The Ins and Outs of ...
Travel in Greece
This is a "flying dolphin," one of
the many types of ferries that ply the waters of Greece. It is my favorite way to get around -
- not because of its luxury - but because it has soul.
What can I help you with?
What places should you see?
Let's divide it into three pieces: Athens (of course), then the key mainland sites, and, thirdly, you should have an island experience.
More about these.
What aspects should I look for?
Ah, now you're thinking.
Your trip is more than seeing places. You want to experience a different way of life--actually enjoying dinner, absorbing the light and colors, getting into the rhythm of life, having time for a conversation or an interesting side trip.
More about these.
More tour ideas
There are so many possibilities--whatever your group's interest, I bet a specialty tour could be created.
The standard tour: Hitting all the high points.
The Arts: learn to paint or cook.
ff the beaten path - get lost in a good way.
My approach to travel
The flying dolphins are hydrofoil boats that buzz over the water at a fine pace. They are the interurbans of Greece, like
some "doodlebug" traveling the rails in rural America a generation
ago. The windows are always dirty, the noise is amazing, and the seats often sag.
But they don't require an enormous infrastructure to start and run. The crew mingles with the passengers, the pilots talk
to the cabin crew, and occasionally some very grime-smattered worker emerges
from the bowls with a huge air filter or something to put away. At each
stop you hear friends talk to each other. No one who travels to be seen
would dare be caught on one. When you travel on a flying dolphin, you are in Greece, talking to Greeks.
The dolphin is appropriate technology: fast enough but not overdone, approachable, still human scale that does not destroy the environment.
And, like steam engines and many ships they have a soul.
Ride them before they are replaced by something cold, huge and lifeless. Ride them, and stand on the little open deck or sit on the open rear fantail - if they still let you.
Feel the sun, watch the islands slide by and think about all those who have traveled these waters in the thousands of years
before you arrived. Like Jason, like the rowers of triremes, like Byzantium merchants, like pirates out for booty, you are living your adventure - but are very unlikely to be killed.
The flying dolphin is a symbol of why and how you should travel in Greece. And they are a symbol of how I like to travel. Not insulated from the local world, rather
confident in the general reasonableness and hospitality of people, more interested in the texture and details of ordinary life than in the sterile abodes of the wealthy.
Why don't you come along? You're not afraid of the adventure, are you?
A photo essay on the flying dolphins.
Last modified 22 Jan 15; posted 8/8/2000; original content © 2015, 2000 John P. Nordin