BootsnAll Travel Network

Pescara: What….the f*ck… that!?

From Rome, Bec and I were travelling by bus to Pescara, on the west coast of Italy, and from there catching a ferry across the Adriatic Sea to the Croatian island of Hvar. It sounds so easy, doesn’t it.

The bus from Rome was due to leave at 10.30am from a bus station on the other side of the city from our campsite. The helpful lady at the campsite information office suggested it should take around 50 minutes to get there. So, to be on the safe side, we gave oursleves and hour and three quarters. We’d rather be waiting around at the bus station than frantically running with our big heavy packs on to catch the bus just as it leaves.

We left at 8.45am, and waited 20 minutes for a local bus out the front of the campsite, then had to change buses in the city, waiting again for the right bus to show up. By the time this bus dodged all the scooters zipping around us, and navigated its way to the bus station, it was close to 10.10am. Our internet research had given us a map of the bus station, and the different ticket offices surrounding it. According to our information, provided by the ferry company getting us across the water to Croatia, you couldn’t buy your ticket at the bus station, as different bus companies serviced the same route, and so you had to purchase your tickets directly from the company.

Locating our bus company’s office on the map, we left the bus station and began walking to where the ticket office should have been. Hmmmm, no luck there. Where the hell is it? One lap of the block, and ten minutes later, and it was clear there was no ticket office anywhere near here. Starting to get a little frazzled, we stumbled towards some buses that looked comfortable, and both sighed with relief when at the front of one of the buses was the scrolling red writing of Pescara – 10.30. Now, where do we get those tickets?

I approached a bus driver who was milling around, and, having previously survived on Ciao and Grazie as the extent of my Italian, attempted to ask where we could buy tickets.

“Mi cusi, ciao, uh bigglietto to Pescara?” I managed to dribble out.

Somehow the driver charted his way through my horrible Australian accent, and understood what I was after. He pointed us a few metres down the platform, and we soon had in our hands two tickets to Pescara. Time; 10.28. We grabbed some seats at the back of the bus, and finally began to relax.

The trip through the Italian country-side to Pescara was a rather uneventful 3 hours (I’m beginning to think every bus trip in Europe is three hours, no matter how far apart the places appear on a map). We got to the bus station there at 1.15pm, giving us a full hour and a half before our ferry left at 2.45pm. The guidebook we were using for Italy had zero information on Pescara, and when we got off the bus and grabbed our bags, we realised that we had no map, absolutely no idea where the ferry port was, or how the hell we would get there. We looked around and found ourselves in, basically, a massive carpark, with buses zipping about and parking in no clearly discernible order, stopping in the middle of the ashpalt area to drop passengers off. On the other side to where we stood in the car park was a huge building that appeared to house the train station. With not too many other options, we walked over to the station to see what information we could gather, but at this stage not too perturbed knowing that we had plenty of time to work things out. In my head, I was repeating the Italian phrase for where is ferry port, ‘Dov e Stazione Marratima’, so if we had to ask directions, I could at least get across where we wanted to go.

Just inside the doors of the station we found a map of the town, showing us where we were now standing, and also hmarking the location of a marina. But there was no guarantee that the marina would be where the ferry would depart from, and we still had no clue how to get there. Some taxis were lingering out the front of the station, but as we didn’t know how far it was or how much it would cost, we were reluctant to take one for fear of being ripped off.

We looked around the station, and to our relief spotted a sign saying customer service. That this customer servie desk was for the train company didn’t faze us too much, and thankfully the gentleman who served us was very helpful, even though he spoke little English. He managed to tell us that one of the local orange buses hooning around outside should take us to the ferry port, but he could not tell us which one. Seemingly keen to help us out, he asked one of his workmates, but he could offer no further information. Then, with a lightbulb going off above his head, he told us there was a tourist information desk just nearby, “Across hall, left, next to coffe shop”

“Grazie, grazie.”

Across the hall, left, and next to the coffee shop we found the tourist information desk, and knew that our worries would soon be gone. Then we attempted to open the door. Locked. Huh? What’s going on? Hang on….. “hours, 9am – 1pm, 4pm – 10pm.” The time now – 1.30pm. Bugger. Back to square one. Ah, but we at least knew that one of the local orange buses would get us there, now we just had to work out which one. We walked back outside, heavy packs still on our back and getting heavier, and looked at the destination listed on the front of each bus in the hopes that one might say something along the lines of “Bus to ferry for tourists who have no idea what they’re doing”, but it was hopeless.

Milling about not far away was a large group of bus drivers, having a smoko between bus trips. It was now time to test out that new Italian I’d been practising. I approached one just on the periphery of the group,

“Uh, mi scusi. Ciao. Uh, dov e stazione marratima?”

The bus driver looked at me blankly.

“Uh, stazione marratima?” I tried again.

He turned to his mate next to him, a puzzled look on his face. Bec tried to help out, and we resorted to slow English accompained by hand signals, as you tend to do in these situations. “Ferry port. Boat.”

“The driver asked us something in Italian, leaving Bec and I looking at each other wondering what the hell he just said, and how we could communicate to these guys that we wanted to get to the ferry.

The two bus drivers spoke some more Italian to each other, and we repeated our original stazione marratima, along with a mention or two of Croatia and boat, and slowly but surely I think they were realising what we were after. The driver started speaking to us again in Italian, but Bec began to pick up a key word, “Dieci.”

“Ahh, dieci!” Bec responded. Ten.

“Ci, ci, diece.” the bus driver repeated, holding up ten fingers. Bus number ten would get us to the ferry. Awesome.

We looked for bus number ten but found none, instead locating the spot where it was scheduled to pull in to, took off our packs and sat to wait. A few minutes later (it was now getting close to 2pm), the bus pulled in and passengers started getting off. So that we were sure this was the correct bus and we wouldn’t end up going the wrong way, Bec went over to the driver to check that he went to the ferry port, whilst I stayed with the bags.

The bus driver spoke a little English, and according to Bec, the conversation went something like this, in slow and broken English,

“Ciao, uh, do you go to the ferry port,”

“Ferry port. Ci. Boat. Ci”

“Yes, you go to the ferry port, bus number ten.”

“Ferry port. No, you get taxi.”

“You don’t go to the ferry port?”

“No. Ferry Port, taxi. You must get taxi.”

The bus driver then went to great pains to explain to Bec that the taxi rink was in front of the station, and that we didn’t need to go inside.

Bec came out of the bus, and before she was back within earshot I put out my hands to ask how it went. She shook her head. Well, now, what other option did we have but to get a taxi. We didn’t want to risk the bus.

We struggled to get our heavy packs back on, went over to the taxi rink, organised a 10 euro fare to the ferry port, and got in. A few minutes later, and we were dropped at the door of the ferry terminal, and began to again relax. Sure, we paid way more than we should have for the taxi, but we’d hit thate stage where we didn’t care anymore, as long as it took the hassle out.

Once again, I stayed with bags out the front of the terminal while Bec went inside to buy our tickets. I had been sitting there for just a couple of minutes when I saw a sight that made my stomach churn. There, pulling up not twenty metres from where I sat, was the bloody number ten bus. And sitting behind the wheel was the exact bus driver Bec had spoken to.

“Oh man,” I thought, “she’s not going to like this.”

As new passengers were getting on the bus, Bec walked back out of the terminal, smiling with tickets in her hand. I simply looked at her and pointed in the direction of the bus.

Her eyes moved to her right. She saw the bus. Her mouth slowly opened. She looked back at me. Back at the bus. Back at me. And back at the bus one more time.

“What……the fuck…….is that!?!”

At that stage, the bus pulled away, before Bec could run over to the guy arms out to ask what the hell he was talking about back at the bus station.

Stupid number ten bus.

But we were there, we still had 20 minutes before the ferry left, and soon we would be crossing into Croation waters.

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One Response to “Pescara: What….the f*ck… that!?”

  1. Mark Hogan Says:

    God damn it! I so wanted Bec to catch the bus drivers’ eye, charge up to the bus and in the true Italian tradition, display her disgust purely through flamboyant hand gestures, much the same way that an overpaid Italian football star gets the message across to the referee.
    Hope you’re both well. I’ll send an email soon.


  2. Posted from Australia Australia
  3. Nicole Galland Says:

    Oh, what a deliciously painful laugh you gave me! A week from now I’ll be doing something similar (Vencie-Ancona-Croatia) so I’m glad to get a sense of what I’m in for! Thanks!

  4. Posted from United States United States
  5. admin Says:

    Mark, mate, I would’ve loved to have seen that as well. I was tempted to do it myself, but a) I had to watch the bags, and b) he would’ve had no idea who the hell I was, so it may not have achieved a lot. But anyway, we got there in the end.

    Keep the comments coming mate, it’s great to know people are reading this.

  6. Posted from Slovenia Slovenia
  7. admin Says:

    Hey Nicole, glad to be of help. Croatia was great, especially Korcula. I’m sure you’ll love it. Swimming in the Adriatic is pretty sweet.

  8. Posted from Slovenia Slovenia

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