Lately, I seem to be moving around almost as much as the bus itself – and even longer distances.
Yesterday at the office, I was trying to call three people simultaneously to book hotel and car on Rhodes and get in touch with the people I was about to film there – while telling everyone who wanted to hear and also those who didn’t that I had to get the ferry in 3 hours time.
Bus driver Pavlos, thoroughly unimpressed by the hectic attitude of yours truly, offered he would take me to Rhodes by bus if needed. At the time, I thought it was a pretty lame joke. But when all logistics had worked out fine and I was ready to travel, I realised that this is one of the things I love most about Greece: the fact that somehow things always work out (as silly as they might sound in the beginning).
No, Pavlos did not have to make the bus inflatable and travel across the water. There were boats enough, actually more than enough (see image).
The tricky thing was the return journey today: it is not recommended to leave a location approximately 20 minutes too late, to realise mid-way that you still have to refill the petrol tank of the rented car and not have cash on you while you also have to drive for about 15 minutes to reach the harbour – approximately 16 minutes before scheduled ferry departure.
The fact that I am writing this on the ferry from Rhodes to Tilos proves that while it is not recommended, it can still be done.
The first petrol station didn’t take credit cards – but recommended the one “after the street lights” which did.
At the second petrol station, one employee handled the refill while his colleague took my card. Promptly, the paper roll reached its end. This was about 14 minutes before departure.
The roll was replaced and my payment had gone through, and instead of telling me off for being so late, I was escorted to the car and my door held open.
About 10 minutes before departure, my phone rang. The girl from the rental agency did not say: “Where is the car you were supposed to drop off 20 minutes ago?” but: “Kyria Sibylle, you will miss your boat.” “I knoooow!”, I said. She said: “I’m waiting for you in front of the office. Just pick me up, and we will drive you straight to the ferry.” – So we did.
Driving through the harbour I confessed I had refilled too little, unwittingly, and… “No problem!”, she said. “When you come back and need a car, book from us!” I sincerely promised I would.
We reached the port as the ropes were untied. The girl jumped out and shouted: “Here is another passenger!”
Three men held on to the loose rope to keep F/B Diagoras in place while the girl and I collected my luggage (4 bags plus the tripod) from the boot. I was ready to kiss her goodbye at this stage but she said I should hurry – and I hastened up the ramp – where a collection of seamen plus the local transport entrepreneur – who accidentally was one of the persons I had filmed for the last 2 days – welcomed me with a big grin and said: “You have clearly adopted the Greek time system.”
Did I mention I didn’t have a ticket either? Which was no problem since I got one at the boat’s reception.
Did I also mention that while I was racing across Northern Rhodes, the busy mother of three whom I had filmed – the wife of the local transport entrepreneur – not only phoned her husband to buy my ticket – in vain, alas, but still – and had also packed a food packet for me on which I feasted on the ferry? (And the woman has three toddlers to look after!)
I have heard several times lately that people from Germany or “the North” in general are afraid to travel to Greece this year because things might not work out and your travel might be difficult…
I wouldn’t know what they are talking about.
PS: If you happen to travel to Rhodes and want to rent a car, go to Alexander Cars. Their service is quite outstanding.