07 Mar All on board! Welcome to Croatia
Thursday morning we woke up early to catch the train from Rome to Ancona, from where we plan on taking the overnight ferry to Split Croatia. But first, we have to tear down camp and ride 30- some kilometers from the campground, through the heart of Rome, past the Colosseum to the train station. We gave us plenty of time to catch the 11:29 train; unfortunately, with the heavy, crazy traffic and our GPS leading us into dead ends and up and down unmanageable sets of stairs, we managed to get to the station just as our train is rolling out.
Thank goodness there is another train going again in two hours, and we should still make the ferry after our 4 hour train ride.
As we finally arrive in Ancona to buy our ferry tickets, the very nice ticket lady explains to us, that the ferry is only arriving today from Split and will not depart until tomorrow night…
Wow, we actually managed to get somewhere a whole day early for a change!?
Too bad the whole idea about catching the over-night ferry was to save the lodging cost. Oh well, this is just going to be another moment in our travels, that we’ll have to mark as “part of the travel-experience” in our memory bank.
At least the very nice ticket lady tipped us off to a couple of affordable accommodations in town, which we are very thankful for.
The following day we just lazily waist by hanging around town, eating Doener, and waiting in the very empty ferry terminal.
Soon it is time to go stand in line with the cars to make it through passport control and to get boarded.
Apparently it is very noticeable that we are fully and heavily loaded, because our bikes got the first spot on the semi truck deck. We quickly get our bags with the food, toothbrushes, sleeping bags and valuables and head up the stairs to our “deck space”.
We opted not to get a cabin and got a ticket for “deck space”, which we really had no idea on what to expect. However, it turns out you can pretty much claim any spot on deck, meaning anywhere where there are common areas, tables, chairs, and couches.
Since there are not that many passengers to begin with, we actually get to claim two couches our home for the night…
After eating our sandwiches we soon call it a night and try to sleep despite the rocking of the boat on the rough sea and the various noises of sea-sick fellow passengers.
After a night of little sleep and a strong cup of coffee, we try to convince the crew, that they should let us get to our bikes early, so the big semi trucks behind our bikes will be able to leave the ferry without mistaking our bikes as speed bumps.
We squeeze through the very narrowly parked trucks, untie our bikes, and soon we are rolling off the boat, through another passport control and into Split.
As soon as we get out of the port, we are greeted by insane strong wind gusts. But after getting some local currency, food for the day, and directions, we finally make it to our campground.