Well hi there, we’re in Bologna, Italy!
So we’ve finally left Spain which is much to the scepticism of some that this trip was about crossing Africa. Our stay in Barcelona was a blast, and while I was on the ferry trying to piece together in my diary what I had done in which order there still seems to be a few blanks.
Note to self: I must keep the diary up to date.
So in summary of the events in order: We arrived on Monday to Barcelona, and were unable to book ourselves into the same hostel I had reserved for Tuesday; however, luck being what it is, we were fortunately pointed to the sister hostel on the next block which did have 2 spare beds.
After the laborious task of walking our possessions from our bikes (parked as close as we could get them) to the hostel, and sorting ourselves out. Ed had decided he no longer wanted his armour he spent all year convincing me to buy, and we marched off to the post office to find out how much it would cost to send a package home. We bought a box and then returned to the hostel where we befriended Joe an Aussie backpacking Europe, we agreed on going on a bar-crawl or similar together.
Things as they are in Barcelona, invariably all offers are a scam; which luckily we did not subscribe too. We turned up to the first Irish pub where we agreed to meet the organiser, then we refused to pay the crawl fee, which thankfully worked out for us, as the “special discount” they were offering didn’t exist and we were served drinks (well Ed was) at the same rates as all the other punters. I’ll spare you every last detail of our night out being taken in with a group of ERASMUS Students from all over Europe.
Tuesday; after a weary start to the day after a late night, and changing hostels with all our possessions we settled in and met up with Bea (from last year), where we bought Ed a new biker jacket, and spine protector, then went for a ride up to la Rabasada, where we ate pipas and enjoyed the view and Bea got to practice her English. 😛 Following from the night before, we decided to have an early night in and stayed put.
The following day, Ed and I sent his big expensive box off to England and then went to the beach after a wander along La Rambla, and to the port. Where we saw various stripped down bikes… promising. It was rather windy and we got sun burnt tanned, that evening I was feeling rather under the weather from a cold I had been coming down with, so I left Ed to his devices that night with a group of Germans and Americans while I slept in.
Thursday; I woke up (2 hours after Ed arrived home) at 8am, had breakfast, sent a postcard (yes Mum, I’m still thinking of you), and in so doing befriended Amara (a Mongolian girl from the hostel) which we then agreed to go and visit Castell Montjuïc with her dorm friend Claudia… (this was all while Ed recovered from his night out). Later that evening Vidal phoned me to let me know he was in Barcelona and we arranged for me to pick him up from the industrial estate in the port. On returning, we met Bea and her boyfriend, Vivi (Bea’s friend) and had a meal. Ed by this point wasn’t feeling so good and decided he would leave us to our Spanish thing while he recovered in the hostel. It was a good night with my friends.
Friday, was mostly a non-event day, mostly due to the heavy rain outside and the cool climate, we sauntered to find some clothes and bought Ed a pair of shorts and me a pair of España boxers (€2 you saw them here first). The evening was followed by much riotous behaviour and general shenanigans that westerners do when they’ve had too much to drink in a foreign country. I ended up coming home early at 2-3am leaving the others to cause their own mayhem.
Lastly, Saturday (our last day in Barcelona), we were meant to sail at midnight that night, however, through an email from Grimaldi Lineas we were informed our crossing to Livorno was delayed until 6am the following day, with a check-in at 4am. Our hostel was unable to book us in another night (being Saturday and all), and the misery of moving all our things from one place to another we decided to just set up camp in the common room space in the hostel until the ferry.
However, prior to all that, we went to the market and then met up with Bea and co and hang out a while, talked bikes and the usual. We had a really difficult time trying to sleep in the common room in the hostel and despite Ed being able to sleep, I wasn’t so lucky. We got to the port in the dead of night unsure whether the boat was going to sail or if it had already gone.
Much to our distress after boarding, and finding that we were on a freight boat, with heavily ventilated (which means loud and cold) common rooms with leatherette sofas to sleep on, we enquired about a cabin to find that they were €140 each, and turned our noses up. Later on we were informed by one of the other passengers that due to the delay (having still not set sail), that they were offering all passengers a cabin as compensation. Much to our joy we had a lovely cabin with a shower, fresh sheets and towels and all the luxuries we’d not had since Lodosa. Just before we nodded off we had a minor disturbance from one of the deck-hands hammering on our cabin door regarding a motorcycle leaking fuel (yep that’s mine, float bowl seems to be jamming), I rushed down and closed the fuel tap, problem solved; this was about 5:40. We fell into a deep sleep and we awoke about 12 Sunday.
In order to preserve some sanity Ed and I paced around the boat walking the 2 available decks (a canteen and an entertainment room) and the outdoors areas to keep ourselves active. The freight of the boat was mostly Mercedes-Benz vans and from what I recall seeing last night a load of petroleum/oil tankers. Later we enquired what ghastly hour we were going to be arriving in Livorno, fearing that 2am would be on the books, but much to our surprise the arrival time was predicted to being 6am Monday morning, which is approximately 12 hours later than the estimated arrival time, I later questioned the actual departure time, and found that we hadn’t set sail at 6am as predicted but much later, which meant that most of the time we were asleep in our cabin we were still docked in Barcelona. How odd was that??
So finally, today: we docked almost 7am (not 6) in Livorno, got Ed some fuel, drove to Pisa took some photos. We arrived at Bologna at 11, found a hostel by 13:00 which looks like an ex-school building, finally, ate our first food at 16:00 by which time I was at my wits end, shaking in a nervous state (although we had a pastry at 7:30am so we “had” eaten… and I’d been up since before 4am). Not a good day for Neil today. I hope to get some rest now.
Additionally, we’ve gone about repairing the float in my carburettor as it’s annoying me now. I filmed it but it got dark before we finished.
Anyhow, enjoy the photos!