Furore, Italy to Loutraki, Greece

The morning started with packing, and transferring bags to the car.  We paid the consumption fee for the 53 Euros of electric we used during the week, plus the 2.5 Euro per person per day city tax, and the 100 Euro fee for cleaning.  Since the fee for the apartment for the week was reasonable, the added fees were not too onerous.

Once the car was loaded, we headed south along the Amalfi Coast.  It was an absolutely breathtaking drive.  Both in the sense of sheer rock faces, terraced plots of lemon and olive trees, and grapevines in the early stages of budding out. The 45 km of hairpin turns also had provided many times where we gasped for air.  Multiple times I thought there goes our side view mirror.  A couple of times the only reason we did not smack mirrors with an ongoing truck, was their mirrors were higher than ours.  In my mind I had said, if we hit mirrors, I’ll drive on as though nothing happened.  About two-thirds of the way through the hairpins, Marcia said it will be a miracle if this car is returned without scrapes along the side.  It’s good that zero deductible insurance came with the lease.

When we arrived at Sorrento, the road was wider and straighter.  We climbed over the mountain and found ourselves on a welcome autostrada.  What a relief to be able to set the cruise control and relax at the wheel.  We stopped at a service plaza, and had a light lunch. Ella and Rachel connected via Skype with their friends, Iris and Jessica in Bloomington.

Below is the ferry that took us from Bari, Italy across the Adriatic Sea to Patras, Greece.DSCN1982

The interior of the ferry was at least a football field long.  Before the ferry departed it was full of tractor trailers.  They were packed so tight that there was on 3-6 inches between them, side to side and front to back.

While waiting to board the ferry in Bari, we found a small restaurant/bar along the harbor.  After the driving, I enjoyed two Peroni beers and some potato chips.  At about the one and half beer point, I thought I heard two motorcyclists speaking English.  I asked them where they had been and where they were headed.  They had been on the road for 5 days and were headed to Iran. Joe and Arash both worked in Berlin for a mobile gaming company.  They were on a 4 week holiday.  They had the proper gear for riding, body armour to avoid road rash in the the event of a spill.

Marcia, Arash, Joe, and Jack.  Although Arash and Joe worked in Berlin, Arash was from Iran and Joe was from Northwest Germany.  It was a pleasure meeting two gregarious travelers with a positive outlook on life and concern about the future of the planet.  Rachel took the picture on the deck with the heliport. Meeting people like Arash and Joe is what traveling is all about.
Sunset aboard the ferry.

Marcia had booked a room for 4 and a seat for me.  Ella and Rachel were kind enough to sleep two in a small single bed. That allowed me to take one of the bunks.  For a boat as big as it was, I was surprised the degree to which it rocked and rolled.  The boat was full of long distance truck drivers, which was not a surprise given the large number of tractor trailers packed in the hull below. There was a surprise; the groups of rowdy Greek and British high school students.  Unfortunately they were packed in the rooms surrounding us.  The yelling and laughter did not abate until about 2:00 am.  I think I fell asleep during the mayhem, but Marcia got little if any sleep.

The above photos give a clue as to the wind in the Adriatic.

The next day at 1:00 pm we exited the boat and made our way from Patras to Loutraki.  It was an autostrada under construction for the whole 150 km.  The speed limit was 60 km/hr (about 36 mph).  If the construction would have been completed, we would have varied between 100 and 130 km/hr. The views were picturesque, with the clear blue water of the Bay of Corinth on our left.

Panoramic view from the beach by our apartment in Loutraki.