The train ride to Ancona was fun because at last, though I had been on the east coast of Italy since Sunday morning, it was only now that I saw the sea. And then from Ancona station I rushed to the port, for if I missed the ferry that evening, Tuesday November 1st, I had to wait till the Friday for the next.

I got a bus to the port but then spent ages trying to get on the ferry for, though I was directed there soon enough, after a long walk I was told that the ticket office was at the other end. Again I had to walk, but though it was very dark I still had more than an hour, and when I got to the office it was to find that tickets were readily available. But I was very tired so I took a cabin, regretting the energy of my youth when I would have taken a seat and slept on it contentedly.

There was a bus to the ferry from the office, and a nice young man at the place it stopped took on my luggage for he must have seen I was exhausted. And soon enough I was on board, and shown to a perfectly comfortable cabin, and then I dashed upstairs to get a drink and dinner since I had eaten nothing since breakfast.

It was cold on the top deck, but I was well wrapped up, so I had a beer up there and then another, and then took a simple fish dish and chips with dollops of mayonnaise up to the deck and ate and drank as we slowly sailed out of Ancona. I lingered long there, until the lights were far in the distance, under a moon that seemed almost full, though there were days to go for this.

I had a long deliciously warm shower and slept well, but set my alarm so I would be up for the sunrise. Needless to day, I was far too early, for a long time the only person astir, looking nostalgically at the few youngsters spread out on the ground. But the bar provided coffee and I was up on deck, moving now to the bow so I could see the light gradually emerge, and then a light or two on the shore, and then the hills of Croatia.

Birds were stirring, and a few boats, as we moved into dock, and I stayed there till the ship had stopped, and then packed up hastily and trundled my little suitcase off while the cars which had filled the ferry drove away. But it was a short enough walk to town, or rather the outskirts where the bus station was, for I had decided that, instead of finding a hotel and then waiting to be admitted, I would go on to Dubrovnik.

That had not initially been my plan, but with three days to spare I thought I should return to the place I had loved on my first visit to Yugoslavia in 1972, so much so that four years later I detoured to stay there again on my way to Greece. I had been back twice more, on the ship, in 1986 and 1990, and thought I should not pass up the opportunity to bid farewell to the place. 

The pictures move from the train ride to the lights of Ancona behind us with the moon above the town, and then morning coffee on the bow, with another aficionado of emerging light, and then the emerging town; and then another cycle, Ancona before we left and fellow passengers sleeping on the deck, the last lights of Ancona, an early boat near Split, and finally the sun about to emerge.

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