Onboard MV Alios
It seems the routes available to overlanders grow less numerous every year as political instability and violence continue to creep across Africa and The Middle East. Years ago it was safe enough to travel overland through Jordan and Syria to reach Turkey, now that is no longer a possibility. Initially I had planned to take a ferry from Israel to Turkey, but that line had folded while I was in Kenya, and after a lot of searching online I found a weekly commercial truck carrier traveling from Haifa to Lavrio, in Greece, The MV Alios, based out of Cyprus.
In early November I left Tel Aviv for the last time, which was very difficult, and headed up the coast to Haifa and the office of A Rosenfeld Shipping to organise passage to Europe. The ship left that night, stopping in Cyprus the next morning before continuing on to Greece two days later.
The ship was huge and eerily quiet. I didn’t often see other people except at meal times. I had a small cabin to myself, which was nice enough. The ship felt as if it was in a time-warp, it was very 20th century. There was no communication with the outside world. The weather for the first day and night was rough, and I watched my car out on deck, hoping that it wouldn’t move side to side as the ship pitched and rolled on the waves. Luckily I don’t get any motion sickness, or it could have been an unpleasant ride. After our wait in Cyprus the weather cleared and the rest of the journey was smooth sailing, literally.
Three days after sailing out of Haifa we arrived in Lavrio, Greece, right on time. The weather was still great and it was lovely to be in a little seaside town in the sun.
We docked in the early afternoon and the unloading process was pretty painless. The help of a customs agent was included in my ticket and he ran around doing my paperwork while I sat in a small office on the edge of the dock, watching a panicked Russian running around trying to sort the paperwork for his Mercedes. Within an hour I was free and took a short drive into the town centre for lunch.
I changed some money and had a good lunch before I decided to head down the coast towards the Greek Capital; Athens. It had been a long journey but I had finally touched down on European soil.