Finding out I couldn’t reach Turkey after riding overnight on a boat for the sole purpose of seeing Kusadasi and Ephesus (plus talking about it nonstop for a month before): not my proudest travel moment. But, it turns out, a fairly typical moment when taking boats in Greece.
Our sea-faring adventures began with a stop at an Athens airport kiosk to buy tickets to the islands. We wanted to stay on Santorini and Samos, where we could catch the boat to Kusadasi, Turkey. We were open to suggestions for a third island stop, and ended up with a ticket to Paros because it was a convenient stop between Santorini and Samos.
With this itinerary, we took four inter-island boat trips in Greece, two of them overnight. The overnight boats were one of the most memorable parts of our trip, even though I've tried somewhat hard to forget them. Without anywhere to lie down, we tried to sleep upright, but between the lights, the waves, and the snores from strangers’ lips, it was a lost cause. On the bright side, my friends do have the residual joy of a photo of me with my athletic pants tied around my head in a last-ditch effort to sleep (note to self: next time bring a sleeping mask). When we arrived at our destinations after the overnight trips (Samos and Athens), an early check-in and a nap were essential.
Flexibility is key when using the Greek boating system. We never made it to Kusadasi because there were no boats available to fit our timetable when we arrived in Samos. But, as always, the mishap paid off. We ended up staying on Samos for two nights and really enjoyed the beautiful, ancient, and less touristy island.
Our last experience traveling Greek waters involved a transportation strike that shut down the boats, airport, trains, and subway. Our boat was one of the last ones to dock in Athens that morning, and we were only inconvenienced with having to find a taxi from the port while the rest of Athens was waking up to do the same. Not bad.