5.27.09 Ferry Greece to Italy (Patras to Ancona)

Patras Travel Blog

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Coming into Patras- a small town just north

5.27.09    Ferry Greece to Italy (Patras to Ancona)

 

Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad!  Hope you had a terrific day after let’s see (2009-1961) Goodness!  Is that 48 years of marital bliss?!  Wow!!

 

We left Athens this morn with just one hair-raising, horn-blowing, adrenaline rush of an incident.  No blood, no foul, no contact!  We were happy to head into the Greek countryside.  Our destination:  Port of Patras for a ferry to Venice, Italy!

 

Before we left, we tried calling Minoan Ferry lines on the iTouch with Skype.

Co-pilot extraordinaire!
  I won the bet with my guess of the lowest success rate (33 percent chance).  The “in-Greece” number didn’t work, and then after the recordings, an auto-disconnect.  Sigh.

 

So we took off the 140 highway miles for Patras port with a goal:  Drive to the port, go to Minoan's office, and simply book a “Camping on Board” ferry to Venice for tonight (Weds) or tomorrow.  The next ferry after tomorrow's would be Saturday- too late for us.  The ferry departs Patras at midnight, arriving after 2 nights in Venice after 34 hours.

 

So off we drove.  As we exited for Patras, I saw a sign for Minoan Ferries.  The Travel Agent turned out to be a great help. 

 

Only 2 ferry lines route Patras to Venice, of which only Minoan Ferries offers Camping-On-Board to Venice.

Sugar parked on boat Greece to Italy
  Of Minoan's 2 ships, only 1 ship has Camping-On-Board, and it is NOT the Zeus ship that leaves tonight.  Tomorrow’s ship was full for Camping-On-Board!  I couldn’t believe it for Weds and off-season, but live and learn.

 

However, there are many ferries between Patras to Ancona, Italy.  Ancona is about 300 km (186 miles) south of Venice.  Ancona is closer to Florence, Bologna, and Pisa.  While not the original plan, we got the 30 percent off special on SuperFerries (thru May’s end).  So for 274E, we booked our passage with the RV!  Not bad! 

 

It was great to use a travel agent because she could check all the ferries at once, price compare the specials for each, offer us different sailing times, etc. If we’d just gone to the port and found Minoan's office, only to find they were booked, we would have had extensive work to price all the other ferries.

Lia and Charles love cruising on the ferries
 

 

When did we want to go on the ferry?  Well, it was 1:45 pm and there was a boat leaving at 2:30 pm- can we make it? 

“No problem- you can arrive 15 minutes before and there's no issue,” said nice Travel Agent.  We confirmed Camping on Board (also called "Open Deck") again.

 

We made a run for it!  We filled Sugar with Greek gas (.89E/liter) and high-tailed it, checked-in at SuperFerries office, out of breath at 2:07pm.  The gate agent said, “Open deck?  It is late!  You’re supposed to check in 2 hours in advance.”  Ugh! 

 

She made a call to the deck on our behalf- clearance was granted!  “Hurry!!” she urged, and off we ran with our boarding cards, keys, “Camping on Board” placard, and “Ancona” mirror tag for our illegally parked Sugar (we’ve learned how to park like the trucks).

Snacks on board
  We raced across to the boat. 

 

Just as we were about to load, Security snagged us to to check the camper interior- a first for us in Europe.  When he asked Charles to “open the toilet,” I had to smother a laugh to tell Charles to leave the toilet lid down, he just wanted the bathroom door open.  Ha!  We were waved on with a smile.  We raced aboard with just minutes to spare before setting sail.  Whew!  (p.s.  No one ever checked I.D. again with this booking at any point).

 

Thanks to the kindness of the deck crew, we were allowed on.  Because the ramp for the Open Deck was already lowered to the deck below, we parked behind the trucks.  We were just happy to be aboard!

 

As the boat pulled away from shore, the deck was moved back up to the upper deck.

Goodbye lovely Greece!
  Then a deckhand had me back Sugar the length of the ship, giving me directions about how to turn the wheel to the right or left, as he walked alongside.  It required extreme concentration- it’s not as easy as it looks! 

 

Trusting his instructions completely (there was no time to check all the mirrors and backup camera), I backed into a tiny space between a camper and an 18-wheeler with inches to spare on each end.  I got out afterward and looked- we have no idea how they got us in this spot!  We are in awe.  I wish I could have watched instead of blindly following instructions.  Pretty amazing.

 

Then they kindly hooked up our power cord and we are snug among quite a few RV’s!  We are beside a Peugeot from France and they let us admire their conversion with a pop-top, grill, shower, freezer, etc.  It’s really cool and when the conversion top is down, you cannot tell it is an RV.

Good food - no I did not eat all that spaghetti
  Exactly what Charles and I have been scheming to create! 

 

This morning we admired a minivan that had a canvas, rectangular tent *on top* of the van.  A ladder allowed them to climb up and down, but I think having access to the van while sleeping is better for safety and for utility while camping (you can stand up and cook in the Peugeot when the top is popped).  Obviously, these smaller vehicle conversions are best when just two people travel.  But I love how they have no height or parking restrictions, pay less on ferries and tollways, and can get into cities and carparks.  For adventure travel, smaller is better, although I do love the conveniences of a full motorhome too.

 

Dinner on the ship since we had no time to plan ��" our last delicious Greek food for awhile.

 

More RV’s got on at Igomenti and our deck is quite full with probably 20-25 campers.

Lovely Greece
  Most people seem to be from Germany, but we’ve met people from all over.  They are pleasant enough to say hello, but not as open to travel discussions (a bit more reserved) than most RVing Americans, I’d say. 

 

Charles is excited about the big football finals tonight in Rome between Barcelona (whose jersey he is wearing) and Manchester, England.  All the bartenders are excited too about the game that starts at 9:30pm.

 

I enjoyed talking with one nice bartender and sure enough, they work seven days a week for five months, then get a month off.  With SuperFast line, their family can accompany them on one trip a month, crew food and sleeping accommodations are good, and their salary is good.  It is a difficult schedule but he felt like he had no other option.

Charles and Lia have fun on deck
  He’s looking forward to his upcoming month (January) in Bali, where the Euro can go far.  Jazy had met a woman in the gift shop on our ferry Italy to Greece and she too works everyday, so I think that is their intense schedule.

 

So we get to Ancona, Italy tomorrow at 10:30 am!  We’ll gain an hour with the time change.  If we’d taken the ferry to Venice, it would be 2 nights, so I guess this worked out better than I could plan- less cost, less time and we’ll head off from there. 

 

We loved, loved, loved Greece.  It is sad to leave, but we’ll always hope for a return.

Yeah! Whatever it says!

 

Until Italy!

jagnroz says:
Hi Tessa,
Roz (the wannabe, but giving up hope)here. I have been following your blog and enjoying it so much. What a wonderful adventure you are having. You are giving your children the best possible gift and one they will always remember. Book learning is important - after all, one needs to learn to read, write and do math. However, the hands-on experience teaches so much more. It is one thing to read about the Parthenon and so much more rewarding to see and touch it. The photos are terrific, your enthusiasm is contagious and your bravery is something to really be admired. Have fun and please tell Jazy, Charles and Lia to give their Mom a huge hug for all she and their Dad have done.
Roz Jirge
Posted on: May 27, 2009
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Coming into Patras- a small town j…
Coming into Patras- a small town …
Co-pilot extraordinaire!
Co-pilot extraordinaire!
Sugar parked on boat Greece to Ita…
Sugar parked on boat Greece to It…
Lia and Charles love cruising on t…
Lia and Charles love cruising on …
Snacks on board
Snacks on board
Goodbye lovely Greece!
Goodbye lovely Greece!
Good food - no I did not eat all t…
Good food - no I did not eat all …
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
Charles and Lia have fun on deck
Charles and Lia have fun on deck
Yeah!  Whatever it says!
Yeah! Whatever it says!
Happy to be aboard!
Happy to be aboard!
Lovely Greece
Lovely Greece
We made it!  Sugar awaits upper de…
We made it! Sugar awaits upper d…
The new bridge near Patras to nort…
The new bridge near Patras to nor…
Onboard lounge- very nice
Onboard lounge- very nice
Charles has fun on deck
Charles has fun on deck
Docking at Ig.
Docking at Ig.
Lovely view
Lovely view
Cool camping conversion
Cool camping conversion
Cool camping conversion
Cool camping conversion
Cool camping conversion
Cool camping conversion
Our kind French neighbors on Campi…
Our kind French neighbors on Camp…
Patras
photo by: sylviandavid