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Saturday, 16 January 2010 08:14

Turkey to UK - Igoumenitsa to Parma

Day 4

We have now left Greece behind.  It was a brief but enjoyable journey.  I am ashamed to say we hardly spoke a word of Greek whilst we were there.  But at least we do know "yes", "no", "please" and "thank you".

Before we start on day 4, (Saturday), let's begin with the overnight journey by Superfast ferry, from Igoumenitsa to Ancona.  The scheduled departure time was 20.00 on Friday 15th January, however, we didn't set sail until around 21.00.  

But once we board, we can't get over how fantastic the ship is - the Superfast V, compared to the ship we had when we originally drove the car over, (Ancona to Çeşme).  It is in a different league.  It has everything you could possibly want, and I can't praise the ship or its staff highly enough.

Facilities include excellent restaurants, a bar, TV (in the communal areas), WiFi, an ATM, and telephones.  There is also a swimming pool, but it's not open at this time of year.

The impressive Superfast V

We are shown to our cabin when we come aboard.  It is comfortable, and spotlessly clean.  The ship is nine years old, but it looks brand spanking new.  After dumping our gear, we head for the bar, and a waiter comes over to take our order.  The prices are very reasonable.

Overnight, we cruise up the Adriatic towards Italy.  The weather conditions are not too bad, but there is a bit of swell, which will either rock you gently to sleep, or send you to the bathroom, depending on how you deal with such things.  In our cabin, we had both the former and the latter.

In the morning we have breakfast - croissant, bread, bacon and eggs, fresh fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice and all the coffee/tea you want - just 10 euros.

The waiter tells us that this ship is being sold to Brittany Ferries in February for 81 million euros.  My knowledge of the second hand ferry market is, admittedly, fairly limited, but I reckon they have got a bargain.

Just before noon, local time, the guy in the crow's nest shouts "land ahoy!", and we glimpse the port of Ancona.  As we pull into port the sea is choppy and the scene is dismal grey - see photo below.  It is just 8c - not warm.

Grey Ancona

By 12.50, just over 2 hours late, we disembark.  Next stop Cupramontana.  If that name sounds familiar, it's because this is the small Italian town that Kalkan is set to twin with.

It's a 40 minute drive inland to Cupramontana.  When we get there it's shut.  Have you ever had a dream where you are the only person left in the world - where everyone has mysteriously disappeared.  Well if you have, that's what it was like in Cupramontana, when we got there.  Admittedly, a few people did emerge shortly before we left.

The town is located on a hilltop, with great views, when it's not misty: but today it is.  It has some beautiful buildings in the town centre.

The church in Cupramontana

Below: The main street in Cupramontana on a Saturday afternoon.


On the nearby hillsides are olive trees and what look like neat rows of vines - perhaps this is what Cupramontana has in common with Kalkan.

We didn't stay long, as there was absolutely nothing to do.  I must admit, having been there, I don't really understand the idea behind twinning with Kalkan.  No doubt we have missed something, but our initial impression of the place was that there is more going on in Bezirgan.

Below: On our way out of Cupramontana.

Leaving Cupramontana

Disappointed, we hit the road.  We get the odd sunny spell, but the temperature wouldn't budge above 7 or 8 celsius.  The roads are fine and we encounter just one toll booth: the cost is 16.70 euros.

Our original plan was to drive to Genoa, but due to the ferry delay, we decide to stop short in Parma.  We check in to the Grand Hotel de la Ville at 6pm, for more fluffy bathrobes and slippers.  And pizza.....

Start ferry crossing: 21.00 on 15th Jan
Ferry crossing ends: 12.50 on 16th Jan
Miles sailed: approx 400 (644km)
Number of times sea sick: 0
Icebergs encountered: 0
Start driving: 12.50
Stop: 18.00
Miles: 235 (379km)
Missed turns: 0
Directions asked: 0
Bags of maltesers eaten: 0
Pizzas eaten - 2 (1 each)
Snow encountered: none.
CD of the day: Robbie Williams - Sing When You're Winning

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