Sunday, 11th September 2022
The end of the trip is near
So, after a record 85 consecutive days in Greece, the trip was finally ending. It’s my last full day today: tomorrow sees us catching an early flight back to the UK and heading home, back to reality.
To be able to catch our early return flight, we needed to leave Sifnos today and spend our final night back on the mainland. It had taken me quite a while to organise this – finding accommodation that was reasonably priced and conveniently located for Athens airport wasn’t straightforward. Ultimately, I settled on Vicky’s Place, a holiday rental apartment in Koropi village, just opposite the airport. For €58, it seemed reasonably priced and meant only a short journey in the morning to catch our flight home.
We’d already purchased our return ferry tickets just after arriving on Wednesday. We were keen to avoid our costly mistake of not booking the outbound tickets well in advance and having to pay extra for business class seats as they were the only ones available.
Last Sifnos Sunbathing
After a reasonable hotel breakfast at Boulis, I stopped at reception to ask if we could keep our room past the 11 a.m. check-out time but was told they needed to get in and clean, ready for some new arrivals. It didn’t matter too much: my parents were staying an extra couple of days, so instead, we packed all our luggage and moved it into their room before heading down to the beach for the last few hours of sunbathing.
Our ferry was due to depart at 12:30 p.m., so we reluctantly left my parents at the beach just after 11 and returned to their room to shower and collect our belongings. We met my parents outside Cafe Stavros and found some shade to shelter in while we waited for the ferry to arrive – there isn’t much cover down by the port itself, so I’d recommend waiting until the last minute to head down.
As Champion Jet 2 appeared on the horizon, we said goodbye to my parent, wished them a pleasant remainder of their trip, and made our way to the passengers waiting to embark. Boarding was its usual chaos, but being a veteran ferry traveller, I bypassed most of the queue, dumped my large case in the storage area and a few minutes later, we were seated and ready to go.
Back to Piraeus
We had both taken travel sickness tablets: Marion, in particular, was keen to avoid a repeat of the sickness she suffered on the way to Sifnos. I wasn’t as concerned but figured it couldn’t hurt. The crossing was relatively smooth, though, and we spent most of the journey chatting and eating Pringles.
The ferry arrived back at Piraeus, just behind schedule at 15:45. Rather than figuring out the bus schedule to Koropi or splashing for a taxi, we took the familiar option and headed to Piraeus metro station. Koropi is on the metro line, and the owner of Vicky’s Place had kindly offered to pick us up from the station, which made life much easier.
It took about an hour to reach Koropi by the time we’d walked to the metro station, got our tickets and waited for the next train. We weren’t quite sure where to wait for our pick-up, but shortly after arriving, I got a message from the owner to say her partner would be arriving soon in a black car and gave us instructions on where to wait. Sure enough, he turned up a few minutes later, and we headed to the apartment.
Koropi is a strange town: not a tourist destination, so it lacks much Greek charm, but in some ways, it was nice to see a ‘real’ Greek area and, as a result, wasn’t busy at all, especially on a Sunday evening.
Our apartment was lovely: much bigger than we needed for one night, but I wouldn’t complain about too much space! The owner gave us a quick tour, instructions on getting in and out of the building, and information on nearby amenities. We had already arranged an airport transfer with her for the morning but confirmed the details to make sure we’d be up at the right time (4:15 a.m.!)
We unpacked a few essentials and then headed out for some supplies. Having had a late lunch in Piraeus, we skipped a meal for dinner in favour of some snacks, then returned to the apartment and watched a film before bed at 9 p.m. to get a decent amount of sleep before the early alarm.