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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 5: 29 September

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysJust over an hour after entering the Corinth Canal we're through, saving ourselves seven or eight hours on the journey round the Peloponnesian Peninsula. As we emerge into the Saronian Sea the land to our left is burnt and bare, and the pine trees that do exist are scorched. There's obviously been a considerable fire. A coach at the side of the road below us disgorges a party of Greek ladies with handbags. They rush towards the canalside to watch us go by. Our tug turns and heads back through the canal. A launch comes alongside to collect the three pilots. A round of applause should really be offered, but they do this sort of thing ten times a day.

Three o'clock in the afternoon. Vast numbers of boats of all kinds around the port of Athens at Piraeus remind you that the Greeks still regard themselves as a seafaring nation. But in a bay almost out of sight are dozens of super-tankers, laid up and rusting, a reminder that the golden days of the 1960s and early 1970s are over and may never return.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 5
  • Date: 29 September
  • Country/sea: Mediterranean Sea
  • Place: Saronian Sea
  • Book page no: 30

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