Bari Travel Blog› entry 21 of 26 › view all entries
Bari Youth Hostel was tough to find. Well out of town, there was no bus run at the time I arrived on the train, or perhaps there was no bus out to the hostel at all.
I rang them anyway and they told me to grab a taxi to bring me out.
I shared a room with an old Italian man. He spoke very broken English but we sat and communicated as best we could and he told me he was in his 70s and making his way around the country on his bicycle. He wanted to see as much as he could before he ran out of time or energy.
Much of that conversation has escaped me after all these years but I have always held close his desire to see his beloved country before he died. He was insistent that everyone should do it and I have to agree with him. We all spend time and money seeing the world but forget our own backyards.
It reminds me of a television campaign that was run by the Tourism Association of New Zealand in the 70s; "Don't leave home 'till you see the country". I can definitely see myself plodding 'round NZ in my retirement. Maybe I'll even get to throw it down here.
The boat from Bari to Patras was an overnighter. I walked on and made my way to the lounge where I found a group of English truck drivers enjoying dinner and a few beers. I sat down with them and had a couple of drinks and a few laughs.
At some point in the night we all decided to grab some kip. The drivers organised what time they were going to meet here again and we all wandered off until the appointed hour.
I found a row of seats and crawled beneath them to get some sleep but there were too many excited children running about so I didn't have much success.
When the time to rise approached I wandered off to complete my ablusions and met the drivers. There was a young driver who was on his first trip to Athens. He was pretty nervous about where he had to go etc so the older ones suggested he take me as a bit of company and together we'd have it sorted. I didn't mind a free ride at all so I was up for it.
He couldn't take me off the ferry in his truck so I was to walk off and meet him out on the loading area.
I got my passport stamped by immigration as we were docking and walked out into the early morning sun. From my vantage point I watched dozens and dozens of trucks drive out of the ferry and pass me out the gate. Most of the English drivers saw me standing there and waved. One of them even stopped to see if I wanted a lift but I declined saying I was going with the boy.
After what seemed like three ferry loads of trucks I spotted the young driver heading toward me and waved. He was nervous about being here and it seemed he was looking in every direction but the one that would allow him to see me. I was only about 10 paces from the gateway so I leapt about and waved more franticly. It made no difference and his truck rumbled past me so close I could have jumped up and grabbed the windscreen wipers -maybe I should have??!
I guess I hadn't done with public transport after all. i wasn't too worried though. It had been my intention to visit Mycenae originally anyway so I went back to "Plan A".