Not by bike, I hasten to add – though I did pedal to the ferry…..
Saturday 20th May 2017
Formatting on this may be odd – forgive me. I wrote it using wordpad, as I refuse to pay the 15 Euro to connect to the web on the boat. You’ll just have to wait patiently
until I get to my pub in Barcelona – only another 4 hours away.
I Woke up around 6:30. For the past two nights there has just been a guy called Micky and me on the third floor; there are five rooms, and the three unused have, between
them, seven beds. Late yesterdy afternoon they were filled with a group of young women, all noise, colour and giggle; they came in late last night after an evening in town,
tipsy and noisy, and full of Shh and more giggles. That woke me up around 1:00 am – they settled, and I got back to sleep quickly enough.
A quick shower, then down for breakfast. Muesli and juice – one of the useful lasses was organising breakfast, so as well as muesli, cornflakes, bread and foccachia there was sliced fresh pineapple, melon, and strawberries.
Out for a final walk – weather was fine; down a few new lanes, stumbled across another magnificent church tucked away in one; just a door that opened into a magnificent
interior, all hand painted back in the 17th Century.
Back to my room, packed my gear, did a final check, then down to reception. Got my bike out of storage, put some air in the tyres – the front tyre, which is new – I got that in Asciato – seemed a bit soft. A final email, then out, turning North towards the ferry terminal.
Busy traffic, but I kept to the bus lane, then crossed over after a couple of km onto a bike path, which took me to the port. Chained the bike, and back to the ticket office, where they took away the ticket they gave me yesterday, and replaced it with another – exactly the same information on it; Italian beaurocracy is a strange and wonderful thing.
Back to the bike. There was a tobacconist handy – they and post offices are the only places you can buy stamps – so I bought and posted a couple of cards, had a pizza and coffee at a bar and then went to board. Past a checkpoint, where a bloke looked at my ticket, along an elevated walkway to a small lift, which took me and the bike – with a bit of effort – to the quayside.
Pedestrians were boarding, so I joined them, but was told to go and wait with the other vehicles, and to check in with the border police first. I queued for about 30 minutes, had my passport looked at, and was passed through.
Me and my bike, among giant lorries, semi-trailers, buses, vans heavily laden with stuff, caravans and cars. There were three or four red-coated officials organising the boarding – it did not go well. They managed to get all the big stuff on first, and ensured that they went to the right, or the left, or up the centre, assumingly balancing the weight – then they started to let cars on. Chaos. Some had been there overnight, and the drivers had gone off somewhere; others tried to push in, one or two needed push starting, and the officials continually over-ruled each other, causing arguments, horn beeping, etc. I got waved forward, then told off by another, then told to go wait somewhere else by a third.
No rush; I just did as I was told. I had a ticket, and would get on eventually. But truly – these guys would find it difficult to organise a chook raffle. And they are supposedly professionals.
I was just about the last allowed on board; up the middle ramp, and chained my bike up in the bike spot – mine is the only one there; I could have gone onboard when I
first arrived, and been amused watching the chaos from the deck – but offialdom has it’s own methods, even though there didn’t seem to be one, other than to be seen to
be officious. The boat was supposed to sail at 5:00pm. It got away at 6:15. I arrived dockside at 2:30, and no vehicles got loaded until 3:30 pm – that’s probably why we left late.
Got my cabin card – and surprise! it’s all mine. That’s a relief.
Wandered the boat – those who had just booked a seat, or no seat at all, were unpacking bed rolls in every available space, and being forced on by cabin staff when they camped in narrow aisles, or in front of doors. In the main passenger lounges it looked like a refugee camp. Glad I got a cabin.
Up to the bar at the back of the boat; grabbed a beer and watched as we sailed away. Bye Genoa; I had a great time.
Back to the cabin; read till 9:00 pm – then lights out.
See you down the road.