It has been and extremely long journey to get to where I am now, the ferry to Paros (relief, happiness, yay!) and I will tell you why I'm so happy to be at this point.
My flight from Iceland went to London, if I had known I would be going to Greece right after Iceland I would have booked my flights differently. Unfortunately when I booked my flight to England I wasn't sure if I would be going to my watercolor class. The whole flight to London I was thinking about the 2 hours I had to switch flights. This would have been a different story had my flights been with the same airline but they weren't. Then my flight was half an hour late making my time between flights 1 hour and 30 minutes. I was freaking out because I had to go through customs for the UK, pick up my luggage (and hope it wasn't lost) then check in with Turkish Airlines, check my bag, go through security and find my gate. The line for border patrol was very long but I pleaded my case with a lady who worked at the airport and she brought me to the front of the line! From there everything was smooth sailing, it was a miracle! My luggage came out quickly, there was no line to check my baggage and security was quick and easy to get through, even with them pulling my bag aside to search it!
This brings be to the horrible airport purgatory part of this story. Once my flight got to Istanbul I had a 19 hour layover there...I got there at 6 PM on Friday and wasn't leaving until 1 PM on Saturday. I easily passed the first few hours by walking around the airport, checking out stores (sampling a ton of different kinds of Turkish delights!), reading, and eating. Then I attempted to sleep with little success. I kept waking up thinking I was going to be kicked out of the gate area! One time I did wake up and thought airport people were talking to me about if I needed to get on the plane that was leaving, I'm not sure if this actually happened or not since I was so tired and out of it. I ended up getting up and walking around because I was so miserable! Near meltdown mode, I found an almost completely deserted gate, found a bench at the way back where people couldn't see me and laid down. Before I knew it I had slept 5 hours! I felt so much better, got breakfast, watched a movie, read, and bam! it was time to board my flight! The Great Istanbul Purgatory of 2016 was over! I never want to spend the night at an airport again!!!
The drama continued, but only briefly before I ended up on the ferry. Once in Pireaus (the port city by Athens) a man kept hassling me about taking me where I needed to go. I insisted I knew where to go (I lied), then spent some time wandering around. Once I found my hostel I was so relieved. All I wanted was a shower and a bed, that is what kept me going for so long. You can imagine my distress when I rang the bell and the hostel and nobody answered. The door didn't unlock, people weren't walking around, nobody answered the phone and the website didn't work. I had nowhere to sleep and my phone was about to die so I might not be able to book another hostel and find it before my phone shut off. With tears in my eyes, on the verge of major panic I just sat on the steps. I tried to tell myself that this was good, the more things that go wrong, the better I know how to handle them in the future. But let's be real I wasn't buying it. Just as I was about to give up all hope, the door opened! I asked him about checking in and he brought in the lady who could help me! I have never been so relieved in my whole life! She was very kind and apologized that I had to sit out and wait for them for so long and she showed me my room. My roommate, Ruby (from England), showed me to the grocery store and a place to get delicious souvlaki! Things turned around and I was able to sleep on an actual bed instead of an airport chair! Now I am here on the ferry to Paros, I cannot wait to see the island and what my watercolor class will be like!
Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode.