I am a meticulous planner and when it comes to trip planning all is laid out in charts and diagrams and self-made calendars months before we depart. I have friends that recoil at this sensibility because their joy is derived from cobbling together a flight and hotel to Italy in two days, but that’s not me. Half of travel pleasure is figuring out where to go and the other half is the research that goes into making what I think will be the perfect trip.
We debated and volleyed between Cyprus and Greece, and the Dodecanese Islands in Greece topped out. I scavenged my saved travel archives and bought books and read articles online and figured out the islands to visit and the ferry schedules to get there, taking into account beaches and weather and UNESCO World Heritage sights, and in June, three months before we left, I presented the itinerary to Steve:
*JFK to Athens; two-plus days to check out the Acropolis, the museums, Hadrian’s Arch and the Plaka.
*Onto an early morning hour flight to Rhodes to see Old Town and Byzantine fortifications and Anthony Quinn’s beach:.
*Board a ferry to Symi on Sept 26; a ferry to Kalymnos on Oct 1 (for my birthday); a ferry to Kos on Oct 3; and a short flight from Kos to Athens on October 7 and from Athens to JFK on October 8.
Seamless travel! Well-organized by a paramount control freak. And so it was — until the Dodecanese Seaways ferry broke down and we couldn’t seem to get off the island of Symi.
But when you have soaked it up and know that you need to get to the next island, the best laid plans become a minor mockery.
As we became friends with the booking agents at Symi Tours, we found out on Saturday evening, October 1, that there was no possible way to get to Kalymnos at all, but there would be a ferry from Symi to Kos at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, October 3. Although we were disappointed Kalymnos would be crossed off the danced card, we sallied off to dinner knowing we had one more day in paradise and would still be able to get to Kos Monday morning after a 50-minute ferry ride.
But ferries that run aground have their own schedule because when we went to buy our ticket the next day we learned the ferry from Symi to Kos was the same one as the ferry from Symi to Kalymnos and it was not repaired, and so it was impossible to get to Kos from Symi.
The only way we could move on was to return to Rhodes on the 7 a.m. ferry, arriving at the port at 8:30 and thereafter departing from Rhodes at 4:10 for the five-hour trip to Kos. Oh, and there was no storage at the port in Rhodes, so if we wanted to walkabout the walled fortifications of Old Town Rhodes, we’d be carting 22 kilos of luggage each:
Hmmm. Not quite what we had in mind.
We went into strategic planning mode. Should we rent a car and drive around? Should we contact our prior hotel and beg to store our luggage for a few hours or should we simply rent a cheap room by the port? Steve found a great deal at City Hotel Venus and there we parked the bags … … and off we went to explore the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, housed in a 15th century hospice and housing artifacts dating from 1500BC. It is a wonderful place to wander between ferry arrivals and departures. Add in some fresh grilled fish and octopus and it turned out to be a mighty fine day as we boarded out ferry to Kos:
And of course I woke up the next day in Kos and stared out to sea, there was the Dodecanese Pride Superfast ferry back in action. I watched it pull out of the port in Kos. C’est la …