POMPEII TO BARI
08.07.2012 - 10.07.2012 38 °C
We arrived in Bari fairly late and to a monstrous amount of traffic for some reason on a Sunday evening, I don’t know whether it was a public holiday or whether there were sales on but every single shopping centre/area we went past or had to go through was absolutely packed with people. We’d had enough of trying to find a park at Maccas to use free wifi and found the only campsite in the area, to the north of town. It was situated pretty much right on a bay with loads of people having a swim in the water so that was a nice bonus. The internet didn’t work for us until the next morning so we were able to download the next TomTom map we needed for Eastern Europe. Which, by the way, does not include Montenegro or Albania, only connecting roads, so we decided after spending so much time stressing out in Italy, we were just going to go with the flow and do it the old fashioned way when we got there – street signs and a fold out map ☺
We hopped on a bus into Bari and made for the port to see if we could find a booking agent for all of the ferry companies, ideally to see whether we could hop on a ferry to Bar at lower than online prices, and to see whether ferries to other destinations were going to end up cheaper. If we’d headed to Durres in Albania we would have saved a bit of coin, also if we’d headed to Greece, but we decided to stick with going to Bar in Montenegro so that we didn’t leave ourselves regretting – when are we going to get the chance to do this again? After waiting around till 3:30pm for the agency to reopen after lunch, we were all sorted.
So, with ourselves and the van booked on the 10pm ferry that night and a 9 hour journey across the Adriatic Sea ahead of us, we figured we still had enough time to make the 15km journey back to the campsite, have a swim, shower, make some dinner to avoid paying ferry prices, then get to the port with plenty of time to spare incase anything arises.
Of course, Italy had plans to send us out with one final “screw you, hippy”.
The bus stop we needed was right across the road from the agency – nice and easy. The timetable said we had 10min before the next bus to our destination was due (the final destination was the only one on the board with our town on it) so we waited patiently. After almost an hour and seeing buses going the other way and none coming ours, we figured it was just normal Italian public transport. Some local taxi drivers hanging around asked if we wanted a lift for EUR20, and we politely declined, preferring to spend only the EUR1 for the bus. A further 20min and one of the guys who had been chatting to the taxi drivers in Italian, piped up in an American accent and said we’d be better off getting the train (Edit – You can always rely on an American to pipe up and offer an opinion he wasn’t asked for... Haha, just kidding Ryan, you know we love Team America plus the guy was really nice to help us out, I just can't resist having a dig– Paul), they went every 10min and it wasn’t too far to walk. Time was getting on, we didn’t have enough time for a swim anymore but maybe for dinner… we ended up walking around in a big semi circle following the limited signs to the train station for half an hour, and when we couldn’t find it we ended up stopping a few times to ask for directions. When we got to the station we found the next train was leaving in 5min, but it didn’t say which platform. By the time we’d asked a train driver and a few other people who appeared to be staff (and getting different answers), our train had left and we had to wait 40min for the next one. It then took us 15min to walk from the station to the campsite.
Finally, finally, finally after over 3 hours to cover 15km (yes, we could have just walked, but that wouldn’t have been as much fun) we got back to the van and had just enough time to shower before we had to dash out to the port, which was packed with cars and families waiting to head off to a wide variety of destinations. We followed the signs to embark to Montenegro and were first stopped by some guys checking our tickets, they said it was fine and to keep going – score! No having to wait in line with everyone back there. We got to the next checkpoint, and were asked for our security cards. We had no idea what these were, and they told us we had to go back. Pretty annoyed, we went back to see the first guys who pointed to some parking spots and said we had to park and get the security cards from the Montenegro Lines booth over there in the corner, as we went to park another guard told us we can’t park in the spot we were told to go and he pointed back over at were we where…. I would guess you are starting to see the picture here? As expected after the day we had already had, Paul started to lose his cool, gesturing as best he could to the Italian guards to ‘make up your friggin mind!’ Finally we found where we needed to park and thankfully there was only a few people in the check-in line… we got all sorted there and went to go back through the second checkpoint, only now the line up of cars to get through was massive. The only saving grace from all of this was we got to skip most of the queuing further down, either because no one else was going to Montenegro, or because it was getting late and we were rushed through. Probably the first one, because when we got on our boat (had to back in with the help of some friendly staff) it was pretty empty.
Feeling relaxed and happy, we ordered a couple of Nikšićko (a really nice Montenegrin beer) from the bar and settled in for a night sleeping on the floor of a dodgy old Eastern European ferry ☺