Crossing the Peloponnese

┬áIt was just as well I had 1600h incorrectly fixed in my mind as my sailing time to Italy because it turned out that the bus to the port of Patras did not leave from just around the corner but only “the bus to the bus station”. In the event I had a lovely Ghanaian lady to help me find my way and 1600h was the check in time for the 1800h boat so I made it despite the fact that information was in short supply.

The long distance buses and boats are all run by private companies and there are no joined-up information points, in fact I would say that rival companies seem to go out of their way to misdirect the unwary passenger. But that might just be me. I had a long walk to the port at the other end but eventually found my boat and paid extra for an “airline style seat” remembering what it was like to sleep on deck on these boats when I’d made a similar trip to Corfu almost as long ago as my first Interrail journey.

I met a young French gentleman who was sleeping on deck though. It seems he had given his heart to a lovely Greek girl named Hera somewhere in the Olympian mountains and was taking her back to Paris to meet his mother. She was not allowed below decks and he would have to attend to the necessary paperwork (including micro-chipping) when he reached France but clearly this relationship was just written in the stars.

I had a pretty uncomfortable night because I had not realised the boat would be docking at Igoumenitsa up by the Albanian border in the early hours. The announcements woke me and I had a little panic thinking that we had already reached the Italian coast. A strange gentleman had also somehow draped his feet around my shoulders in what appeared to be an innocent attempt to get comfortable in the distinctly uncomfortable sleeping lounge.

The boat docked late the following morning and Bari was drenched with rain. I discovered that there would be no train to Naples for another three hours and due to the fact that I only had a few cents in small change I made the first visit to a McDonald’s of my whole trip. Well, that’s if you don’t count the sneaky sortie into the Stockholm railway station branch to steal little packets of salt, the one thing that the City Backpackers Hostel seemed to lack.

I also got thrown out of the Vodaphone shop for trying to check my e-mail on one of their demonstration laptops but I hardly think I’ll be going back to Bari in the near future.

Categories: Europe, Mediterranean

1 Comment

  • Sandy says:

    I had a hard time tracking you from Athens to Napoli, so you will have to examine my map to make corrections!

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