Friday, October 15, 2010

"Get in line or I am going to leave without you or your cars".

On our first trip to Greece we were exposed to many new experiences, the
Ferryboat was one of them. This was 1964, and aside from my experience with Greek rental cars, weird Opels, with gearshifts that were connected with wires -the ferryboats and the loading of cars on them was a nail biting experience.

While getting my rental car on board I was directed by a guy dressed in an old navy outfit, probably from world war one, “ella, ella, a little more”, “enough” the enough, came after I smashed into a car that was loaded just as precariously as I had been. I got out and asked a crew member what was that all about, he told me the guy had nothing to do with the ferryboat, he just liked to direct cars on to the ferry. The real crew got a big laugh at this guy’s loading technique.

Without a doubt the best ferryboat story happened in Edipso over Easter on our first trip to Greece. We wanted to leave on Monday, after Easter, but were told by my cousins that we should leave on Tuesday.

I assumed it was a sin or something to travel on the Monday after Easter. I was not about to question such an adamant suggestion.

Monday morning, my cousins go to the taverna that overlooked the port and the ferryboat slip. They started to take chairs and line them up on the terrace with the best view.

We then all went to take our places; drinks and mezedes were on the tables. My wife and I sat there not knowing what to expect, cars were lined up ready to load up, and the ferry was pulling in.
At this point all hell broke loose, the cars all moved in at once from all directions to be the first on board, crew members are trying to restore some semblance of order, no luck, cars are jockeying for position, grandmothers are being used as buffers on the newer cars, there is still lots of fender benders and fist waving, as well as screaming, with slamming doors prior to the threatening of fights. It was a great scene.

The captain of the ferry is screaming through a loud speaker, threatening to leave without any cars, he even pulled out about twenty meters to show he was serious. He stayed there for quite a while.

A little semblance of order takes place; it would be considered chaos in Germany but order in Greece. Finally they start to load the cars, the village idiot is directing traffic, so are the two cops of the town, and they seem to be doing just about the same thing, not very much. Somehow the ferry gets loaded, to the cheers of the people at the taverna, wine is drunk, we toast each other and cry out “Xristos Anesti, Christ has risen, Alithos Anesti, verily he has risen”. A new Easter experience, not very religious but a hell of a lot of fun, the villagers seem to look forward to this all year.

The ferries today are not nearly as much fun, there are no wackos directing traffic, well actually there are, but they lack the color and flamboyance of the old days.

I wonder if Monday after Easter is as much fun as it was.


  1. Thanks for ending my week on a high note. It's as if I was sitting there with you watching all this going on. A very funny story well told. Thanks again,Greg.

  2. Greg, when's the last time you took a car ferry in Greece? It's still chaos, just disquised by lining the cars up in a semi-straight