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Published: November 10th 2015
The ferry from Igomenitsu to Brindisi was a model of Greco-Italian organisation and efficiency – in other words it was late, chaotic, and ill equipped - but it, eventually, got us to almost where we wanted to go. We'd expected to dock close to the city but when we disembarked we were in a desolate, isolated industrial port that didn't cater too well for foot passengers. Given no other choices we set off to walk to town which maps.me showed us was ~5km away. Just after we'd set out a taxi heading into the port to pick up another couple of passengers stopped and offered to take us as well, we jumped at the chance. A few minutes later we pulled up close to where we'd been expecting to get off the ship in the first place. The driver helpfully pointed out the railway station and other places we might need before stinging us for a €20 fare !!! Nice work if you can get it, which down here probably means some “connections” are needed.
Straight across the street we spotted an agency selling tickets for the only bus company that runs between Brindisi and Napoli. When we went in
the guy behind the counter told us they had tickets for the bus that afternoon but that his brother handled that and he wouldn't be back for about 20 minutes. No problem we had time so went to get a coffee. An hour later we went back but the missing brother was still 5 minutes away. OK we still had time and it was warm and sunny so we went to sit by the harbour. Just before noon (we didn't want to leave it until after 12 in case they were then closed for lunch) we went back for the 3rd
time. Brother 2 was now there but couldn't get the computer to work, that needed brother 1 who, of course, had now buggered off somewhere without taking his phone. The gofer was despatched to find him but returned empty handed. At this point brother 2 advised us to go to a different agent just around the corner !!! We did that and 5 minutes later we had our tickets, but that wasn't the end of our fun and games for this journey. The bus starts in Lecce, the Brindisi stop isn't at the bus station but at a place
called Tribunale, the court house, which itself was easy enough to find but there was absolutely no sign of a bus stop, luckily we discovered you just wait nearby at the side of the road in front of a cafe, next to some rubbish bins. Exhausted by the multiple challenges of what we'd expected to be a straightforward journey when the bus arrived we slumped into our seats for the trip across the ankle of Italy.
Napoli is a wonderful, fascinating, contradictory city. It's so alive but at the same time is falling apart and decaying. It's people are so warm and friendly, but at night away from the main streets it's intimidating. It's ancient but also modern. With the exception of Pompeii we didn't really bother seeing the sights. We just wandered, aimlessly going up or down whichever street or alley looked interesting, drinking coffee, wine and beer, eating gelato and pizza in the place of it's birth – who could want for more ?
Oddly it was with slightly heavy hearts that we set out for one of the great cultural centres of the world – Rome.
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