Off to Italy with cool exchange students and a psycho terrier

One ferry down, two to go.

We’re in Chios, Greece, killing time at a restaurant while waiting for our next ferry, an overnighter that leaves around midnight and will deposit us tomorrow morning just outside of Athens.
I wish we could just sleep in the camper below decks, but that’s not allowed.

Instead we’re bringing our sleeping bags so we can stretch out on the floor (it’s inside) and get some sleep. Scout is totally psyched. I’m ambivalent. I don’t mind sleeping on the floor, but the last overnight ferry we took was totally packed, with people sleeping awkwardly in chairs and sprawled out in the brightly lit public areas. We were lucky to get seats. So I’ll feel better once we’ve actually claimed an out-of-the-way space and unrolled our bags. Also Archie will have to stay in a kennel down by the cars, so I’m worried about that.

This morning’s ferry was laughably tiny, just big enough for our camper, but it did the job, getting us from Turkey to Greece in about 45 minutes. Our camper took up their entire vehicle space.

 

On board we met three rotary exchange students, one from Mexico and two from the US, all of whom are on a year-long school exchange in Turkey. We chatted with them for a long time and really enjoyed hearing about their experiences. If it were up to me, I’d make foreign-language exchange compulsory for all high-schoolers. These kids were fantastic; I’m glad Scout got to spend some time with them and listen to their stories.

 

When we reached Chios, we had some drama at the border. The guard—a real stickler—who checked our rig asked for Archie’s paperwork. That was the first time anyone has asked to see it since we boarded the plane in Vancouver.

Well fine, I thought, no problem. Everything’s in order. But the guard mistakenly thought Archie needed a Pet Passport, which was wrong, wrong, wrong. As a non-EU dog, Archie was required to have an EU Health Certificate. NOT a Pet Passport. It took me a couple of minutes to convince the fellow I was right about the paperwork. Actually I don’t think I did convince him, but eventually he got tired of arguing about it.

Then, since the Health Certificate doesn’t include a photo, he demanded proof that Archie was the correct dog for the paperwork.

He motioned for Mark (who was in the rig) to show him Archie’s tattoo number by pressing the dog’s ear against the window. Oh, bad idea, Mr. Irrationally Suspicious Border Guard. Bad, bad idea.

Mark tried, bless him. But Archie, a terrier with an authority problem who resents being manhandled, flipped out.

Pressing his ear against the window was like pulling the pin from a live grenade. Archie went insane. He jumped and writhed in Mark’s hand’s like a fresh-caught salmon. A growling, biting, snarling, murderous salmon. He lunged at the window and tried to attack the guard through the glass..

I was standing outside, so I saw the whole thing from the guard’s perspective. Damn, my dog is crazy! I resisted the urge to laugh, instead concentrating on appearing shocked.

We were getting nowhere with the pressing-the-psycho-dog’s-tattooed-ear-in-the-window thing, so I offered to bring Archie out of the camper for a closer inspection. The horrified guard stepped back, declined my generous offer and waved us out of there, not even bothering to check the inside of the rig.

Good dog! Archie 1. Greece, 0.

In case I’ve given a wrong impression, I should clarify that Archie isn’t a vicious dog. He doesn’t bite, but he puts on a damn good show. Like all terriers, he’s extremely opinionated.

Anyway, we spent the rest of the day parked out by the sea, reorganizing our camper, reading books and prepping for our ferry marathon to Italy.

The restaurant seems to be closing, so I’d better log off. Bye for now!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Clélie January 23, 2012 at 3:21 am

Yay, Archie!

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2 Kirk January 23, 2012 at 4:56 am

Sometimes the dog with the biggest bark wins the day….

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3 Mark February 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

Archie’s bark is not always the biggest, but it can make an impression. He earned his keep on this day.

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4 Turkey's For Life January 23, 2012 at 7:19 am

Quite odd (but better!) to read your continuing travel stories now we’ve met you. Love that the Greek officer forgot to check out your van. Good on Archie! 🙂 Safe travels.
Julia
Turkey’s For Life recently posted..Istanbul – A View From Galata BridgeMy Profile

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5 Mark February 10, 2012 at 11:31 am

Yes. Archie took care of border business for us. He knew just what to do. Ha! We enjoyed getting to know you guys and will be pointing any Turkish-bound travelers to Turkey’s For Life.

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6 Connie January 23, 2012 at 8:31 am

Marvellous post! it’s all so exciting for you! I will continue to follow your travels – although ‘all things Fethiye’ was my initial interest. We love it there but it was so good to read about it from a very different and fresh perspective. I feel as if I’m on your adventure with you! Good luck!!

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7 Mark February 16, 2012 at 8:24 am

Thanks, Connie. Our journey has taken us across Europe and Turkey (so far) and Fethiye is dear to our heart as well. A wonderful place to live and I look forward to going back. I need to see what it’s like in the summertime. Thanks for following us.

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8 Wilma February 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I’m ready for another post. I’ve missed your adventures. Hope all of you are okay.
Wilma in WV

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9 Renee February 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Wilma! You’re kind to check in. I’m literally at my first decent internet for a month and am using the opportunity to put up a quick month-in-review post. We’re doing fine (thank you), but have had lots of adventures this month. Details to come… 🙂

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