Tuesday 12 July
Drive across the rugged Apennine Hills towards the coast for embarkation on the overnight ferry to Greece. The modern ferries offer all comforts, including boutique, duty-free shop, two restaurants, three bars, discotheque, casino, and swimming pool. (B)Hotel: ferry in Anconahttp://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=Largo+Vincenzo+Ambrosio,+9,+00136+Rome,+Italy&daddr=Ancona,+Italy&hl=en&sll=43.615844,13.518739&sspn=0.258004,0.793076&geocode=FeW6fwIdx9m9ACl1p0VDnGAvEzEaRhad9YWdUw%3BFWSGmQIdk0fOACk9fiKUu38tEzGVswh0g3UXPw&mra=ls&dirflg=w&doflg=ptm&z=8
What we did:
This was our day for sleeping in until 8 am but I couldn't sleep past 6:00 so I did some picture editing in the room
. I went down a bit later to do some uploading in the lobby since the signal is too weak from the second floor where we are. It didn’t work there either until I got the desk clerk to reboot the router and then it worked. Feels like I was right at home as it does it all the time there too. Poor internet so far in Europe is the rule and not the exception so you just wait for a hotel with a decent connection and do it all then. We left at 9:35 and drove through beautiful countryside until our first rest stop from 11:30 to 12:00. Right after getting back on the road we went through a tunnel 10 Km long. We arrived at the Adriatic Sea shortly before a 1:10 lunch/rest stop so we have a chance to catch up with some people about their free time yesterday. I guess shopping was one popular choice and some people have already purchased and extra suitcase for their accumulating purchases. With only 31/45 on the bus we’re sitting pretty for luggage space, so shop till you drop if you want to! We arrive in Ancona at 3:35 and do a pit stop while Chiara gets the tickets. Our tickets and room cards are handed out on the bus and we drive to the embarkation point. We walked from the bus to a meeting point on level 7 and we were told about a welcome drink at the King Minos Lounge on Deck 10. Clocks all go ahead an hour because once on the ship we’re on Greek time. We were also advised about the procedure to get internet at 6 Euros/hour. You place an order for it in one place, go two decks down to pay for it and then go back where you use it
. Finding our room was difficult because the end of corridor signs are flawed certainly for room 8101 and maybe more. The room is a model of efficient use of space, has three beds and the bunk can fold up but we found it handy to put our things on. We went for a walk on the upper deck to check out the pool to find it empty and closed. A third of our group were having a drink in the shade of the large open air bar near the pool. With the high humidity and even in the shade it was too hot so Nancy and I went to the King Minos lounge where it was quite comfortable. We saw lots of people camped out on the deck inside and out for they had purchased a ticket with no cabin which is quite common. There was also an assortment of dogs that people had brought as well which made me wonder how much do dogs pay? We joined some other Cosmo folks in the King Minos Lounge for a drink before our official welcome drink courtesy of Minoan Lines at 7:00. We had left port about 5:30 and watched Italy slowly slip away as this was the best circumstances thus far for a good visit with our travelling chums. For supper everyone was on their own to use the A La Carte restaurants or the self serve restaurant. We went for the self serve restaurant which is cafeteria style. A couple of beef and fries meals, water, and 500 ml wine was 42.30 Euros which was tasty enough but pricey. The prices aren’t posted and receipts are all Greek which just look like gibberish. After supper we joined some others and checked out the show in the Minos Lounge which was a male vocalist doing popular songs with music soundtrack. We danced a bit ourselves on the spacious dance floor before going upstairs to join some others upstairs and outside on deck 11 at the pool bar. There was a good sized crowd there as well and we chatted a bit before crashing at 12:15. On the way back to our room we passed the Minos Lounge and noticed the dance floor was full so the entertainer was doing a good job.
Day 14: ROME–OVERNIGHT FERRY CROSSING TO PATRAS, GREECE.