Here we are in the port of Patras, stuck for the next 40 hours or so as we await our ferry back to Bari, Italy. Certainly not the most attractive port, in one of Greece’s less attractive cities. So why here?
This morning we were at the small town of Diakopto, having spent the night at a free camp next to the beach. Our intent was to catch the small cog railway from Diakopto to Kalavryta, higher up in the very narrow gorge that has been a fairly recent addition to Greece’s declared National Parks. Unfortunately, our luck with the Greek railway system continues. Up bright and early for the 20 minute walk to the station, we were met with a ‘not today’ comment from the lady in the ticket office. This was an improvement from yesterday, when there was no lady in the ticket office. Still, not the ticket sale response we were looking for. After pointedly halting her conversation to a bevy of friends in the office, she informed us that tomorrow’s train was also uncertain. This mirrored our experience at Katakolo while waiting for the train to Olympis. There we had watched as the 8:30 train departed, filling us with hope that the 10:30 train would also be available. Not so, and watching the minute hand progress towards 11:00am there we had also given up.
With the wind coming up at the beach we decided that we would head off to Patras and see if we could change our booking. No luck, and with parking sites in the city looking a bit dodgy, we have decided to ignore the No Overnight Parking sign and see if we might just stay here. The walk into town was anything but inspiring. The largest Orthodox church in Greece was also not inspiring, even though a website indicates it is the major site of pilgrimage from around the world. Faux Byzantine mosaics and awful modern paintings were not enlivened by the odd church goer kissing various artefacts as they progressed around the church. Begun in 1912 and completed in 1978 (why????) it really does not inspire, by any means, as many other buildings have done.
Hmm – just been disturbed by a horde of skurmunkels running from the police, and this seems to be ongoing – lots of police and lots of migrants waiting in abandoned buildings across the road looking, I presume, to jump a truck headed for Italy. I think we are out of here!
Spent the night at a nice, quiet campsite about 20km from Patras. I think the 40km round trip is worth the effort, and makes for a restful sleep. So we are back in Patras, back on board the ferry for our 18 hour trip to Bari … and then a very hasty trip north to Switzerland.