Following our adventure to Mykonos, Jorge and I began the next leg of the journey. Since Jorge had some extra time before beginning his Masters program in Spain, we decided to spend a little extra time together while we still could and the most economical and sensible way for us to do that was for me to travel to Spain with him.
While I have traveled to Spain previously and set out to visit new places during this trip, I absolutely loved my last visit to Spain and was elated at the thought of going back. A return visit meant so many different things to me: seeing places I already knew I loved, an opportunity to discover cities I haven’t visited before, an opportunity to see Jorge’s family and friends in person again, another chance to order arroz negro, the benefit of having a native person guiding you through their own turf, and of course, more time together. I was all about it!
Leaving Mykonos was perhaps the most difficult part of our visit to the island. I don’t mean that in the emotional sense, although the sadness of our getaway coming to an end was quite strong as well. Figuring out how to leave Mykonos was SO confusing. It really felt like we were going to have to spend another night on the island. We took a water taxi from Little Venice, Mykonos to the Old Port – as opposed to the New Port where we arrived with SEAJETS – because that is where the Hellenic Seaways ferry would be docking. Once we got there, we felt like it was incredibly unclear how to find the check-in kiosk for Hellenic Seaways. Even though we left extra early just to make sure nothing went wrong, we still got lost and began to fret we would actually miss our ferry back to Athens.
We searched and searched for the Hellenic Seaways kiosk. It was necessary to visit it because they produce and print your entry boarding passes at that time. You can’t get them any other way. We actually gave up trying to find the kiosk ourselves. Thankfully, Jorge had a working phone in Mykonos (operational but with premium rates) so we were able to make a quick call to the agency to ask for guidance. They helped out immensely. We were nowhere near where we should have been.
Sailing with Hellenic Seaways was a totally different experience than sailing with Seajets. The boarding process was utter chaos. I’m not exaggerating. There was no one on staff to help guide the HOARDS of people searching for their seats. To be honest, I’m not sure if there even were assigned seats. I’m semi-convinced there weren’t. It was far too disorganized for that to have been a possibility. People were stampeding to different levels, indoor and outdoor areas, navigating to different rooms. Judging from the chaos that ensued, I think it was every man for him/herself. This was the most CONFUSING boat I’ve ever been on. Jorge and I scanned our boarding passed FOR ANY SIGN OF WHERE WE SHOULD SIT but we could not find even the slightest indication. To be fair, it probably was there but the ticket was in Greek so neither of us could decipher it.
Even if we had a room or a seat to look for, it isn’t like we could have found it with the mayhem that engulfed us. There’s just no way that would have happened. The hallways were pure chaos and we had no idea AT ALL where we were. God forbid of an emergency, we would have been royally screwed. The map in the hallway had so much information on it that you couldn’t make sense of it in passing. In the midst of this chaos, people were curled up on the floor sleeping. Everything about it was weird.
After a bunch of random left turns and right turns, I think we finally found the Unicorn Room. Or was it was the Rainbow Room? I don’t remember its exact name. I only remember thinking it sounded like a gay-friendly space so that was where we planted our flags. I hoped the name was somehow indicative that we could blend in and go unnoticed after having taken two random seats that most definitely did not belong to us. We found two spots that were still vacant and placed our stuff there. We kept to ourselves during the voyage and crossed our fingers that no one would walk by, stop, and say the dreaded lines, “Sorry but I believe these seats are ours.”
It never happened. We sailed undisturbed all the way from Mykonos back to Athens. Even with a few pit stops along the way at other islands where more passengers both entered and exited the ferry no one ever came. It was truly a blessing from the Rainbow Unicorn. He was looking after us. Or everyone else was equally as confused.
Once we made it back to Athens, it was time to bid farewell to a country I came to adore. Together, we hailed a cab and set off for the airport. We flew direct (thank goodness) to Spain. Traveling all day can be exhausting. I was so relieved to have the quickest route route by air possible. Our destination was Madrid International Airport.