Travelled: 84 kilometres from Kastro (Melissa) to Patra
Stayed: Overnight on Ferry
It’s been a wonderful three weeks wandering the Peloponnese but our ferry departs Patras for Ancona in Italy tonight and so sadly we make our way to the port. Amongst many things the Greeks do well, chaos at the port ticket office stands out as a specialty. Eventually all seems sorted, tickets for Pam, the Hymer and myself in hand we head for the ferry. Other than the Hymer being X-rayed departing Turkey the security around Greece has been fairly non-existent. However driving onto the dock at Patras the Hymer is given an extensive security search. The security officer went through all the lockers, cupboards and even wanted the bed lowered to check under the covers.
Safely on board, the Hymer on power, we have lunch and cook pasta for dinner. We have booked a ‘camping on board’ passage which allows us to use the Hymer as our stateroom for the crossing. The crossing is 24 hours, but the time passes quickly chatting to our neighbours a Swiss family and having a walk around every couple of hours. We watch a couple of episodes of the new Poldark series and a Dutch movie titled The Highjacking. Having 240 volt power we do some vacuuming, give the Hymer a spring clean inside, fix a couple of loose screws and spend a couple of hours on the coffee machine. It has been playing up and gradually worse over the past several weeks until it stopped working yesterday. So armed with a few basic tools and Pam’s look of desperation having missed a coffee, I pull it to bits, literally. There’s a surprising lot of bits !
After finding the boiler full of what I presume is scale, it’s get a good clean out and reassembled and the smile returns to Pam’s face. We arrive in Ancona 30 minutes late, apparently we cannot dock as another ferry running on Greek time (late) is yet to depart. So 90 minutes late, or as the Greeks would say ‘close enough’ we roll off into the evening traffic and head for the freeway.
Whilst our intention is a quick transit across Italy, we have time for a couple of days in Florence. It’s a bit of a spur of the moment thing, there is a couple of sostas (motorhome aires or sites) close to the centre of Florence so we decide to try our luck. It’s what makes having a motorhome such a great adventure. Anyway it’s all tollway for the 330 kilometres trip, take a ticket getting on just out of Ancona swing off the A14 onto the A1 some 240 kilometres later then finally exit at Florence at a cost of €23. The A14 is relatively straight and easy, the A1 across the mountains is something else. I stopped counting at 20 tunnels, all sweeping bends but comfortable at 90-100 kph, but trucks I don’t know if I have ever seen so many trucks. However they all stay in the right lane doing there 90 kph, most of the tollway is 130 kph limit, but some cars are driving much faster, so they are more of a concern as I negotiate the trucks.
I give Pam a nudge as the tollgate comes into view, in the left hand seat she gets to do the tollgate or anxiety-gate as she calls it. We drive safely into the sosta at 10pm, there are about a dozen campers parked up the far end and we slip the Hymer into a space and feel happy to be safely in Florence.
Michael and Pam.