Saturday 2013.06.01 I’m writing from the ferry terminal at Bari, waiting for the Jadrolinjia ferry office to open, the ferry to Dubrovnik, Croatia. It is a strange system: you enter the ferry terminal and ride 3 km inside the port to the ferry office to exchange your reservation document for a ticket, then ride 3 km back to the dock. For the Greek ferries, the travel agent issued a ticket. The Croatians do it differently. There isn’t room for a big vehicle holding area near the dock which explains the distance.
I arrived in Bari yesterday morning, Friday. The ferry to Dubrovnik doesn’t run daily this time of year. I hadn’t checked or reserved as I didn’t know when I would arrive in Bari. I found I had about 36 hours to wait for the Saturday evening ferry.
After finding a pensione in the centre, I had most of yesterday and today to wander. Bari is a regional commercial centre and port, not a tourist town, but it has an old town, a grand old fortress and character. It has Italian meals, gelato and coffee. The stores have beautiful, colourful clothes and almost everyone dresses well. The drivers are on par with the Greeks, perhaps better, at disregarding parking regulations and stop signs. Many people speak no English and I’m shocked at how much of my rudimentary Italian I’ve forgotten, but I have had no trouble communicating. I was surprised to see people jogging by the sea in the morning and dog owners cleaning up after their pets. Some things change!
It is cooler here and it rained on me for the first time after more than two weeks of sunshine: a brief shower yesterday and two major downpours today.
….Later, same day. I’m on the ferry for Dubrovnik waiting for the departure at 22:00. It rained hard during the short ride from the ferry office to the dock. The ferry is small and old, 50s or 60s. There are some old notices that say Brittany Ferries. It must be a well used ship with history. The cabin, which wasn’t cheap compared to my last two ferry journeys, is very basic. A surprise after the fast, modern ferries so far. I feel I’ve stepped back in time. Perhaps that’s a good introduction to the next part of the trip. The staff is friendly.
Some photos from wandering Bari: