I had hit the two-week mark of my three-month trip travelling around Europe and I was yet to see sun. As the ferry began gliding through the Aegean Sea, and the sun began making our pale winter skin prickle, Claire and I decided it was time to change out of our jeans, we were crisping our skin on the deck of the boat before long. Greek men with large bellies surrounded us, as did the type of young, tanned, beautiful women that only exist in Europe. As it turns out, ferries are not that great. The only notable incident was when I went into the men’s toilet because I somehow thought it was unisex. The rest of the ride was spent with out eyelids dropping lower, but with no relief. Did you know it’s physically impossible to sleep on a plastic chair?
So I suppose you can understand our sheer delight when the ferry docked at the beautiful, sunny, island of Ios! We elbowed our way to the man holding the “Far Out Beach Club” sign, where we had booked, and asked him for directions. He told us to follow that group of girls around the corner and hop on the Far Out Beach Club bus. Sounds easy enough. We had to wait for about ten minutes for the driver, and in that time two things happened. First, Claire announced her opinion that no-one should wear fedoras, not realising there were two on the bus. I saw the girl in front of me surreptitiously take hers off.
The second incident was a sign of things to come. “Hey that bus over there says Far Out Beach Club.” “Oh it does too.” “What does ours say.” “Nothing I don’t think.”
Good. Fine. All is in order.
Our driver arrived, a sprightly young Kiwi lad named Josh who warmly welcomed us to the island. Judging by his sunburn I think the island had warmly welcomed him too, but he was nice and gave us some good tips on where to eat, which is always appreciated. After a harrowing bus ride, we arrived in the village, which is definitely a land locked area of Ios. The beach was, apparently, a half an hour walk away. Funny name for a place half an hour away from the beach. Still, I got my backpack onto my back, just for a visual it weighed more than eight rhinos, and we walked up and up through the tiny cobbled streets of the village. We finally reached a bubbly, vivacious American lady, who was welcoming us to Francescos! She was telling us she hoped we would enjoy our stay at Francescos! Yes. Francescos.
I slunk back into the shadows, as did Claire. We looked at each other. We both knew this would happen at some point in the trip, it just seemed a bit early and our backpacks a bit to heavy for it to be right now. I heard someone calling to us, wanting to check us in.
Ah. Okay. Claire you take this one.
“Ahem, well you see, we think we may have accidently come to the wrong place…”
“What? You’re not staying here.”
“Um, we’re at Far Out Beach Club?”
“What? Why did you get on the Francesco’s bus then.”
A very relevant question. I answered as professionally and academically as I could.
“We do stupid stuff sometimes. Plus, um, we’re girls...”
Feminist I am not, as it turns out.
Claire began explaining further when I sensed it. The wisp of a tale, the light padding of its feet.
Our first Greek cat. We had decided to keep a cat count throughout our trip. London hadn’t produced much, Krakow only a few, but I knew Greece was the place we’d really get our numbers up.
“….we were told to follow the girls…”
Claire stopped midsentence, as anyone would, to look. We high-fived, declared this cat sighting number one, then turned back to the group. The two girls with fedoras didn’t seem so offended about Claire’s earlier remark now they realised we were insane.
We got to the right hostel in the end. We hitched a ride with the manager, who made us feel better by telling us about the group of guys who had booked to stay at Far Out Beach Club but had gotten the ferry to Chios. Instead of Ios.
We took pride in knowing we were at least on the right island.