did  something wrong though besides agree to the terms and click next I don't see what I could have done wrong. But I can't get online and I am hoping the lack of signal is the problem. As to our location I would ask the young guy at the coffee bar who has restored my faith in the Greek service industry, first by putting my beer on ice last night because it was not cold, and today for bringing me coffee without asking after I had asked before and the machine was not working. The problem is Andrea was asking him about the journey last night and he did not even know where we were going and I don't want to embarrass him again. I guess it does not matter where we are because I will recognize Lesvos when I see it. But right now there is nothing to see. Not an island in sight and the sea is flat with tiny ripples. Its a heat wave that started yesterday and will hopefully end today but I can't get on-line to see the weather and the Greek news on TV showed happy sun faces with the temperature at 40c which is about 108 or something like that.

We barely noticed the heat while we were on land. We were driving from Sithonia in the Halkidiki Peninsula to Thessaloniki to catch the ferry and much of the way we did not even need the Vitara's AC. Once we got to Thessaloniki though the temperature shot up and we rolled up the windows and spent the rest of the trip in our cool little biosphere. We made a couple stops on the outskirts of Thessaloniki where they have built those kind of mega shopping centers like they have in the states. The one we went to had an IKEA which we did not need, and a Kotsobolos, which is a Greek version of Best Buy, and another big electronics store that had the exact same stuff as Kotsobolos, right next door so they can drive each other out of business. While they were fun to wander around in after spending the last week in the wilds of the Greek mainland, neither had the new COSMOTE Internet-on-the-go even though the brochure advertised that we could get it at Kotsobolos. We drove  around these tiny dirt roads in the industrial park wilderness, never knowing exactly where we were but having the massive highway nearby which we could always get on and start over again. I knew they had it at Germanos Electronics and when we saw a sign for it we thought our search was over but we ended up in their corporate offices. A nice guy in a tie told us there was a Germanos in the giant mall called Mediterranean Cosmos which we had passed and even driven through the parking lot, unable to figure out what it was. Andrea thought it was a giant ice-skating rink. I assumed it was a mall because it had a multiplex theater and some signs for shops but the parking lots were set up so that you could not circle the entire mall and we made several wrong turns that brought us back to the same lot. Even when we returned there after the Germanos offices we ended up in the same lot and had to walk a mile through the mall to find the Germanos next to this giant international supermarket. It took about half an hour to fill out the paperwork to get the new COSMOTE Internet-on-the-go because it is a monthly plan and they needed Andrea's ID card, her tax ID number and we had to call her lawyer to ask which tax office in Kypseli she was registered in. The girl helping us was terrific and made the tech guys at Best Buy seem like baggers at the local Harris Teeter Supermarket. I don't know how they can be so patient. When we came into the store there was a Bulgarian couple talking with one of the employees about which 20 euro phone was better and when we left they were still arguing about it between themselves.

From the mall we drove into Thessaloniki, no easy task with the main street of K Karmanlis (named after the Uncle, not the current Prime Minister I assume) and Egnatia Ave under construction for the new metro but after one mistake we made it to gate 6 where the ferries leave from and got on line with the 2 dozen cars that were taking the journey with us. Andrea got out and took the stairs while I drove into the hell of the ships garage where there was a guy with glasses screaming at everybody to hurry, making everyone nervous. They sent us all the way to the front of the ship where another of the ships crew was madly pressing this button which was supposed to make a giant steel ramp come down on one side which we were supposed to drive up to the next level, only it was not working. It made me a little nervous because there was an identical ramp on the other side which my car was directly underneath and I could imagine him pushing the wrong button and being crushed. But he eventually got it working and I drove up with the other cars and parked like a can of sardines with about enough space between us so that a skinny person could slide sideways and get to the stairs that led out of the garage.

tangled anchor on ferry limnos express in ThessalonikiAndrea was waiting at the reception desk where we gave them our tickets and they sent a porter with us to show us our cabin. He struggled with the key for about 5 minutes, not a good sign, in fact a very bad one because we were never able to open it again once he let us in. Every time we left the cabin we had to go back to the reception so the porter could struggle with the door. They were new locks he explained and the keys had not adapted to them yet, whatever that means. The problem was that the air-conditioning in the cabin was so weak that we were much more comfortable in the first class lounge and yet we did not want to leave the cabin in fear that we would never get back in. In the meantime it was taking forever to leave and we seemed to be sitting in the harbor about fifty feet from the dock. Our anchor had become snared with the anchor of the ferry Daliana next to us and the whole crew was on the front deck with ropes and raising the anchor chain up and down trying to separate them. It took about an hour but eventually we escaped. When one of the crew members walked past me I congratulated him on a job well done. He spoke to me in English. "No it wasn't. They are idiots on this ship, all yelling at each other and giving orders. We should have been out of here in five minutes. I have been on the ships since 1969 and I have been to over 100 countries and have been a captain and done every job on the ships. I took a break but I needed to get back to the sea but this is the only job available now. Its my first time working on a ferry, but never again."

limnos expressI found Andrea in the lounge drinking wine and there was a menu on the table advertising the diverse menu in the ship's cafeteria. Yum. I want the spaghetti carbonara, or maybe the special pizza or the American cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and French fries like in the picture. It was hard to choose, everything looked so good. Even the green salad with croutons and grilled chicken. But when we got to the self service cafeteria it was the usual baked chicken, stuffed tomatoes, roast beef, spaghetti with tomato sauce, Greek salad and sadziki. I had the chicken. It was awful. There were these three young girls in cowboy hats that matched their outfits who looked and acted like they were raised by Greek MTV,  flirting with all the guys in the cafeteria. The girls were cute but obnoxious and very loud and all talked in high-pitched affected voices, with every movement they made exaggerated. It was like they were on acid or it was like I was on acid. I don't know which.

The cabin had not cooled down and when the porter had to let us in again we asked for another since this ship is virtually empty. They said they would turn it up instead. I don't know if they did but the metal cover of the vent started to fall off in the middle of the night and I had to take it all the way off so it would not fall on my head. I am sure they will think I ripped it out because I was mad at it. I took another shower and felt a little cooler and eventually fell asleep and had wonderful dreams. The problem with the shower, even though it was refreshingly cold, after a minute or so the drain backs up so anything that went down comes out again and I did not even want to imagine what it was. I had to brush my teeth with brown water, but at least there were no bedbugs like the Theophilos. At 7am I woke up and had to decide what would I rather do, lay around naked in a hot cabin or get dressed and go to the beautiful air-conditioned lounge and have a coffee.

So we have been to Limnos because we just passed Molyvos where I could see the castle and Eftalou where I could see the baths. We should be in Mytilini in about an hour. I just need to go downstairs and squeeze my way to the car and wait and hopefully the ramp will go down and I can get off the boat.

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