In Greece, always choose the ferry over the fast boat, the speed jet, the hydrofoil, the catamaran or whatever else they’re calling it.
I’ll give you my esoteric reason first: This is a journey, not a mad dash to an end point. After a year of rushing to meetings and appointments, savor the hours you’ve been given to stroll the decks of a ferry: relax in the lounge, watch the latest soccer game, get some fresh air on the top deck, watch the islands go by and keep an eye out for the dolphins that love to swim along side.
Pretend you’re on the Titanic or in a James Bond movie.
I can hear you already: ‘But the fast boat will get me there faster.’
But at what cost, I ask.
You’ll be in airport style seat, staring at the wall ahead of you the whole time. No outdoor decks, no real comfort, everything cramped. You can’t even look out the window because someone actually decided to put netting in the glass to block any view. It is a faster, smaller boat, and brother, you’ll feel it. If the sea is even slightly rocky, come armed with a case of Dramamine.
I recently escaped from the island of Folegandros by the only means available to me–the speed jet. There was one person sitting in the seat across from me when I boarded – a Greek girl wearing a pink Izod polo and cardigan. I remember this only because she was the first Greek woman I’d seen dressed in such a preppy, anglo fashion. She greeted me as I sat down, then buried herself in a book.
About 30 minutes into the trip, the turbulent seas began to take their toll. I looked around for a bathroom but none were within dashing distance, so I spread out into the seat next to me, hand to forehead.
I felt the girl across from me kick me in the legs and looked up just in time to see her go limp and drop the book she was holding. Her eyes rolled back into her head. I reached over, “Are you alright?” I asked. “Do you need some water?” I handed her my water bottle and she splashed some on her face.
Eventually she explained to me, in British-accented English, that she had passed out while reading her book. Everything went black and she was out. She took the boat often and had never had such a reaction before.
We commiserated for the next two hours, trying to distract each other from the toll the sea was taking on us. She was an interior architect, just returned from studying in England.
The going got worse, we turned various shades of green.
An incredibly friendly attendant came over and asked me if I was alright. “No. Are we almost in Amorgos, please?” She left for a few minutes and came back with vomit bags for the both of us.
“This is for an emergency, but the best thing is to take deep breaths, like this…” she demonstrated a deep cleansing yoga breath for me.
Twelve years of yoga classes and I hadn’t even thought of it.
She took another breath and I followed her lead. This must be what lamaze class is like.
“Yoga is very good to clear everything” she said pointing to her head. I nodded. She went on talking, I kept nodding, cherishing her words like a life vest.
I loved this woman for taking the time to breath with a stranger. Really loved her.
The boat kept moving, bucking, swaying…
Some time later, a young man came by to check on us as well. Who knew Greek attendants were so solicitous?
When the boat finally docked in Amorgos, the young attendant rolled my luggage off the boat for me because he could see that I was having trouble re-engaging with terra firma.
I wished the young architect good luck, thanked her for her good company, and left my water bottle with her.
Never again, fast boat, never again.
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