Crossing the Adriatic Sea (twice)

We are now in Greece, having left Croatia on Wednesday heading for Bari on an overnight ferry, then after a couple of days in Italy, sailing to Patras.

Here’s what Dot Cantlay (aged 8¼) thought about the experience…

How were you feeling about the trip?

I was quite worried as I had only been on a big boat once before and never overnight.

How was the boarding?

We queued up early, and when boarding started we had to pass some scary policemen. Mum drove the caravan onto the boat and had to do a big u-turn. Some huge lorries had to reverse on!

Tell us about the ship?

We went up the stairs to reception to get the key to our cabin. It had two beds and one bunk, and a shower-room. Although it was a bit shabby Mum was pleased to have her own private bathroom!

I was scared when we went out on deck as there were big loud noises so Mummy took me to meet the captain who assured us that the sailing was going to be a smooth one.

How was the departure?

The ship left on time at 10pm and we sat outside with a drink on the highest deck as we sailed out of the port of Dubrovnik.

Did you get a good night’s sleep?

Yes! I took monkey and beanie and my own blanket and put up some pictures on my bunk. Mummy and Daddy didn’t sleep very well as the mattresses were very old and the clanking and juddering went on all night, but I was cosy.


In Bari it wasn’t easy to find a campsite that was open! We drove North up the coast for two hours to just below the mountain peninsula of Gargano, to Camping Lido Salpi.

Dot, what was the campsite like?

I really, really liked the site because we were camped right next to the playpark and I met my friend Tom. Tom and his family are doing a year around Europe (here's their blog) and have been away for 10 months in their campervan.

What did you and Tom get up to?

We made up our own picnic of crackers, apples, smarties and orange juice and took it to the beach by ourselves with no adults. We laid out the rug, went for a swim and made Volcano-world, our own theme park! We sold tickets and the adults came to look round it.

Was it a nice quiet campsite?

It was when we arrived but the next day was May 1 and a hundred cars arrived full of Italian families for a day out. It was a very lively day with loud music, dancing and games, but it was soon quiet again as everyone left when it got dark.

It was our cheapest campsite so far at only 12euro a night – but next time I think we should pay a bit more so that there is toilet roll and seats in the toilets!

Did you have to say goodbye to Tom when you left the site?

No, because it turned out that Tom and his family were going to be sailing on the same boat as us to Greece.

Was it a smooth car journey back to Bari?

No! It was really bumpy and Dad told me it was because we had to drive 10km along an unfinished road, with huge rocks and boulders strewn around. Mummy was driving and burst into tears once we were finally able to rejoin the normal road.

What was different about this ferry?

We didn’t have a cabin this time, as we were allowed to camp in our caravan on the deck. Tom and his family were parked right behind us, along with lots of huge trucks, including some full of cows and pigs!

Luckily they didn’t smell or make a noise and we got a really good night’s sleep. It was nice to sleep in my own bed, it was much quieter than the cabin.

So are you looking forward to Greece?

I am looking forward to the food! Fish and humus and pitta bread. I have heard that Greece gets very hot and the sea is warm. I am also looking forward to seeing Nanny, Grandpa Mal and Uncle Swee who are coming out to visit!

Footnote: the burnt out ship was the Norman Atlantic, which caught fire on the way to Ancona, Italy, from Patras, Greece, just a few months ago. Yikes! (check out the action pictures from the rescue)

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