Fuelled by flapjacks I’m feeling quite confident about posting this… Sorry, but I’m not sorry, for the honesty.
While bumming about on a sun bed in Malta I booked my first ever ferry trip (or my first ever ferry trip that I actually have a chance of remembering). However, I forgot to find out how to get from the town I was going to be in to the port that it departed from and also the whole procedure of getting on said boat.
First off, I waited anxiously at the bus stop in Trapani for my once hourly bus to Palermo. A luxury coach pulled up and I shoved my luggage into its overcrowded suitcase compartment… damn this bus was going to be busy. I climbed aboard but to my horror I needed to pre-purchase a ticket from the office around the corner. FUCK.
I got off the coach again, snatched my luggage back and grumpily made my way to the office. The coach left without me and I was sat waiting, once again, for the next form of transport.
At this point, all I was feeling, was angry.
An hour passed and a rickety old bus arrived with a handwritten sign for Palermo in the windscreen. I got on, hoping my ticket wasn’t just eligible for the glorious coach I had missed an hour before. It wasn’t expensive but I didn’t want to go through the whole debacle of getting another one!
I sat down somewhere near the back… which is never a good idea for me. As most of you probably already know, I get hideous motion sickness. Thus making me the worst traveller ever… and that’s at the best of times.
At the worst of times, I’m just an unidentifiable, foetus creature hunched over a bottle of water and weeping into the windows.
Within minutes I knew I was in for a bad ride.
Beautiful Sicilian countryside sped past the windows and as I tried to capture it on my terrible Samsung tablet camera I had this undying urge to poop my pants. I figured this was a side effect of all the anxiety… but I could not have been more wrong.
Colossal cramps, hot sweats and teeth clenching ensued.
|Arrival in Palermo
Arriving half an hour late into Palermo, I thought I was dying. I was distressed to find that I had no idea where to get off… again. I held out a little longer and found myself at the main bus station. Which was the best thing I could have done in my awkward situation.
I spent 50 cents to do my thing in the pristine train station toilets. I apologised profusely to the toilet attendant on the way out. Fortunately (for me and him), it was all over there and then. Else we might have had a Bridesmaids shitting in the street incident on our hands. I was out of 50 cents coins, you see.
Moral of the story: Don’t eat three day old tortellini.
When I finally reached the ferry port I was truly lost. I tried the main ticket office of the fancy ferries lined up and they were like.. “Oh no, sorry. You need to be at the other end.” Funny really, that I should be walking from the posh end of the port to spend the next five hours with really trampy looking people (and this dog) on the end where my ferry office was. It was like… “NO! You don’t belong here… with our fancy stalls and poncey horse and carriages. TO THE SCUM PIT WITH YOU!”
|Sat with the dogs in the rat’s den
I went to get some pizza. Which is where real disaster struck…
I ordered a pizza… with fish on.
I was so overwhelmed by the wonderful idea of oregano oil that I completely missed the part that said anchovies. I longingly made an attempt to eat the bits without the salty fishiness on, but in the end I mashed it up like I used to do with my school dinners and gave it back.
I then promptly returned to the rat’s den on the dock to drink my half a litre of decanted red wine from my water bottle. I checked in, only to be told that getting on my boat was going to be an hour later than originally planned.
I sat on the floor, drinking and repeatedly playing Fall Out Boy’s – Young Volcanoes, until 7.30PM when I thought I should double check which boat is mine and how I get to it.
The boy behind the counter looked genuinely shocked to still see me in the office. He told me to run as fast as I could because the boat was due to leave… like, now. No delay after all, thanks for letting me know…
|The posh boats
I ran to the end of the docks, stopping only to wave my boarding pass in official people’s faces. A traffic director told me that I could not walk to the boat, I would need to be taken in a car.
Great. I knew at this point, as he called his ‘friend’ that I would probably be charged for this service. But after being piled into the people carrier (and ten seconds later piled back out of it) they wished me a good journey and I joined the gaggle of nuns ascending the wiry steps of the ferry.
I felt like I was on the Titanic.
|Affordable splendour… just 30 euros from Sicily to Naples
I was greeted by a very nice, uniformed guy. He showed me to the lounge and bar. He then told me that I could sit wherever I liked. So I plotted up in first class…
I soon fell asleep, spread out across a four seater sofa.
At 5.30AM the restaurant opened for breakfast and there was a whole bunch of announcements making sure you knew. But I welcomed the wake up call. Because this… THIS is what this ferry ride was for.
JUST LOOK AT THIS!
|LOOKATIT: Sunrise at the Bay of Naples
I had made it to the Bay of Naples and I was finally seeing, with my own eyes, Mount Vesuvius. I’ll admit… I cried. I cried in sheer fucking ecstasy of this moment. It was 6.30AM when I clambered off the ferry. I had no idea where I was going… but I just didn’t care. I felt amazing. I felt invincible.
I could do this forever.