Like Jonah

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Sunday, November 1, 2009

Boarding the ferry to Livorno I felt as thought I was swallowed up.  A boat almost twice the size of our last, but with even less passengers it was empty!

I have been quite anxious about this part of our journey.  Most likely it’s just apprehension for anything new, and everything is new now except the money.  I managed to get through France and knew what to expect and how to function.  But no longer do I know what the signs for Tourist Information looks like (or what those words are), how the campgrounds work (if there are any open), grocery chains, store hours, road systems, etc.  All the things needed to live here for awhile. 

No support system either.  Every other country we’ve been to so far we had a contact within a day or two of arrival, but we’re on our own here.  Also I have almost no working knowledge of the language other an 5 or 6 words.  I can’t ask for…ANYTHING!  All I can do is agree and say thanks.  Everyone says it’s not a problem, but it’s something I would really like.  I guess there’s something to taking shorter trips where you can get a travel guide and language guide and bring them with you.  Impossible for so many destinations on our trip and for packing into bike bags. 

Waiting for the gangway to slowly open, it finally clashed against the shore and spit us out.  I felt like Jonah being vomited out of a whale.  It’s as if someone said:  ‘here you are, now deal!’

The ferry arrived at 5:30pm - right when the sun was setting.  So there was no time to find camping out of town.  We would need accommodations almost immediately. 

Leaving the terminal, it felt very much like Dublin with the long twists and turns.  But I refused to draw the parallel since we had a terrible time navigating that city and finding accommodations!  And that was during the daytime.

Cycling along dark roads in a city with no reference, was to be our first introduction to the infamous Italian driving.  Cars all jumbled together at intersections, people opening doors to yell at us and others, motor bikes swerving in and out, and everyone driving with just one hand.  Not because they’re resting on the window, talking on a cell, holding hands with a sweetheart, or eating.  But because one hand must be on the horn at all times for all the honks I heard!

But we were able to find an overpriced Hotel within a short amount of time.  First thing we did was march down the street in search of our first Italian wood-fired pizza.  And something else.  I don’t know what it is, but it looked good and seemed popular…

So now I’m feeling a bit more positive about our venture here, but just a bit.  We’re still not ready to take off and have a lot of adjusting to do. 

Maybe I need some more pizza for lunch tomorrow…
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