Leaving Pefki and on to Artemida

And before I knew it my time in Pefki had come to an end. I had planned to stay for a week but as two of my compadres were leaving on Monday I decided to cut my trip short by one day and head back towards Athens with them. This is the joy of having the absolute freedom to chop and change your plans at will. There really is no feeling like it. I know that some people like all the I’s and T’s dotted and crossed before they travel. Heaven knows this is what I do day in and day out working for a travel agent, but even if you have a fixed itinerary it always pays to build in some flexibility. The last few weeks alone I’ve spent time re-arranging ferries and accommodation for clients affected by adverse weather conditions in Greece and even the odd ferry strike. You never know when you’ll have to adapt your plans. In this case, I don’t have to adapt my plans but choose to. It won’t be a problem for our hosts at the Myrtia Hotel. To be honest I think that they will be glad to see us go and to close for the season and rest.

Before I leave Pefki I have a birthday. The day was spent drinking ouzo in the bar at the front of our hotel and souvlaki later that evening along the edge of the beach. For most of this year, I’d convinced myself that I was 64 years of age. It was only when completing some kind of document that I had to work out my age and then realised that I was 63. It’s like I’ve gained an extra year of life! My very special compadre secretly arranged cake and a candle for me, accompanied by a short burst of “Happy Birthday” from the waiter. Dear ‘A’ I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your very kind thoughts! ❤️

Now – how to get back to Athens. It’s fair to say that travel information on how to get to Pefki and Northern Evia is scarce. What’s even more scarce, nigh on virtually non-existent is information on how to get back to Athens. I’ll start with how you get to Pefki from Athens – and this is for people using public transport.

Firstly you can book a ticket ‘To’ Istiaia from Athens online. I emphasise ‘To’ but more about that shortly. It costs 16€ for the one-way ticket. The bus goes from Liosion Bus Station just outside central Athens. Once at the bus station exchange your reservation for the actual ticket at the appropriate kiosk in the bus terminal – they are all labelled by destination.


For up-to-date ferry schedules between Arkitsa and Edipsos you can find them here:


Once on board the bus, you will travel for several hours to the small port of Arkitsa. Here passengers disembark the bus and purchase a 5€ ticket for the ferry to Edipsos. Once the boat arrives, you board the boat on foot and bus follows. The journey from Arkitsa to Edipsos is around 45 minutes. At Edipsos you will board the bus again for the 40 minute journey to Istiaia. From Istiaia to Pefki a taxi will cost around 15€ and takes 10-15 minutes.

To get back to Athens you would imagine that you can do everything the same but in reverse. Well, you can kind of – but not quite. My two compadres and I caught the taxi to Istiaia having calculated ample time to catch the bus bearing in mind none of us have seen sight of a bus timetable. It’s unlikely one exists from Istiaia to Athens. The only information that we could find is the departure times of the ferry. The plan was to catch the 1330 boat. Working backwards we decided that ordering a taxi for 1130 would give us ample time – which it did.

We arrived at the bus station and asked for three tickets to Athens, relieved that we’d timed it all correctly. The man who runs the bus station said “Three tickets? I have just one”. Say what? I don’t think that we fully comprehended what he had said at first. How can the bus have sold out when there are only a handful of people here? At some point, it dawned upon me that to reserve a ticket from Istiaia to Athens you have to phone the bus station for a reservation.

Just in case you ever need it – here is the number for Istiaia bus station: 00 30 2226052284

BTW if you ever want a good laugh, find and read the Tripadvisor reviews on the bus station – it’s very entertaining reading! If I can find it again I’ll post it here.

We all agreed that one of our compadres would take the last remaining ticket. I was already struggling to imagine how I would kill five hours in this small town. It would either be to get the laptop out and do some work or buy a bottle of ouzo and I was leaning towards the latter.

Soon after the bus arrived and we said goodbye to our fellow traveller who boarded the bus. More people who were obviously locals arrived just minutes before it was to depart. We went out to see off our companion and the bus station manager started waving his hand at me saying “No, no!” I don’t know whether he thought that we were going to jump the bus – my luggage was piled up by his desk anyway! Please don’t say that we’re now prisoners inside the bus station! I told him I was going to say goodbye to our friend and we went outside anyway. We fell into conversation with the bus driver who was giving the windscreen a good wash. He seemed to speak better English than the bus station manager and “A” asked him outright if there would be any spare seats or even if there were spare seats as far as Edipsos (a much more interesting place to spend time).

It seems like there may have been a remote chance that there have been some cancellations. The station manager concentrated on getting the parcels stamped and put on board the bus whilst taking payment for tickets pre-reserved by those ‘in the know! The bus driver was making to get ready and the station manager who we kept in our eye line at all times made us wait until the very last minute before telling us we could go on this bus.

He took our tickets and wrote down the seat numbers for us and Hallelujah – We’re on our way back to Athens!!! Now the rest of the journey is the same but in reverse! The boat crossing from Edipsos to Arkitsa was smooth and the bus journey back to Athens was long due to slow traffic as we approached the city. But we’ve made it.

At this point I was still undecided what to do and where to stay for the next two days before my flight in two days time. The Attalos had emailed me earlier that day to say that they didn’t have any cancellations and therefore no availability. Oh well, it was worth asking. I’d looked on Booking.com for other options but none of them were favourable in terms of location and/or price. After a bit of humming and hahing during the journey, I decided that I would stay in Artemida just several kilometres south of Rafina. I found a place on Booking.com that was fairly reasonably priced and in a good location and booked it. All I need is somewhere to hang out for a couple of days that’s close to the Airport with good wifi so that I can work. I’m sure it will be fine. We either book accommodation for our clients with overnight stays in Spata or Rafina – both good options but there isn’t much to see or do in Spata if you have more than an evening.

At Liosion bus station A and I said goodbye to our fellow traveller. We now have to try and find where the X93 bus to the airport departs from. Bus station and Bus stop are terms that are used interchangeably. It is actually a bus stop that we need and after Google maps had sent us on a merry dance we found it. After exiting Liosion bus station through the barriers, turn left onto Giousiou Street and then turn right onto Liosion and the bus stop is right there.

The X93 took us partly back the way that we’d just come – I recognised the graffiti on the hoardings along the way. Not to worry, the bus is cheap and I have time.

At Athens Airport I say goodbye to A at Departures who has an internal flight to another Greek island. My host at Momenti Felici has arranged for a transfer to the apartment for 25€. I’m told to wait by Exit no 3 by the Venetis Cafe and to look for a grey station wagon. Hmm doesn’t much sound like an authorised taxi but I’ll go with the flow.

Dimitri the driver arrives promptly. It’s a crazy ride to the apartment. Dimitris drives the 5km or so along the highway exiting the airport. He’s a chatty guy and one that likes to talk with his hands. He explains how tired he is by miming falling asleep at the wheel – literally both arms folded across the wheel with his head resting on them. I don’t know what speed he is going but he is driving ‘fast!’.

As we reach Artemida, he points out a good souvlaki shop that will apparently deliver to the apartment. The car pulls up in a narrow street between two blocks of apartments. The key to the apartment is in a key safe by the front door to which Dimitris has the code. He told me that the apartment was upstairs and that if I needed another transfer to the airport to arrange it through my host Dia. Before I knew it he had gone.

What Dimitris didn’t tell me or what wasn’t clear on Booking.com is that the apartments were up x 2 sets of twenty spiral stairs. I make another note to myself to pack more efficiently next time. I’ll have to see what I can offload as I go along. I take up my hand luggage first and put it inside the apartment before returning to heave the case one step at a time. Jesus, I’ll need a drink after this!

This two-bedroomed apartment is spacious and more than adequate for a two-day stay. Momenti Felici is newly refurbished and well-located for the beach and tavernas. Every room has a balcony or terrace, one even with a bit of a sea view. But those stairs!

I have just two nights here so there is no point in unpacking. I only remove the packing cubes that I’ll need – crucial island-hopping accessories. It is already evening and I’m starving so I head out to scout out a nearby eatery. I can see that the beach is just 20 metres from the apartment. Back in the opposite direction is the main shopping street. Here you can find almost every type of shop that a thriving neighbourhood would need. It feels like the type of street that you’d find in any regular Greek neighbourhood. Although lacking a certain sense of charm, it does have the feeling of familiarity.

I chose Artemis Grill House on the main high street. It’s the one that Dimitris recommended. The souvlaki is really good and does the trick in satisfying my hunger. I take a stroll along the promenade before hitting the hay. What a day!

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