It was the last proper day of the tour today and we made our way to Corfu bus station which was like a free-for-all. People were driving the wrong way into the station then getting the whole place jammed, families were travelling with trolley loads of stuff as if they were moving house by local bus, and there was a general waft of vomit and bananas. Possibly banana vomit.
The coach itself wasn’t bad at all, and I passed the whole day long journey by sleeping, playing backgammon on my phone, eating snacks and staring out of the window daydreaming. I daydream all the time in normal life so don’t need an excuse to daydream while travelling.
When we arrived in Athens we had one short bus ride left to get to the hotel. Our tour leader warned us that the hotel was on the edge of a pretty rough area of town, and that when we get off the bus we just need to walk, follow him and keep going.
I knew we were in the right area when I looked out of the window to see a woman lying unconscious in a doorway and another woman sitting on a stationary motorbike swaying with her eyes rolling into the back of her head.
There were police everywhere, and a guy in a doorway said as we passed carrying our big bags, “Welcome to fucking Athens, the bullshit capital of the world.”
The hotel itself was really nice and had a roof terrace with a view of the Acropolis. It was really close to the centre of town, about a 2 minute walk away so we had dinner on a bustling street and I discovered that Greek yoghurt in England is absolutely nothing like real Greek yoghurt! Real Greek yoghurt was the dessert they gave us and it was divine; creamy with honey drizzled on top. Yum.
We congregated on the roof terrace for a final farewell, and the tour ended on a high. What a fantastic two weeks it’s been. I had never thought about going to Albania before I walked into the Intrepid shop in London a month or so before, but I am so glad I gave it a shot because it’s a beautiful, mountainous country with [mostly] friendly lovely people and so far almost untouched by tourism. I’ll have to return in 20 years’ time to see what’s changed.
My flight leaves early afternoon tomorrow so there won’t be time to enjoy the city, but luckily I’ve been here a couple of times before so I won’t be missing out.