Thursday, 31 January 2013

Where Am I ?

Boat Ride to Bari Igoumenitsa

( The wind will guide your way …. Or force you to go places you don’t want to )

At this point I was still reluctant to book my accommodation or transport ticket in advance but I did started researching a bit more before setting off for Bari. I got a ride from the hostel to the boat ticket counter in the evening. It was going to be another overnight boat journey to Bari, Italy. That was the plan ….

Deck, Business Class or Cabin? Yes I had to choose again and after the boat ride from Patras to Bari I was seriously considering paying more money to upgrade.

DECK PLEASE !! … I was a cheapskate … it was just one night to rough out I thought

So I went into port and waited for the ferry, asked around some people if I was on the right track but all I got was a *I dunnu what you are talking about* body language. Not long later a guy came to the waiting area and spoke something in Greek which I had no idea. He looked at me and (not many Chinese asian looking people pass by I guess) tried to speak English. Bari ?? *I Nodded*. *Hand Signal to Follow*

So I followed everyone else en route to the boat and half way there I saw a crowd gathering and obviously arguing about something.

I can’t remember how it exactly went for half was in Italian, the other was in Greek and maybe less than 10 words were in English. The gist of the argument I was able to extract was this

Hence in the blur-ness of everything I was on a boat to Igoumenitsa.


It was an hour boat ride from Corfu to Igoumenitsa and by the time the boat dock it was close to 11pm at night. I got down and I did not see anything. No town, no building, no ticket counter or street lights for that matter. Apparently almost all the passengers on the boat were driving. And zoom away they did. All that was left was me, a young British girl *Alice* and two burly Italian or Greek Guys.
(I shall refer them to Greek Guys as they seem to know what they were doing in Greece)

“Do you know what’s happening”, Alice asked.

Heck no but they seam to know where they are going so I am following them for now.

So it ended in me following the two burly Greek Guys and tagging along with her two humongous luggages. I was actually smaller in size compared to Alice well I guess Asian people are small built in nature but when I saw her struggling with the luggage’s I had to offer my help. She looked at me and gave me a sympathetic look as if I could not help her with me carrying my own backpack. She lasted maybe a few hundred meters before the bag slumped onto the ground and that’s when I became the porter.

Now why did I took so much effort in packing light again?? My luggage as I weight it before I left was a mere 8kg and here I was carrying Alice luggage which I could swore was about 12 kg ish. * Bangs Head on Her Bag That I was Carrying*

I could not tell how far it was but I guessed it was about 30minute walk along the dark road before we saw the sign for Igoumenitsa Port entrance. Went in and found the ticket counter and there it was another big crowd around the ticket office by the same group of people that got off the boat from Corfu all trying to get to Bari.

Did I mention Greece was going through a hard time with the EURO DEBT CRISIS and their government were trying to impose higher tax bla bla bla and so on ?

The ticket officers had to take our old ticket which said CORFU à BARI and change them to new tickets printing IGOUMENITSA à BARI else the boat captain wont let us on apparently. They sure took their time issuing those tickets and soon it was midnight. I was waiting there for nearly an hour and the crowd had started to lessen as more people had gotten their ticket and moved on

I met a nice family from Canada if I was not wrong which was on a big family vacation. The grandpa which was queuing next to me was grumbling on how there was no order or line and that things could have been faster if people just queue up properly and wait their turn instead of cramming up the ticket counter.

Small talk started between me, Grandpa and Alice as not many people spoke English there. Alice was on the way to meet her Italian boyfriend in Bari while the Canadians (Grandparents / Parents / 3 Kids and a Baby) were having a holiday in Greece and would eventually drive from Bari to Venice before flying back home. I of coz was the odd one and got plenty of questions on traveling the world.

We all felt comfort thinking the boat won’t leave without us …. right ?? I ask Grandpa that same question and got a laugh and reassurance and both Grandpa and Alice ask me back the same question and I laugh and reassured them and we all laugh together like the opening of a terrible horror story; but reality I guess we were all worried at one point. We finally got to the front of the ticket counter and the ticket lady shouted


Hey … I was panicking but looking at the Canadian family I totally snapped and started arguing with her to get tickets and hold the boat for the family at lease. They had a baby and kids traveling with them!! She couldn’t care less, it was late and there was nothing she could do. Come back morning was all she said, started packing up and closing the counter. The family I sympathized for them but at the same time I was stuck there too.

My friends joke of sleeping like a homeless person at the bus station or train station creep back into my mind. Well this is a port …. close enough. There was nothing I could do and while I saw Grandpa & Family took a taxi and drove off to the nearest hotel. I then started looking around for a place to sleep and not get mugged. Alice was still following me.

I settle for a bench to sleep the night and luckily the port allow people to stay inside instead of kicking them out into the cold. Alice decided to sleep on the bench behind me. An hour later I was woken up by the Alice.

“Can we move to another place to rest? There are this weird guys walking around me when I try to sleep”, she said

I figured well better to move before they got any strange ideas since I was not going to be helpful in a fight. We walked around the port till we came across a café still open and there was policeman in uniform drinking coffee while waiting for their schedule patrol around the port. There was a couch too so yep best place to rest without any worries. Sleep came and before long it was morning.

To be continued ……….



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