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Italy Again

Bari, Italy

I walked to the port and stood, watching the ferry pull in as the sun was setting behind the Kefalonian hills adorned with wind turbines. It would be my last view of Greece for some time, and I would be returning into a little more familiar territory and truly beginning my journey homeward. The ferry was more luxurious than any I had been on so far, boasting two pools, two saunas, two restaurants, shops, numerous bars, dozens of lounges, a large hall, and I have no idea what else. Of course, it was completely out of my league. I realised this after being charged nearly 4 euros for a small coffee that actually had writing squirted delicately in chocolate sauce onto the foam. I was going to resist the 5 euro/half hour internet rate, but having read an article in my paper that infuriated me I even paid for this just for the satisfaction of not having to wonder if my letter might have got published had I actually sent it. I later complained, as the internet kept cutting off, but was told that the reason it was so expensive was that it was a poor connection - seemed like faulty logic to me, but I have found it's a lot harder to make a convincing case for a refund in a foreign language and I didn't want to be hit with the peculiarities of Greek contract law so I settled down to watch a preliminary round of Eurovision. Again, I met a group of school children - this time Italian - who seemed fascinated by me and wanted to know more than my tiredness could cope with.

Sleep was predictably interrupted. Despite there being so much space it was impossible to get away from televisions, which were for once playing films in English. Thus, whenever I woke up, I started to get into a film and had to watch to the end. But by late morning, the ferry had pulled into Bari in southern Italy. The port at Bari is arranged fairly counter-intuitively, and I was at first concerned that I found myself out in the open without having gone through passport control. Checking that this was ok, I then sat to wait for a bus. The local taxi drivers, however, had other ideas: I accidentally managed to get a 20 euro fare down to 5 euros and still rejected it, and one man even tried to convince me that the bus had broken down and a taxi was my only option. But I stuck to my convictions and eventually the bus for the station arrived.

After I had purchased my ticket I made for an internet cafe. Incredibly, the first one I walked into had two familiar faces standing at the counter waiting for a computer: the two Americans I had met just four days before on the way to Kefalonia. They were also going via Naples and needed somewhere to stay so we decided to stick together and they made reservations at the hostel I was booked into.

Although Bari looked to be surrounded by some interesting sights, we didn't have long enough or the means to fully explore them so settled into a cafe. The area was not as bad as I was expecting, and there was some impressively complex graffiti, but the city centre itself was a fairly nondescript Italian city. The four-hour train journey that followed was hot and stuffy, but the scenery was interesting and a complete contrast to that of northern Italy that I know so much better: greener, with gently rolling hills, rather than the jagged valleys of the north. The time passed quickly enough, reading the paper and playing cards. We had to change at Caserta, and once we were in Naples we needed to get the Metro and walk through the now dark streets to get to our hostel. It had had been 28 hours since I left the beach at Kefalonia, and I was exhausted.

permalink written by  BenWH on May 14, 2009 from Bari, Italy
from the travel blog: Gap Year Odyssey
tagged Italy

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