From Skilo to Chien, One Dog’s European Journey

April 21, 2007

When we moved from the Eastern side to the Western side of our Cretan village, our 12 year old dog Geena didn’t cope as well as we hoped. She seemed out of sorts for nearly three months. How would she deal with the much larger move from Crete to France?

In addition to her mental health, we were concerned with the travel logistics of moving a dog from Greece to France using ferries, trains, and taxis. We actually considered buying a car only because we’d be traveling with our dog. Greece is not the most hospitable place for dogs and I had serious doubts about whether a taxi would even pick us up with her along. In the end, buying a car just wasn’t going to happen; We would simply have to muscle our way through the trip with our dog in tow, come what may. In the month leading up to the journey, we talked with her about what life in France would be like. She was not particularly impressed. She did, however, consent to trying on a beret in preparation.

Geena’s Preparation For France

There were essentially 7 steps in our journey across Europe with our dog.

First, there was the Crete-Piraeus ferry. Online information led me to believe that for this leg our dog would not be allowed to stay in our cabin, so we were prepared to put her in a kennel for the duration. R bought the tickets and mentioned the dog. The ticket agent told us to ask the concierge as we boarded. The concierge told us to ask the reception. Reception ignored both me and the dog so we headed to our cabin and that’s where Geena stayed for the 9 hour trip.

Step two was getting from Piraeus to Patras to get the next boat. When we traveled to Crete two years ago, we took the bus. The experience was unpleasant then and I wasn’t sure now how they would respond to the dog. I suspected they might want me to put her in the baggage hold – so we were looking to go by taxi. The first taxi driver we saw didn’t bat an eyelash and Geena happily sat beside me for the whole ride. I mentioned that I’d been nervous that no one would take us with the dog and Christos, our taxi driver, replied that he could tell she was well behaved and that made the decision easy.

Step three: Ferry from Greece to Italy. We were traveling by Superfast from Patras to Ancona. The information I’d found online said we’d have to get the most expensive cabin and pay 50 euros extra for Geena to stay with us. Dogs also could be kenneled at no charge. We did the first and it worked pretty well except that the floors were wooden and she slipped as she jumped off the beds. I’d also read that dogs were only to be exercised on deck 10 and must wear a muzzle and be on a lead while on deck. There was another dog onboard who wasn’t on a lead at all and went with his lady friend everywhere. Geena walked on the appropriate deck, on a lead but sans muzzle. She also sat with us outside on the 9th deck; no one seemed bothered.

Step four: Taxi from Ancona port to Ancona rail station. No problem. The journey is just over 1 kilometer and easily walkable, if you aren’t toting a dog, four suitcases, a guitar, two computers and a cripple. We took a taxi.

Step five: Train to France. Here we ran into an issue when the ticket agent told us our dog wouldn’t be allowed on the train. We showed him our dog carrier and he relented. When the train came, I shoved coaxed Geena into her carrier and we boarded. She was so panicked by this that I let her out even before we’d stowed the luggage and she on the seat beside me. No one seemed to care. I don’t think I’ll ever get her into that carrier again.

Geena and Her Doggie Bag

Step six should have been finding a hotel which welcomed pets, but we managed to add an extra step by falling asleep on the train and ending up at the end of the line, Torino. We then took a taxi from Torino to Menton. The taxi driver was very nice and had no problem with the dog- which doesn’t surprise me considering the fare we paid.

Step seven, finding a hotel where Geena would be welcome, presented no problem at all. The first hotel we tried welcomed all three of us and we gladly crawled into our beds and slept.

The last thing we did for this trip was rent a car and drive to the Charente, where Geena is quickly adjusting to a dog’s life in France, though she refuses to wear the beret anymore.

Geena In France



  1. Too bad about the beret; who could resist/refuse anything to a Disney character?

  2. Even without the beret, it is difficult to deny her.

  3. I love the beret – She looks so worldly! Getting her into the carrier shouldn’t be a problem if you leave it open where she lives and give her pieces of hot dog only if she is in the carrier. Bribes are the answer! Glad she’s adjusting – and you are too.

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