Friday, March 17, 2006

The "Hermes"

Thirty-six years ago, I went to Europe for the first time. It was one of those student tours that took you to Europe for six weeks on the cheap.

The first two weeks of the trip were spent on a piece of crap ship called the Hermes that meandered between Venice and Haifa and then back to Venice.

The ship was an antique. She must have been rather nice, in her day. Someone told me that she was built in the early thirties, as I recall, but I have no idea of her real age. By the time I sailed on her, however, the Hermes was rusty, leaky and squalid and her staterooms were cramped and dark. She was in an appalling state and looked for all the world as if the Epirotiki Line had picked her up at a marine salvage sale.

I spent the first week in one of those cramped rooms with two other girls. I slept on the luggage rack. (I don't remember where we actually kept our luggage.) The second week, I shared a cabin up on deck with a chain-smoking Shirley Temple clone from California. The skylight had plastic taped over it and, whenever it rained, the water poured in. One night, there was a bad storm and we woke to find our cabin flooded with four inches of water.

So, anyway....Tonight I searched to see if Epirotiki were still around and I found their site.

And there, at the bottom of the page, is the Hermes.

(edited to add:
Still, I can't tell if that picture is of the vessel I sailed on or her successor. I understand that there have been at least three Hermes. The most recent came into service shortly after my adventure, so it is likely that the Hermes of my acquaintance ended up being recycled yet again. )

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