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Day 12

Day 11 and 12 were wild travel days. We journeyed by trains to Bari, a city on the east coast of Italy. From the station, we walked down through the town’s shopping district and calm (by Italian standards) traffic. This took longer than expected with the heat and our backpacks so we stopped for a picnic on the side of the road, under a palm tree. Refreshed, we staggered onwards. We came across a Baroque style church and then meandered through narrow alleyways decorated with flapping washing.

Eventually, we found the port. After some confusion (involving being lost in the middle of several hundred lorries) we embarked. At no point did anyone announce where this ferry was going, but we maintained hope. We found our seats (yes, seats. The rooms were too pricey) and then headed on deck to await our departure.

I was so enthralled with the boat: its size, the view of the containers in the port, the metallic clang of the side, the smell of diesel and salty sea. I stayed outside for hours, feeling it picking up speed and watching the sunset.

We were rudely awoken by announcements for Igoumenitsa at 4:30am. After a few more hours sleep, we got up and had breakfast outside again.

On arrival in Patras, the tourist information lady informed us that there was not a train stop where we expected and advised us to take a taxi in the heat to the town centre. Ignoring her thoughtful advice, we set off walking north along the coastal path which was lined with palm trees and blue mountains. We hoped to find some food along the way. Unfortunately, it being a Sunday, all the cafes were shut up.

We did, however, stumble across a railway line and then a bus stop on a side road. We managed to translate the Greek and figure out it was probably the right bus stop but we had no clue when said bus might appear.

Several busses, a fair amount of waiting and a lot of kindly strangers later, we arrived in Rio and found our hotel.

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