There are no signs, signals, stations or waiting rooms in the part of the port closer to the city. I walked past open ferries to the opposite end of the harbour, where I asked two people on duty about the location of the station.
By midnight I found the station where about 40 people were already waiting. Here you also must check in, just as at an airport, you will get a paper ticket, but your luggage will not be checked.
Nothing happened for a long time, and then after another quick passport control, everyone was herded to the port, where there were 2 small boats and a ferry the size of the one I arrived on the island, but none of them were lit. I thought the captain must have fallen asleep, because we had been standing there for half an hour with only one or two Greek in uniforms and with cars. Slowly a huge lit ship appears, and after I asked about it, it turned out that this is what we have been waiting for. It comes very slowly, it’s almost two in the morning. The mouth of the ship opens grimly, which also contains huge trucks. They let us in on the left side, cars on the right side.
After ticket checking, they lead us up two successive escalators to both, lowest passenger levels, and then tell us that we have a seat at the top. More precisely, we have no explicit place, only a floor. Very few, about two thousand people, travel on a 9-story boat where I slept on chair 15481. I would have slept, but I couldn’t. I watched “Up in the Air” from my iPad until 4 a.m. Meanwhile, an English lady and I went to hunt for toilets, because the ones on our floor were all locked; We had to go back to the middle, restaurant level.
It all had a pretty screwed-up vibe. Everywhere empty chairs, hundreds of them, sometimes groups of people sleeping in heaps, sleeping in various positions.
Those who knew what they were doing came with their own little yoga mats because they knew they would sleep on the floor, those who didn’t knew about it tried different yoga positions in the otherwise quite comfortable armchairs. But I also preferred the ground with carpet on it. I thought I could watch another movie, but it didn’t go all the way through. Since my backpack is actually the size of a perfect little pillow, I “managed” to sleep for two hours.
I got up at half past seven with the sun. I went to the dock, where a pleasant, lukewarm wind howled to the sunrise.
I wanted to use a toilet, but they were all disgusting, just like anywhere else in Greece when it comes to your hotel.
After disembarking, I wanted to get to my booked accommodation in Bari as soon as possible. I knew I had arrived early and couldn’t take over my room, but they wouldn’t let me use the toilet either. The lady at the reception could only tell me to look for a restaurant or bar; and promised to message me on the phone as soon as my room was ready.
So, I set off in the already 30-degree heat, but I couldn’t find any place where I would like to do it and I can relax, and it won’t be ridiculously expensive. Because, as it turned out, we are close to the most expensive street in the city center. There’s everything you don’t need. Gucci, Luis Vuitton and everything you don’t need is open, simple little food bars are still closed.
I went to a store, bought a cold drink, and sat out in a park. Then I remembered that I had eaten almost nothing; If I go into my room now and sleep for twelve hours, I will wake up at midnight when everything will be closed again. So, I searched for a store closer to the hotel, and went shopping again, after that again ending up on the shady staircase of a church.
Before one o’clock in the afternoon I received the message that my room was ready. She led me up, and when I saw the front door, I had a feeling that there is going to be problem. The door reached about my shoulder. The room was no more than ten square meters, it had a small window, and the ceiling started with around 40 centimetres above my head and continued to descend towards the corners. I didn’t have the strength to be outraged either, and let’s say it was cutely furnished.
I showered very quickly and slept. Two hours later, for some reason, I woke up and had a panic attack from claustrophobia for the first time in my life. I just looked at the low ceiling in this virtually windowless room, and felt sure I would not rest and sleep here again; it is even better if I went home, because there would have been a direct plane to Budapest that day.
Meanwhile, a man at the reception took the woman’s turn, and I nervously told her what was going on, and if they didn’t have another room, I’d rather leave everything behind. He went to make a phone call and I got another room. It turned out that the hotel had another building, with 11 numbers away, where there were “normal” rooms. With the first building, I had a feeling that all the rooms were similarly tiny.
Of course, I was told that this room would be 30 euros more expensive, but in this situation I get it; and also due to the fact that there is no internet in this room. Of course I was terribly grateful, mostly because I could still have had a good night’s sleep, but I didn’t want to tell them that the original price of 342 euros for the other tiny room for 3 nights was a bit much.
But slowly calmed down, I was fine without internet and slept for almost 11 hours.