LocationLedLearning is not just about the kids learning something new… it is also the adults on vertical learning curves too, no time more than when navigating Italy to Greece ferries.
With a 7.1m caravan and an almost 5m long car we are quite a long load… ports are designed for HGV vehicles so the length is not usually an issue, however the quality of the roads given all that heavy vehicle traffic certainly is.
When we arrived in the port of Ancona to set off to Patras Greece we had to hold the sides of the car to stop ourselves from being thrown side to side as we navigated our way to the boat. It was with a huge sigh of relief that we pulled up at security and handed over our passports abs email booking confirmation.
Only to be asked ‘Tickets?’
Again, we showed the email, ‘No, this is reservation, you need to check in’
This was news to us… so, back down the road we go again clinging on for dear life, to find the booking in area.
As requested we had arrived 2.5hrs before our sailing time, which was just as well given the line to book in.
Needless to say the Italian ticket office was not planned to cater for three young girls! Equally, my vain attempts to amuse them were met with frowns and judgmental glances as we whooped and giggled (which as you can imagine egged is on rather than quietened is down).
We were relieved then to make the third trip down the road to security so we could get onboard.
Nope! 90 minutes sat in the dock in the blistering heat waiting to be invited onboard! The poor kids.
Never has the free inbuilt DVD player been more appreciated by kids or adults alike.
When we were finally invited onboard the 45 degree angle ramp to the first floor was challenging for the hitch and the undulating ramp shook our teeth in their sockets. But, with high revs and a dogged determination to stay in 2nd gear we made it up….
Only to be told we were reversing the full length down the ferry to park tucked in on the right hand side. Harrowing yes, comfortable in the hands of the ferry hand who directed us? Fortunately also yes!
So, exhausted from the stress of it all we were very relieved to check in at reception and be shown to our room.
The room was very spacious and well kitted out. When we had booked we had done so by phone and had been advised to book a four berth room for the five of us. This worked by me putting one of the top bunk mattresses onto the floor and sharing with Felicity while the girls and Nick took the other beds.
The facilities onboard for adults were good with cafe bars, sundeck bars, a la cart restaurants and a self service restaurant. For the girls there was only a ball pit and a TV – not as opulent for the younger generation then.
They were, as always, good spirited about this and we made our own fun and continued on our learning journey.
Wise to the check in issue last time, we set about checking in on foot four hours prior to our departure time when in Piraeus.
This, it would seem, was a good idea (as our boarding time was an hour earlier than we had expected) but not easy… the main ticket office was closed, as it was Saturday, the auxiliary shore side office was also closed and it was only on our third attempt that Nick managed to get us booked in.
Despite the howling wind there was no talk of us not sailing!
This time there was no queue or waiting on the dock, we were casually waved onboard without even a glance at our hard fought for tickets!
Once on board three different loading staff looked long and hard at us and had a long conversation-about us – which naturally made us nervous.
One of them then strolled over and waved to indicate he wanted us to do a three point turn
On a ferry…
That was already three quarters loaded…
Reversing into a tiny hole between steel girders…
My face must have said it all because The next thing I knew Niko was driving and turning us around… 27 point turn later, much whistle blowing and nail biting later we were facing the right way and were free to get onto the ferry!
So, many lessons learned!