One of my favorite cities in Europe: Corfu, Greece (an intro.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The morning after my Euros went missing, I woke up to find a new hostelmate in my room. She was quite friendly and, after she introduced herself to me, I assumed (based on her accent) that she was Australian. I said, "Oh, I just met a group of Australians last night, they're staying down the hall." to which she sternly replied, "Oh, I'm a Kiwi." I then received a a 5-minute lesson on why you should never, ever, ever compare a Kiwi to an Aussie; how, like comparing a Canadian to an American, it is the worst of offenses. Let's all give a collective round of applause to the hostel in Brindisi, Italy, for setting me up with most terrific roommates, shall we?

I packed up my things and headed downstairs for a free breakfast (which wasn't actually that impressive, but it involved Nutella, so I loved it), during which I asked the hostel manager where the nearest ATM was. As I had no Euros on hand, I needed to make an emergency withdrawal at the nearest one, before boarding the ferry that would take me to Greece. The hostel manager told me I didn't have time to go into town, that the car was coming to pick me up for the ferry in ten minutes, but that hopefully, there'd be an ATM near the port.

The car service arrived, drove me to the port, I exited the vehicle, asked, "Do you know if there's an ATM around here?", the driver shrugged, and off he went.

Not wanting to miss my ferry, I walked across the port to the ticket office, ready to board, hoping there would be an ATM conveniently located inside. Right about then, I had one of those moments, where I stopped and looked around and thought, "What in the world am I doing?". Here I was, all alone, in the most random of Italian cities, Brindisi, about to ferry to Greece, with no money in my wallet. Luckily, I had already purchased my ticket and printed it off, but that was only somewhat soothing to my otherwise distressed soul. One source of anxiety: there were several ferries in front of me, and I had no idea which one was mine. I envisioned boarding one, falling asleep, and waking up to hear, "Welcome to Turkey!". I immediately made a mental note to double, triple, quadruple check, upon boarding, that my ferry was, in fact, destined for Greece.

I was informed at the ticket office that, sure enough, there wasn't an ATM on, or anywhere near, the port, which meant that I would not be eating for at least twelve hours. "Eh, nothing I haven't done before", I told myself (sometimes, going a day or two without food is unavoidable for a poor expat, living from one meal to the next), but still, I mentally cursed those evil hostelmates all the same -- wherever they were -- imagining them throwing my Euros up in the air and dancing around as the bills slowly floated to the ground. Don't laugh; you know that's what thieves do after they steal from innocent, unsuspecting young travelers like myself.

When I checked in at the ferry, I had to provide identification to match the name on my ticket, which I was admittedly not prepared for, since, the first rule of traveling in Italy is: there are no rules. I dug through my backpack and produced my passport and then rifled through my wallet while waiting, on the off chance that I'd find some Euros hidden in a secret pocket (not that I hadn't done this a million times the night before, hoping to discover that my stolen Euros were hidden all along). After verifying that I was, indeed, myself, I walked away from the office, ready to board a ferry that I sincerely hoped was the right one. The ticket office man yelled something in Italian and I turned around, thinking, "Ugh, what now?", only to see him waving my credit card at me. Evidently, it had fallen out of my wallet, unbeknownst to me, and this honest man had the decency to report to me, as opposed to pocketing it for himself. I wanted to kiss him right then and there, but I refrained.

I waited in line to board my ferry, where I met two German guys who turned out to be, just, the salt of the earth (read: they didn't steal from me and they told me my German was so great). Once we hit it off, I considered asking them to buy me a second breakfast, followed by lunch and dinner, but figured that might be impolite. We talked, sat together on the ferry, and before I knew it, we'd made it to Greece. (Actually, that's not true -- the ferry was long and exhausting, and the journey did not fly by in the blink of an eye, but for brevity's sake, let's say it did.)

Once we docked in Corfu, I realized the German boys were staying at my same hostel, which was no surprise since there is really only one hostel in Corfu. It's not a clean one (it's actually kind of disgusting -- you feel like you're staying in a frat house), but it's all there is, and they give you free breakfast and dinner, so it's fine. Also, it's on the beach and looks like this (see: below), which sort of negates any doubts you might have about frat house living.


Plus, on the even brighter side, I had a really great hostelmate from New York. I actually didn't get to know her that well, but I say she was great because when I suggested documenting how tan I was by taking a series of photos next to my bunk bed, she didn't think I was crazy, so I'm thinking we're soul mates?
Sophie said...

ha as if being australian is THAT bad! canadians and kiwis are just bitter of their superior cousins!

argh i remember that hideous ferry trip from italy to greece. george nearly got beaten up by some Italian for falling asleep in his seat.

Jenni Austria Germany said...

@sophie, yikes. those seats are hot commodities! it was, like, 80 euros more just for a seat...which is why i was camped out on the floor all day with my german buddies.

Stephanie said...

I'm glad to hear you met some good people after those scummy thieves stole all your money!

Alex said...

I want to go on an adventure like this. Except without losing money. But I do want to be tan like you!

Maria Larsen said...

All of your adventures sound like so much fun.

withoutizy said...

Ugh I am a new Zealanders and for us it is quite rude to be called an Australian, I would forgive you for not knowing the difference jn the accents, but to someone from NZ the AU accent is abrasive and painful to listen to. Secondly, a large majority of Australian tourists are the mane of my travel existence. Think kuta beach, Bali. Uhhhh some are alright!

Kym @ Travel Babbles said...

WOW that first photo is breathtaking!!!

Kristina said...

horrible that they stole your money... some people... really?!?! anyway, glad to hear you made it to greece and had some nice german guys with you on the ferry (did they buy you something to eat??) :)

Pretzel Thief said...

"[...] imagining them throwing my Euros up in the air and dancing around as the bills slowly floated to the ground."

Bahahahahah. GOLD!

And the tan is fab!

@withoutizy, whoooaaaa! ;-) "Abrasive and painful to listen to"? Bwah! Now, now, let's not generalise. ;-) Maybe the stereotypical nasal Aussie twang (see Queenslanders) but in Melbourne, for example -- where I'm from -- for the most part you'll find there's more of a mild accent happening. I mean, I've lived here almost 18yrs now and I've raaarely come across people with the "painful to listen to" accents. :P

As for me, personally, I immigrated to Australia from fmr Yugoslavia in July 1994 and, well, I apparently still have a noticeable Slavic accent mixed in with my non-abrasive Aussie accent. :-) Which they say is a pretty cool mix, heh heh.

Oh, and for the record, I looooove New Zealand. (The magnificent Queenstown, in particular.)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

all this talk about the aussie/kiwi accents...i honestly wouldn't know the difference with a gun to my head!? maybe i need to youtube it.

emily g. said...

I only hear accents in 2 categories: American and not American.

(and that is the most American thing I've ever posted)

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