Welcome back everyone, happy Sunday! If you haven’t already, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or matcha, or whatever get’s you jiving. Sit down and enjoy your morning read. Today I’m giving bringing things back to the them of story time. Journey with me as I sleep on the deck, travelling oversea from Bari, Italy to Dubrovnik, Croatia.
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I had just hopped off the bus in a new town with my backpack and ferry ticket. Not quite in tune with modern technology and maps, I relied on my best guess. When the bus went past the sea, logic told me the ferry port must be somewhere around here. I had arrived 10 hours prior to departure so after finding signs that pointed me to the port I decided to sit by some nice looking rocks, overlooking the blue.
The sea was a beautiful turquoise despite being in quite an industrial area and the grey sky above. My phone was low on battery so I had it on aeroplane mode in case I needed something for boarding. So I was left for the 10 hours with no distractions. With no mobile connection to the outside world.
After a couple hours of gazing off into the waves, I made my way toward the port. Thinking I had heaps of time because I was so early. I arrived at a deserted terminal. No one was there and the only signs I could find were in Italian.. I was in Italy so that made sense. Before arriving in Italy I had taught myself enough conversation Italian to get by in public but certainly not to understand these signs.
The key phrases I try to learn for every country I visit are:
‘Hello’ ‘Goodbye’ ‘Thank You’ ‘Please’ ‘Could I have’ ‘Do you speak English’
I don’t have that good a memory so I can never remember stuff if I try to take in too much. I think learning how to ask ‘Do you speak English’ in the correct language is much more polite than just presuming everyone can and wants to speak it.
I was very lucky to find some one who explained to me where to go. It turned out I had to wait for a shuttle bus to get to the correct port. So it is a good thing I arrived so early because if I missed this bus there wasn’t another one that would get me there on time.
The shuttle bus arrived to an equally deserted terminal. I found the ticket office where I exchanged my online receipt for a boarding pass and then could relax again, now I was in the place I actually had to be. I sat on the kerb and pulled out my book, I was re reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This book was one of the factors that inspired me to drop out of uni to travel in the first place. It is what reminded me I wanted to find something special in my life, outside the conveyor-belt.
There was just one other person here. We were both waiting for the same ferry. He was from South America and told me he was moving to stay with friends in Croatia because it wasn’t safe for him where he lived. I didn’t want to ask him about details because whatever had happened, it seemed like he had been through a tough time. He was shocked that I was travelling alone at my age. My age was probably also why he didn’t tell me too many details.
I begun to get hungry, it was quite late at this point and I hadn’t eaten since the morning. There was one cafe at the terminal. It was what some would call a ‘greasy spoon’ but what I call ‘my favourite kind of food place ever’. I walked in and it was silent. Everyone there was a male, except the lady behind the counter, and they all looked at me.
Much to my surprise and confusion. In the midst of off peak season, at the counter ordering a beer, in this peaceful ferry terminal was a man from Yorkshire. I recognised his accent immediately. It put me into shock slightly. I had barely met another English person so far on this trip, let alone a northerner. He bought me a coffee and we chatted about what brought us here- for him, this was his ‘annual escape from the missus’.
Soon it was time to board. I don’t know what I was expecting with my budget ticket and ‘Deck space’ reservation. I had been on a ferry to France when I was younger and we had nice comfy seats a bit like those on the bus. I don’t mind sleeping on those ones.
I spent a good half hour searching for those seats. They didn’t exist. So I made do with the seats at the bar. I found some decent ones that were in a semi circle so I could curl up in them.. to a certain extent at least.
I had to move from my first space because there was a man staring at me with a very obvious smile. The stare persisted for 10 minutes too long and I did not fancy going to sleep with that watchful eye on me all night. So up and left to find my new bed.
Much to my surprise, this goes down in my memory as one of my most restful night sleeps. Being gently rocked to sleep by the waves is just what I needed. I had dreams that I was sailing with my cousins, who not too long ago I had left behind in Lyon and was missing dearly. Dreaming of your loved ones is always a lovely escape from any lonely feelings you might get on travels.
In the morning I was awoken by some cheerful couples chatting away at the bar. Couples who looked very much refreshed and clearly paid for a cabin with a real bed.
Looking out the window I could see the gorgeous, dusty orange rooftops that line the Dubrovnik coast line. They still looked far away and I was enjoying my dream so I tried to hold on to my sleeping state as much as I could. I managed to stay unconscious long enough to be urged awake by a lady asking me to get off the boat.
The time was 8 AM and I was (not so fresh) off the boat in Croatia. I had a full day before my bus to Mostar and it was such a beautiful day, beginning with more map-less guess work as I stroll my way to what I hoped to be the Old Town. I will tell you more about Dubrovnik another week. For now, have a fantastic Sunday.
Thank you for reading!
How well do you sleep on public transport? Do you have any stories of your own? Let me know in the comments.
Want to hear more of my fondest travel memories? Check this post out;
Finding ‘Hygge’ on the road
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