Thursday, March 22, 2007

Overnight to Palermo

Vesuvius in view while driving to ferry port

If it were sunny I would have taken us off to Sorrento for the day, but it was rainy and cold, so I stayed in at PrimoPiano to pack and write.

A few people have asked me why I didn't drive from Naples to Palermo. For 86€ it's actually much cheaper than the combined cost of a hotel room and 1-2 tankfuls of fuel, and I get to sleep rather than drive for 8.5 hours through scenery that I would mostly repeat driving out of Sicily.

I had my last piece of Neapolitan traffic getting us to the ferry dock (which follows a EU guideline that all passenger ferry accessways must be poorly signposted). I drove onto the ferry close to 6pm, although the official departure time wasn't going to be till about 8pm. I made sure that Bondi was comfy in the back of the car, and went off to get some more water for him. When I made enquiries (in Italian, the deck crew seemed to be - surprisingly - monolingual) I was told that the water was "no potabile" ie undrinkable. My cabin's bathroom (equipped for 2 but happily, no one else was booked in with me) nonetheless had drinking cups for the unpotable water. The ferry itself, with few passengers (mostly truckdrivers, a class of French teenagers, and a smattering of Americans), had little to offer in the way of onboard entertainment. Cinema, library, stores were all closed. An early night!
Palermo, early morning

Some announcements were made in multiple languages during the night, but the English was delivered in such accented tones that I really couldn't understand most of what was being said. Cheap amusement also from printed notices like "Boys under the age of 1 not permitted in the casino" or "in case of emergency put on your warm dresses and go to assembly area".

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