Following the Footsteps of Paul to Corinth: Hard Travel
Sometimes travel can be hard. We have nearly accomplished our most difficult link in this journey. We left our pensione in Naples on foot, lugging our backpacks to catch the metro to the train station. There were many stairs to negotiate. Holly and I are both carrying quite a bit of weight despite our best efforts to travel light. Climbing with a backpack is tiring.
We caught our train to Casserta where we had a layover of a couple hours. The next train to Bari was tricky because there were two trains parked at that place and we did not realize that we had to walk out to the furthest train. This ride was about five hours but fairly comfortable as we had a table to ourselves for most of it. I got a little blogging done.
Bari was a challenge. We had a four hour layover there and no one spoke English. We needed to find out how to catch a bus to the boat and whether it would be better for us to hang out in town or go to the docks early. Sometimes the docks can be very industrial with nothing there to do. The question was too esoteric for anyone to understand so we hung out, stored our luggage and walked around town. We hit a MacDonald’s for coffee and ice cream, explored a bit then caught the 20/ bus to the “porto.”
The port had cruise ships, big ones! I thought, “wow, this is going to be a wonderful crossing!” Once we had our tickets we rounded the corner to see a small ferry, called the “Superfast,” run by the Attica line. The boat was full, absolutely full of people. Large groups of youth, including one from the States. Announcements were made in five languages, Greek, English, Italian, German and Turkish. There were were three levels of accommodation here. The berths or small staterooms were incredibly expensive. We opted for the next level which was called the “airplane seat.” The third level was on the deck, which means you found a place to sit or lay anywhere you could.
Before we left the dock – the party was on! They had a DJ on the top deck with a huge speaker system blasting out Pop Dance music. These kids had come to play. So had the adults. There was a tremendous amount of booze consumed, most of which they had brought on board with them. I watched one conversation between three young adult men which seemed to be about one guys ears. They were holding each other up and shouting animatedly at each other. Holly said the women’s bathroom was full of teenage girls washing their hair.
Our airplane seat was in an enclosed area with a large TV that played the World Cup games all night long. It was a padded reclining chair that was just spacious enough that you could try and get comfortable. Sleep was difficult with people coming and going and the drunken shouts of young people. Sometime in the middle of the night most of the people in our seating area, several hundred of them, began to talk loudly. Evidently the boat was stopping at some island where five hundred passengers where getting off.
When we arrived in Patra, Greece, we caught a bus to the terminal. We caught a second bus to the bus station. We caught a third bus, a two hour ride to Corinth. We stood in line for a fourth bus to ancient Corinth and discovered that we would have to link from here to a fifth bus to get us where we were going!! At that point we walked to a taxi stand nearby. 18 euros later she dropped us off at the Marinos Guesthouse. When we met the proprietress we were informed that we were at the wrong place. Remember now, we have been travelling for thirty-four hours and every time we move we are carrying heavy loads on our backs. Now we hiked for another ten minutes under a searing hot Grecian sun to reach our intended destination, the Marinis Guesthouse. Two trains, metro, overnight ferry, five buses, one taxi, several hikes and thirty-four hours later, we finally arrive at our destination.
What a journey this has been. Sometimes travel can be hard. When we read about the journeys of Paul we don’t always think about what that travel was like or what it cost him in terms of physical suffering. His circumstances were much harder than ours in every way. Have a look at 2 Corinthians 11:25-27 and you will see what I mean. Paul endured it all for the sake of the gospel.
“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10)
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