Ever since a friend back 1992 told me that Leonard Cohen had dropped out of society and gone to live in caves with a bunch of Greek hippies – I’ve had fantasies about sailing around Greece, checking out the wonderful islands, indulging in the amazing Greek cuisine, and just getting away from it all. Holidays in Greece, just a dream, right?
I think a Greek Sailing Adventure could well have been the reason why I was so drawn to the Mediterranean in the first place but it seemed like I was all over the place and all around Greece without actually being there.
I lived on the other side of the Aegean in Izmir, Turkey. I swam in the Moroccan, Italian, Spanish, and Turkish Med but always I had this idea of sailing sailing sailing in Greece. The problem was part monetary and part mental. I’d gotten it stuck in my head that only rich guys get to go sailing and as far as living in caves…those islands and (I was thinking) all of Greece were so developed and monetized that the kind of cool adventure I was thinking of could never exist in anything but dreams. Maybe, in some ways, I was right but also – I was definitely wrong.
My friend Graham who runs a guesthouse in Fez bought a share in a Greek sailboat a few months ago and he invited some close friends to come out and sail with him during the end of the summer season. The only problem was that they only were staying half the time and as a new sailor, he wasn’t entirely comfortable manning the yacht solo – lucky for me, he mentioned he needed crew and even luckier, when I told my wife about it she said that I should take the opportunity to go for two weeks even though we have a new baby who was only about six weeks old. Since she has her whole family here, she assured me that she would be fine and so…off I went!
While I wasn’t able to get the ultra low fares from Morocco to Greece that I got on the way back ($16 US dollars from Volos, Greece to Bergamo, Italy and $16 from Bergamo to Tangier, Morocco and then $18 from Tangier to Fez by Train!!!) Even with last minute fares, I was still able to get to Greece for a relatively cheap amount and since I would be sleeping and often eating on board – the cost was worth it. I went with Ryan Air from Fez to Girona, Spain for about $125, then from Girona to Milan for about $80, and another $100 or so from Milan to Volos, Greece. So all together round trip from Fez to Volos with stops in Milan and Girona ran me about $355 US dollars!
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It’s things like RyanAir, WizzAir, AirArabia, Jet4You and other budget airlines that make me very hesitant to ever return to the USA where even a flight from one state to another will cost you more than it costs me to visit five countries.
So anyway. There I was. A not rich guy on the way to sail in Greece. Who says you have to be rich to lead a rich life?
More coming soon- Next up is Girona and my night in the Bergamo Airport!