Keep Calm

Eva, the friendly, viimg_2797vacious owner of the campsite had proudly regaled us with all the wonderful sights Genoa beheld but as time was limited we filed all the information she gave us and promised to visit again. We spent the morning packing a suitcase for the ferry and drove to Lidl to stock up on wine, beer and pork as recommended in all the guides. The ferry ticket had stated a check in time of four hours before departure of 6.00pm and as we pulled into the ferry port a little after 2.00pm we realised we had forgotten to get cash and asked one of the quayside attendants if it would be okay to drive out to find a cash point. “Of course” he replied, looking as if we were mad “the ferry doesn’t sail till six!” Returning to the port, cash replenished, we still found ourselves in the first lane. Obviously, the four-hour check in time is an instruction most chose to ignore. After three hours of snoozing and reading, the lanes started to move and the scene became one of chaos. Cars stacked so high with goods roped or taped to their roofs, were cutting across lanes, transit van drivers were, at this late stage, asked to open their vans for the goods to be checked and, just as we were to board the ferry, we were asked for our police immigration papers – what f*******g police immigration papers? We were told to go to some unspecified building, fill in a police form, which would then require stamping. They must be stamped was the specific order. There seems to be a lot of stamping required in fact one cannot move without the right stamp! Feeling very rushed as, by this time, it was almost 6.00pm, we found the building but had to climb two floors to get to the right area. We filled in the forms and duly had them stamped. Our stress was somewhat alleviated by seeing another couple running in with the same levels of anxiety on their faces as we were leaving. Back at the van it seemed as if most vehicles had boarded except for us and the vans that were repacking their loads.

We were eventually waved on but with the demand we hand in one our passports an action that was later to haunt me. We were waved on only to be stopped to let a stream of cars already on the ferry perform a series of tight three point turns so they could reverse down a narrow ramp into the lower deck. There was some crazy reversing but more troublingly would we have to do this with our 3.5 ton, 7m long x 3.1 m high x 2.3m wide van? With stress levels on the rise again, a stream of articulated lorries rolled onto the ferry squeezing by us with space for only the slenderest of Rizla papers. By now, well past departure time, an irate captain had appeared on the car deck to find out what the delay was. There followed much loud shouting and (that favourite past time) stamping, with us being asked to move hither and thither to allow these huge vehicles to be parked. The captain, in his effort to speed up things, took over the vehicle embarking process, with more shouting, pointing and stamping until the last lorry was loaded, and we were finally to waved to our final parking place when we could pull up the handbrake for the last time.

Relieved we headed for our cabin and cracked open a fine bottle of Lidl Chianti.

Categories: Italy

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