Castaways on Gilligan's ... Gilliguki's Island!
Greece, © 23.Jun.2002 kN
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Introduction to Greece
Castaways on Gilligan's ... Gilliguki's Island!
We travelled from Kuşadası (Turkey) to Samos (Greece) with a Turkish ferry, and planned to continue onto Athens (Greece) and Rome (Italy) using 2 Greek ferries, the first from Samos to Piraeus (close to Athens), and the second from Patras (Greece) to Brindisi or Bari (Italy). We had then planned to take the train from Rome to Austria. However, our plans were unexpectedly altered due to a Greek ferry strike. We were trapped on a Greek Island!

Ferry strike posters, Samos
Ferry strike posters, Samos / © gM
Everyday, we faithfully checked with the 2 ferry travel agencies and sometimes at the Port Police for an update on the day-by-day strike. We enjoyed returning to one travel agency in particular because of one travel agent's uproarious humour and drama. He lamented the strike even more than us, once throwing his arms up in the air and proclaiming that we should all just take the Turkish ferry to Turkey and spend some days on the beach. One day, we had even checked out of our room in hopes of catching the night ferry to Piraeus. No luck! We lost our room, were lucky that our landlady organized for us a stay by ourselves of 1 night in a Greek family's summer house, and then regained our original room the next day.

While we were trapped, we watched World Cup Soccer (more gM than I), went to the Internet Cafe (more I than gM), learned that the work week in Samos is ½ of Mondays/Wednesdays/Saturdays and all of Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays, went to the beach (the saltiness of the Mediterrean Sea is different than that of the Red Sea), watched horizon sunsets, ate well, and drank local wines. In contrast to the UAE, Egypt, Romania, and Turkey, we could use the water from the tap in Greece. I enjoyed the subsequent changes to our everyday lives: we brushed our teeth with water from the tap, ate salads, ate fruits without peels, and did not have to carry bottled water everywhere.

Despite our enjoyment of Samos, we had to return to Austria by June 27 2002 in order to meet friends for a sailing trip to Croatia. We had 3 choices for escape:
  • Use the Turkish ferry, buses, and trains to backtrack to Austria via our original route through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary.
  • Swim with our backpacks, which was discouraged by our favourite travel agent who recounted the tale of a Greek-Turkey ferry crossing in which he happily thought he had lost his landlady in rough seas. The Coast Guard emergency helicopters had to be sent out, and the landlady returned after a 3-hour torture ride instead of the usual 1½-hour leisure trip.
  • Fly to a destination as close to Austria as possible, and then take the train to Austria.
  • Unlike the indefinite extension of the TV Castaways' 3-hour tour, our 3-day tour of Samos was extended to 1 week. We escaped the Island by flying to Munich (Germany), and then taking the train to Austria. Obviously the clear disadvantage of Gilligan's Island to Samos was its lack of travel agencies.

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