I stayed the night in the Koine Hostel, a decent enough place, but with that cold puritan edge that sucks all warmth, happiness and laughter out of most European Hostels. The shared showers didn’t make me too happy, especially as one of the guys I was sharing my dorm with was as weird as they come – I pushed the bench up against the door lest I was forced to share my nudie space with some half-deranged Johnny Foreigner. A bit excessive having five showers to myself, but sod it, I’m not in jail any more.
The train for Bari, the port from whence would depart my ferry for Greece, left at 2pm, so I had myself a lovely little mooch around the rather spanking town of Salerno. With hills cascading down to the sea, tons of old buildings and a tree-lined promenade along the bay, I found myself irresistibly drawn to the place, damn it – why can’t Liverpool be this beautiful?
So soon enough I was on the train to Bari. Well, actually it was two trains. The first cost me a respectable €4, but the second (it was a Eurostar) is presumably owned by a British company, since they seem to have no concept of what the ‘public’ in the term ‘public transportation’ is referring to and therefore cost me €40. Not quite the gobsmacking no-wonder-these-trains-are-empty fleeceathon that typifies Virgin Trains (upon which the British public are expected to subsidise Richard Branson’s Spaceships for the über-rich), but bad enough.
And then (stay on your toes Odyssey-boy!) on arrival in Bari I jumped in a taxi only to be shown a piece of paper and be told that it was a fixed charge to the port of €20. I considered getting the bus, but given the boat was due to depart in an hour, and the port must be a long long way away in order to qualify for this extortionate rate. But no – it was around the FRICKIN’ corner, wasn’t it??
I HATE taxi-drivers. From East to West, North to South they are only one rung up on the pond-life index above politicians and wife-beaters.
The boat was good, though. I had an airline-style seat all to myself, a plug socket by my feet to charge up my stuff and the beer was only a couple of Euro for a bottle. There was a party atmosphere on board (in contrast to the Sorrento which was like a floating morgue) and, best of all, the trip to Greece cost me just €15. Superfast Ferries, you ROCK MY WORLD!