This is part one of my four-part series about my trip to Greece.
My journey to Greece started with me driving from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. because I somehow missed the ferry from Croatia to Italy. I raced against time, driving at speeds of 100-110 mph from the middle of Croatia to the middle of Italy near Ancona to catch up with a connecting ferry that I had missed, which had a direct shot over water. I, however, was at the mercy of winding streets and roadways. I still needed to locate the ferry station in order to purchase my ticket once I reached the dock, and this is where I begin the story of my journey to Greece.
Ancona wasn’t one of my planned destinations, and I didn’t intend on meeting anyone there. After wandering the dock for over an hour, I succumbed to the fact that I was lost. I drove around for a bit looking for a place to park, hoping to have better luck locating the ferry station on foot. Eventually I stumbled across a few African men who later told me that they had relocated to this port city in order to create a better life for themselves. They were gathered around in conversation, preparing for their morning shift, when I approached them and asked if they happened to speak any English. Luckily, they did. So I proceeded to ask them if they knew the location of the ferry station.
They all looked at each other and briefly spoke amongst themselves in their native language before one of them replied, “Here, my friend will help you find the station.” I responded with a huge sigh of relief, “Wow, thanks,” and just like that—we were off.
Speaking in Italian, the man asked a few people for directions until finally, two hours later, someone was able to actually help us out. Yes, you heard me correctly. It took us over two hours just to find this crazy building, which didn’t open until sometime around 10:30-11:00 a.m. I thanked the man for his time and offered him some money for his assistance, but he humbly refused and walked back over to his friends.
Well, after purchasing my ticket, I went back to find the man who had helped me so I could give him $100 USD. This man had spent at least two hours of his day walking around for several miles in search of something that had absolutely no benefit to him, and even though I had no idea what time he was due at work, there was no mistake that those two hours could have easily made him late. I also knew that he had relocated to this city in hopes of finding work and creating a better life for himself, so I was determined to pay him for his time.
When I found him, he refused my offer twice, stating, “Friend, we are all brothers here, and you are from our place so we help you.” Honestly, his words deeply touched me. Here he was, in need of money, and yet still willing to do for others without asking for anything in return. My only response was a heartfelt “thank you” as I placed the money in his lap and politely asked him to stop refusing my gesture of gratitude.
No lie, my entire trip was full of favor. Whenever you’re traveling solo, just remember that you’re never totally alone. The world is home to us all, so just think of it as visiting different rooms in your house. Now that I had taken care of business before the connecting ferry arrived, I explored the streets of Ancona and discovered a very beautiful and touching city. ❤
Read the next post in the Greece series:
Traveling to Greece (Part II): A Historical Tour in Greece
Jonathan Dryer: The Unofficial Traveler.