Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 15 Paestum to Bari

We got away early so we could take a look at an ancient Greek Temple in Paestum which dated from 6th century BC – it had a huge Roman wall around it, and was remarkably well preserved for its age. The kids were most interested in the lizards that were running round and disappearing in cracks in the wall, and set about trying to catch one, while Richard and I walked up the road to take a look at the temple. We managed to see what we wanted to without going in, so it was a cheap morning, as we had also beat the parking attendant, so saved ourselves another 5 Euro there.

From Paestum, we were headed to Matera, to visit the Sassi, an ancient town dating back to when people lived in caves. Mel Gibson directed “The Passion of Christ” movie which was filmed there. Some people still live in some of the more inhabitable buildings in this fascinating old town, which seemed to have houses built on houses built on houses, and old cobbled narrow streets and steps. Once we reached the back of the city, we could see the caves up on the hillsides, but sadly did not have enough time to walk up to them as we were due to catch our ferry late that afternoon, but wanted to arrive in plenty of time to sort out transferring our voucher for tickets. While there, we found, literally on the side of the road, some sort of Ferrari convention – car club thing. We all picked out our favourites. Sarah’s was the yellow one, because she thought it was cute. There were 33 of them parked on the street.

We were driving basically from one coast to the other. The changing scenery is interesting (although Richard thinks I don’t see much of it when he is driving – automatic sleep mechanism kicks in!) Maybe I just had my eyes closed because the roads were so scary!

We arrived in Bari in plenty of time, and managed to find the port OK. Unfortunately, when Richard went in to sort out our tickets, we had a hiccup.... our ticket was booked for the day before!!! We had to wait 15 minutes before they could sort out what to do with us. The ferry that night was fully booked, but they managed to get us on one the following day, leaving Bari at lunch time and arriving at Patra in Greece at 2 am in the morning. Fortunately, the shipping company decided not to charge us for the second booking. The only thing to sort out was accommodation for the night.

There were no campgrounds in the close locality, so we had to drive 40 min down the coast to the first camping we thought would be open. No luck. Shut up for the winter! Now we were in the middle of nowhere, with no other options for camping, so we had to camp on the side of the road. I had visions of us being robbed in the middle of the night and hardly slept a wink. I think the place we were parked was some sort of night time meeting place for couples because there were cars coming and going and stopping all night long (even though it was practically a dead end). I looked out a couple of times as I heard cars stopped very close to us... and both times wished I hadn’t! Morning took a long time to come, but at least the other three got a decent sleep. We got out of there at daylight, and moved back up the coast towards Bari have breakfast while watching fishermen head out in their small rowing boats. At least the sea was flat - a good thing for a long ferry crossing.