Hurry to Bari

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Nov 15, 2007

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Flag of Italy  ,
Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Sistine Chapel we didn't see.
It was hot, humid and steamy in Rome but we had to make another trip into town to buy maps for the Asian countries we plan to enter. (The maps we have from Australia are not comprehensive enough and we should have spent more time getting better maps in our own country or Great Britain, so the information is all in English)
We thought we'd make an early start to the Sistine Chapel with the first shuttle bus from the Camp Ground leaving at 9am. Our camper was already packed away and we were showered ready for a quick get away when we came back from town, because it's about 500 kilometers to Bari where we'd planned to meet up with Lou & Lynn for the Blue Star Ferry trip to Greece later that evening.

The queue for the Sistine Chapel was 1 kilometer long! Oh well, we'll have to save that for another trip. We took a bus to the map shop and met a German couple who had had a bad experience the previous night. They were having dinner in a restaurant and the lady had her bag between her ankles at the table. After about 10 minutes of arriving, she decided to go to the bathroom. She was shocked to find her bag had been stolen from under the table and from between her legs!

Maps bought, we waited 40 minutes for the bus back to Camp Roma, but as we were getting onto the bus a man in front of Des impeded his progress onto the bus and his 'accomplices' pushed into Des from the back. Des was immediately aware that something was going on and elbowed the front man out of the way. The 4 men made their way independently to the back of the bus and closely surrounded a young Irish girl and an English couple until they felt so uncomfortable, the couple got of the bus several stops before the Camp Ground (where they were headed). The Irish girl's friends called her over to them in Gaelic because Des had said, "something's going down back there". As we all got off the bus as a group, we stopped to chat about the incident while the 4 men separated and casually hopped on to the next bus across the road. The whole security thing spoiled Rome a bit for me.

Rome has a lot more to offer than we were able to see and I am a bit disappointed we didn't stay long enough to get a good feel about Rome. I'll jot it down in my 'must see properly' memory file.

Naturally we took the motorway to Bari and hardly stopped for a break as Lou and Lynn were waiting for us there and the Ferry left at 8pm. We were slowed down a bit by the hail storm with stones as big as marbles hitting the car. Many cars pulled off the motorway and parked under bridges and near brush and trees during the peak of the storm, all other vehicles slowed to snail's pace. It was noisy, bright with lightening and very pretty to see the huge hail stones banking up on the side of the road. Before the storm our outside temperature gauge on the car read 33C and during the height of the storm (which lasted about 20 minutes) it dropped to 15 and just as quickly climbed back to 33. We sustained a little damage to the turbo intercooler grill but nothing major.

We arrived at the dock at 7:30pm to see the ferry was almost completely loaded. Lou, Lynn and I rushed to the office to try to get tickets for this ferry while Des stayed with the cars. The chick at the desk was most helpful and even offered to mail my 6 post cards for me. She also asked us to "Please hurry on board"

No sooner were we on board then a fight broke out very near us. Two big blokes were shouting at each other in the main lounge over, we think, positions next to the windows, and who was there first. It became very loud and heated and just when we thought it was at its worst, one bloke picked up a glass and smashed it on the table. The other bloke picked up a glass by the base too but was prevented from using it. Then it was on for young and old as family and friends tried to quell the situation. Several people were in head locks and they all went crashing through chairs, tables and bar furniture, people scattered everywhere. Staff came running from all directions and eventually calm was restored. But the shouters wouldn't let up, they were yelling at staff until they were red in the face. One guy sustained a cut finger, but all others appeared OK. We were surprised no action was taken over the incident, not a thing was done.
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