Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Travel Day, Naples to Bari, Aboard Super Fast Ferry to Patras, Greece

I woke up early today, as I do on all my travel days. I packed some of the self-service breakfast foods into my backpack before leaving my Bed and Breakfast around 7:15 am for Napoli Centrale, Naples Central Train Station. The train ride to Naples was uneventful, there was one stop in Cetara, the connecting train was delayed about 20 minutes, other than that, it was a smooth ride.

I met a retiree who lives in Mesa, AZ, my hometown, during the delay in Cetara.  After speaking the Arizonan I am considering going to Istanbul, Turkey after I leave Athens.  I meet knew people and alter my travel plans, I do not mind, I want to be flexible, get ideas from other travelers.

I checked my luggage in Bari so I could walk around the city unencumbered, the luggage check cost me 5 Euros, well worth it.  I went to the information desk, asked how to get to the port, I wanted to be sure I had a cabin on the ship before I started sightseeing in Bari.  The woman told me to get on bus 20/ she told me to be sure I got on the bus with the slash to get to the port.

I also asked about the Athens to Istanbul route at the ticket counter, they could not help me, they told me to ask in the information office.  The information office could not help me either, they said they could not see the trains on that route, I would have to ask in Greece. I then went to the tourist information office and asked for recommendations on what to do for my layover in Bari before the ferry's departure.  The woman in the tourist office gave me a map of the area, circles some points of interest and told me to check in at the ferry by 6 pm.

Lynnae in front of Fountain at Bari Centrale Train Station 
I took the 20/bus to the port to buy my ticket to Patras, Greece on the SuperFast Ferry.  I had no problems on the bus, the driver dropped me off at the port and pointed the ship out to me.  I walked towards the ship, figured I was not in the right place to buy a ticket, I saw a man getting something out of his van and asked him.  The man and woman in the van spoke English, I think with a British accent.  They pointed me to the terminal, I went and bought my ticket.

I debated whether to get a chair (free with Eurail pass) or a cabin, I decided to pay the 64 Euros (with Eurail discount) for a bed, 15 hours is a long time to sit in a chair.  My cabin is an all female cabin, unlike the train from Zagreb to Munich, I did not have to worry about sharing my room with a random, Greek, Italian, other man.

After I purchased my ticket for the ferry, I went to walk around Bari. I was hungry, I passed a few cafes and then stopped at one near the Bari Castle. The food was mediocre and expensive, they did  not serve pizza (only for dinner), so I ordered the 8 Euros Lasagna, it reminded me of the Chef Boyardee ravioli I ate as a child, only the cafe dressed it up with cheese, the portion was small too.  The only good thing about the meal was the Lemon soda I ordered.

After eating, I walked around Bari, I went to the Cathedral, every city in Europe seems to have one, and I must say, they are impressive.  I walked to the Castle, I did not go in, I took a few pictures outside.  Bari is small, I saw the points of interest quickly, then I walked down the waterside street, it was nice.  I sat down for awhile and enjoyed the scenery.

Me in Front of Bari's Cathedral 
I started walking back to the train station around 4 pm, check in time was 5 pm for the ferry.  I retrieved my baggage from the luggage check, paid 80 cents to use the bathroom, bought Haribo Gummy Bears water, and a Bueno hazelnut chocolate bar from a local vendor, checked 20/bus times and waited for the bus to arrive.  Bari's bus station is not organized, you have to walk around looking for the bus with the number you want, it is chaotic and confusing if you are not familiar with how the buses work.

My bus arrived at 4:50 pm, I had walked around a couple of times looking for it, earlier today it arrived several minutes early.  I ran into the man from Mesa I met earlier when I was going to check in to the ferry.  I met a retired couple who splits their time between Arizona and Oregon in the baggage check/security area, more Arizonans than I have met my entire time in Europe.  The check in time was delayed until 5:15 pm, so we all talked about our travel plans, the Arizonans are planning to go to Istanbul after Athens too.

Checking into the ferry was a smooth process once we started, they showed me to my room, a nice four bed cabin.  I put my suitcase in the cabin and went down to the lounge area to use the WIFI and wait for dinner time.  I bought a WIFI voucher 2 hours for 3 Euros, I am blogging offline to conserve my precious WIFI minutes.  I ate dinner and talked to the man from Mesa about traveling, etc.

Me in front of SuperFast Ferry 

After eating, I walked around the ferry.  I went outside to see the view from the three decks, it took my a few minutes to find the stairs to the uppermost deck, the views were nice.  I watched the ship leave port from the uppermost deck, I love the water, so it was great to watch as we pulled away from land. The trip to Patras, Greece is 15 hours, we will arrive around noon tomorrow.

I went back to my room a couple of times, no roommate, still no roommate when the ship finally departed. I thought I lucked out and had a cabin to myself, I was wrong, one of my roommates came in a little after 9 pm.  She thinks there is another Greek roommate, I am not sure, there may be, does not matter, would be nice to have my own cabin, but I have had 2 nights to myself, having roommates on the ferry is the same as being in a hostel.

Sunset from  SuperFast Ferry

I am tired, I got up early today and went to bed late last night.  I will head up to my room, take a shower and then go to sleep early tonight.  I may read a little on my Kindle too.

Travel Day Naples to Bari Photo Album

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