Wake up in my bunk to announcements about services and duty free now being open on the Francesca. It’s 630am. Apparently they want us to get up. Take a look out the portal window. Just open waters on the Adriatic.
We get our things packed up and take a morning walk out to the deck. The cold air wakes us up a bit. We can see the port of Bari coming into view.
“Should we go find the exit before there’s a massive line.” “Ya, good call.”
We grab our packs from the room and bring the keys to check-out. Find our way to the exit. Shit. There’s a massive line.
The ferry docks and we all slowly move down to the car level of the boat. The gate drops and we’re funneled out across the dock to the immigration building.
Now we’re standing in the morning sun scrunched into a human herd waiting to get in. Nothing moving. Baby stepping forward even though no space is being created until we’re all in a tight packed, awkward, people pile. An uncomfortable hour goes by slowly and painfully.
A kid behind me keeps leaning against my leg, adding his mini-warmth to mine. Another one is pacing in the small space between his mom and me, bumping into me. He keeps hitting my ass with his head. Really kid? For a split second I contemplate meat farting his face off.
Another hour crawls by. They’re allowing a few people into the building at a time now so everyone’s jostling for inches. Pick up bag. Baby step. Drop bag. Fend off line skippers. Anxiety in the air. I look over at MacKay who’s just stewing in an internal rage. Yep this sucks pretty hard.
We finally get let inside but still it’s the same line. It’s actually a little hotter in here than it was outside. Daaah. Still angling for inches, shoulder to shoulder with people nervously clutching papers and passports. More baby steps. Sweating… until finally we’re up to security. Show passports. And we’re through to the open airy space on the other side. Room to breathe. “Well that sucked.” “Fuck. Let’s get outta here.”
Fortunately, up the street there’s a place called the Titti Twister Pizzeria to cheer us up.
There’s also a giant marathon going by. We’ve probably been passed by 500 people now in the first few blocks.
Doesn’t take long to stumble upon a huge castle surrounded by a moat. This is Castello Svevo di Bari built around 1131 (aka Swabian Castle). Beefy walls and a deep moat. Looks tough.
We’ve been up for 4 hours now and the tummy’s grumbling. “Get something to eat around here?” “Yep. Put the bags down. Figure out what the hell we’re doing in Italy. Maybe a beer too.”
We start looking around for an overpriced, castle viewing patio to nab some grub. We find a place called I Templari that should work. There’s a badass templar on the menu in full plate with Spiked Gauntlets +5. Armor Class is probably around 24. Eats Rathian eggs for breakfast.
Not much in the way of breakfast items here actually but we’re not fussy at the moment. We get some risotto and tortellini.
“Tortellini for breakfast, that may be a first.” “Ya, risotto too. Beer for breakfast, not a first.”
The beer is hitting nicely. Spent most of the morning in a sweaty human stew so we’re gonna milk this nice break.
All of the sudden everyone around us is yelling. It sounds like an argument at first but I think they’re actually just in a violently agreeable conversation. An 8 year old is bombing around in a leather jacket. We zone it out, get another round of beer and jump on the Templar Wifi +5 to get some Italy logistics figured out and see where the Bari bus/train station is.
“Hmmm so Amalfi may be out. It’s 6.5 hours from here. Over that coming from Pompeii. So down and back is around 8 hours. Which would kill a lot of time.” “Could be more comfortable to just do Naples a couple nights, maybe day two to Pompeii, and then Rome the rest of the time.” “Could work. And also get to Vatican City.” “That’s a plan enough for me.” “Up and at ’em?”
We walk through the Bari promenade pedestrian area en route to the station. Sun beating right down on us and our packs. It’s all swanky shopping. We get over to Bari Centrale where the trains run. Hmmmm… no obvious bus station but we find an info booth area.
We ask the info girl about buses and she says to go under the tracks to the other side, find a café called La Brasserie. They sell tickets and then the bus stop is across the street. This seems like a weird set up for a big city like this. We’re buying bus tickets from a café?
We follow Info Girls info and there does appear to be bus stops on this street. We find the café. It’s just a small hole in the wall place. They’re busy with the lunch rush at the moment but the cashier does nod that they have tickets and to wait a minute as she gets some food orders together.
She gets back and we say “Naples?” “1430 is next.” “Ok. Two please.” That gives us just over an hour to kill. Guess we won’t be checking out much in Bari. So we just order up a couple beer and have a seat on their little enclosed patio space that sits off the sidewalk and out into the street. It’s a bustling area with buses coming in and out on either side of the street and lots of pedestrian traffic.
“Strange set up.” “Ya, how did this little café also become the bus to Naples place?”
We spend a bit of time looking into things to do in Naples and Pompeii but the wifi is spotty so we fall back to the usual, get-there-and-figure-it-out plan. A couple beer and espressos later and the bus comes in for a landing.
It is one of the more badass buses of the trip. Double decker with tons of space and racecar looking seats that lean waaaaaaay back. This is sweet.
Busborghini gets rolling and I almost instantly pass out for a while. When I wake up again it’s to beautiful scenery, windmills and the ruins of castles in the distance.
There’s that wonderful Italian countryside I remember. Fun to be back here, getting excited to see some new places.
It takes about 4 hours to get to Naples. We thank the driver and grab our bags.
“Well, where to?” “Ya, I dunno. Oh shit! I slept most of the way and totally forgot to book a hostel.” “Let’s figure it out. Hop on MacDonald’s wifi and grab a coffee?” “Is this a serious proposal?” “Every time.” “K, let’s do it.”