Thursday, 13 January 2011

Mr Grimaldi, you give me the ships!

Trains are fun. Way more fun than planes. Trains make you comfy and relaxed. And comfy, relaxed people are more interesting to talk to than stressed out, cramped and rushed people. Planes take you away from reality for a few hours, make you uncomfortable, stressed, and stop you from sleeping, and then they spit you out, disoriented and tired at the other end.
Flying is like a really slow, uncomfortable teleporting process. Or maybe more like the digestive process (you enter the mouth looking and feeling great, spend the entire trip in horrible cramped conditions in the gut, and then, well you know how it ends).
Trains on the other hand take you on a real journey, an adventure! They don't try to trick you by defying gravity or making you breathe fake air, they don't even need attractive hostesses or an in-flight movie to distract you from your discomfort because the view out the window is always interesting. Also it seems real humans catch trains, while boring suits catch planes. Sucked in.
But when I left Finland bound for Germany I discovered that ships could be even more fun than trains! Even more comfy, even more relaxing, and everyone has all the time in the world and wants a chat.
I had such a good trip across the Baltic Sea with Tallink ferries that I was determined to get on at least one more overnight ferry during this trip, and when I saw the chance to sail from Spain to Italy with Grimaldi Lines, my eyes lit up.

But unfortunately it turns out that not all ships are fun. Some ships are a bit dodgy, charge like a wounded bull for barely edible food, have broken internet, make strange irregular banging noises all through the night that make sleep impossible, carry disease that instantly makes you sick, and then arrive in port close to midnight instead of 7pm, making me miss all connecting trains to my booked hotel in Florence that night 100km away. Some ships need a punch in their shippy faces!

So what does one do when sick and stranded in an Italian port in the middle of nowhere at 11pm? Well it turns out that one takes a very expensive taxi ride to Pisa and then hangs out in the freezing cold with a bunch of homeless people outside the railway station for a few hours until the 2am night-bus arrives to eventually get me to Florence around 4am. Well that's what I did anyway. The only highlight was a surprisingly good kebab from the kebab shop near the railway station.
And then of course when I awoke the next day I had a full-blown flu, which kept me in bed for the next 4 days before I could even think of going out for a walk, wasting a heap of my time in Florence.
So thanks Mr Grimaldi. You suck. I'm going to stick to trains.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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