Ferry - Train - FerryJune 9 in Italy
The 4 berth cabin I had booked on the Sicily - Naples crossing was only made up for 2 - yes, no fighting for space. However, on catching sight of my bunk mate I suddenly wasn’t so sure. A hefty built Sicilian wearing leathers and chewing gum, I assumed he was one of the many bikers I had seen on boarding at Palermo. He was monosyllabic and made no attempt at conversation, despite my best efforts in pidgin Italian. He sported a permanently startled look with high eyebrows - wait a minute - he didn’t appear to have any eyebrows - could they have been painted on, like a bus conductress of old? Surely not - and yet if I closed my eyes I could just hear the gallus announcement of an SMT matriarch ‘this is a country bus, ye cannae get aff afore Faifley’.
The sail away from Palermo harbour was beautiful. It was a lovely sunny evening as we pulled away from our moorings and the splendid back drop of rolling hills that surrounded the capital. I felt guilty I hadn’t seen much of the place, but the purpose of the trip was as much, if not more, about the travelling experience itself, and doing a bit of a recce for places I would like to return to. Arrivederci, Sicily.
By the time I was tucked in my comfy berth, my room mate was getting ready to hit the nightlife of the Atlas, with a garish outfit which, coupled with the aforementioned eyebrows, gave him an uncanny resemblance to the drag queen, Divine. In the process of his ablutions, he managed to break the shower head off, leaving it in pieces on the floor. Ah well, I thought, it’ll be a Paisley boadywash for me in the morning.
After the usual Italian disorganised disembarkation, I made my way to Naples Central and caught the train across the width of Italy to Bari on the Adriatic coast. Like most Italian cities, Bari grew on you with a little perseverance. Newly pedestrianised streets lined with designer shops, and a lovely old town complete with the ubiquitous cathedral. And then on to another ferry - this time from Bari to Patras in Greece. Here’s hoping Divine doesn’t have the same travel itinerary.Read more