Rome to Bari, Bari to Durres

Bari Travel Blog

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day of departure

“We travelers are in very hard circumstances. If we say nothing but what has been said before us, we are dull and have observed nothing. If we tell anything new, we are laughed at as fabulous and romantic.”

-         Lady Mary Wortley Montagu 1689-1762, British Society Figure, Letter Writer 


Arriving in Bari, we haggled with the taxi driver over fare, we won- : ) and we got a good rate to get to the ferry.

chillin in the terminal waiting for the train to take us to Bari
At the ferry it was obvious we were taking the poor man’s route to get back to Albania. We paid the cheapest fair, 52 euro for passage, no room. It was 9pm when we arrived, we left around 11pm and it was an eight ride- so this meant we would, if we did sleep, be crashing on the deck with other Albanians and Macedonians (so we found out later.)


We met a young guy of Mil, Mi- I forget his name, but being the smoker of us two I offered him a cigar which he loved and he offered me some sticks or fags or cigs.

more chillin
He spoke no English and we spoke no Macedonian (or as they say it Mac(ch)idoni) so our attempts at conversations were very interesting. Here is the thing that you know you have left the confines or company of western culture and that is how they approach conversation and friendship- they are relentless, almost clingy. For some this can be a big turn off or frustration. For me and Chris who were itching to know all we could about this new region we absorbed it and welcomed the frustrated attempts at communication and awkward silences that filled in the gaps of efforts attempted. He brought up about three of his friends and (well here is some background before I explain any of this or later get into Albania- I’ll probably re stress this later,) before leaving we were told by the Europeans we did meet that we would die in Albania. That it was a crazy place, full of thieves, murders and liars. Though we blew these off as European fables or rumored tales, you cannot help but be a bit cautious or on your guard. So it was that I smiled, I laughed by my eyes stayed shifty and I was always aware of our gear. This though only lasted about two or three hours of travel and by then it was clear that these guys were genuinely great guys who were just very curious and very excited to be talking to willing Americans about life and able to check out their gear.
travel by train, few better ways
They got a kick out of my ipod, and they ate up the classic American jams I had, rap of course is a big hit here (as it is in any 3rd or 2nd world country) and trance. They played some Turkish, Kosovo, and Shiptari (Albanian) music that we dug just as equally. In the end, the eight hour boat ride which began on the cold top deck and smell of night sea air, led to the belly of the ship where the restaurant and lounge was, stale smoke, un showered bodies and men cramped into rooms, sleeping on the floor became our new environment. I pulled out my laptop ( a big no- no, but at that point I didn’t care) and I played some movies for the few of them that were still up. Chris slept and I kept an eye on our stuff and tried to pick up some language from the first Albanian we met named Genti.


Arriving in Durres we were struck immediately by the shock of poverty of the Roma’s or Gypsies as they bore the saddest faces a person could screw up and were as bedraggled and mangy as a human could be (I had been in Uganda and the mountains of Ecuador so I’m not being hyper sensitive here.

i am excited- this is my excited face- what was i thinking i don't know :)
) It was just children, holding babies and older ladies with some form of ailments that clung to us and begged us incessantly. We were followed like rock stars out to customs and outside of customs we were followed then by a throng of taxi drivers. Our Macedonian friends and Genti negotiated for us a cabby we could trust. We paid him 10 euro flat fare to take us to three places, the bank, a hotel and a place we could check our internet. He jumped on it- it was a killer fare for him and for us as it let us get through the city and nail down everything we needed for the next three days we had there till our contact met us. All in all, our arrival was bliss- being in Albanian finally was literally a dream come true. Me and Chris have both longed to do this type of work and live in this type of environment for a long, long time now. Seeing it realized as we drove around and tried to understand the unfinished buildings, gypsies begging, old men playing checkers and a city that look like it had just escaped a war not too long ago.

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day of departure
day of departure
chillin in the terminal waiting fo…
chillin in the terminal waiting f…
more chillin
more chillin
travel by train, few better ways
travel by train, few better ways
i am excited- this is my excited f…
i am excited- this is my excited …
alot of time and captivating scene…
alot of time and captivating scen…
arriving in Bari
arriving in Bari
pointing at the taxi driver behind…
pointing at the taxi driver behin…
the waiting game with the taxi dri…
the waiting game with the taxi dr…
finally we make it on the ship
finally we make it on the ship
a view from the ship as we wait ba…
a view from the ship as we wait b…
awaiting departure. we were suppos…
awaiting departure. we were suppo…
i wish i didnt lose that bandana
i wish i didn't lose that bandana
we are posers arent we ! :)
we are posers aren't we ! :)
sunrise on the top deck
sunrise on the top deck
i didnt sleep so i took some more…
i didn't sleep so i took some mor…
just reading my bible, good moment
just reading my bible, good moment
747 km (464 miles) traveled
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photo by: alexandra_h