Brindisi is a smallish port town on the southeast coast of Italy. Though it played a fairly important role for Italy during World War I, today it is not much more than a gateway to Greece. Ferries set sail and dock in Brindisi and most travelers spend only as much time there as required to move on to their next destination.
We, on the other hand, decided to train into town from Naples, check into the only hostel there, and then figure out our ferry plans to Greece. This isn’t quite as senseless as it sounds. I had a couple reasons for wanting to get to Brindisi before having a ferry plan. For one thing, the ferry schedules are erratic now that the summer season has ended, and we hear from travelers that info in books and on the internet is inaccurate. Best to buy ferry tickets in the port of departure now. The other reason I wanted to spend some time in Brindisi was just because the books don’t discuss it and other travelers don’t explore it. More than once I’ve traveled to places off the ‘travel radar screen’ and found the visit worthwhile or even special.
I wanted to like Brindisi. I had passed through the town years ago on my way to Greece, staying only long enough to jump on a ferry. Today I have absolutely no memory of that visit. This disturbs me. I want to get to know Brindisi this time. Little did I know as our train was pulling into town recently that I would, indeed, remember Brindisi for the rest of my life…..but not in a good way.
Brindisi “The Dark Blot” by Kathy
We arrived by 7-hour train ride from Naples to Brindisi, Italy – 3 hours later than we expected due to train delays. Our sole reason for being here is to catch a ferry for the western Greek island of Corfu. We learn from the first ticket agent we ask that the next one doesn’t leave until Friday, so the next three nights we will be here.
Turns out we should have kept asking…
Brindisi is filled with bad experiences for us:
1) My purse is stolen (with my credit cards, debit card, driver’s license, and my only pretty lipstick, but thankfully not my passport!)
2) The kids drop the laptop from the top bunk to the floor and break it, but we are able to repair it with just a bottom support knocked off.
3) John’s dust mite pillow cover is lost in the room.
4) The hostel is not very clean or comfortable, but it is the only one in Brindisi (I ask for fresh sheets and change the beds, but don’t notice much improvement in the sour smell.)
5) The laundry we pay the hostel manager too much to have cleaned comes back smelling sour and we don’t have time to rewash it all (it takes 2 days and several requests to get it back, so maybe it just sits and mildews in their washing machine.)
6) We spend hours and walk a dozen kilometers over 2 days trying to follow incomplete directions to the nearest ATM. The second time we use it, it doesn’t allow international transactions.
7) On our last day in Brindisi, John becomes very ill with a temp of 103.5 that is brought down a bit with acetaminophen (I walk several kilometers and go to 2 pharmacies to find it). Temp stayed around 101 for a week and symptoms develop into huge, painful blisters all over his tongue and inside of his mouth, and a very sore throat (cured in Corfu with help from goddess hostel owner mom, Madalena, and a visit to a Greek pediatric clinic. But then Sharon gets it, minus mouth sores. thank goodness.)
9) Ferry tickets that say Corfu are actually to Ignomenitsen, so it takes 2 hours longer than quoted and we have to take another 1.5 hour ferry to Corfu which makes our 6 pm arrival time actually after 10 pm.
Was there anything good about this place? I’m not sure I can say "yes" and that says a lot coming from this person with a sometimes nauseatingly positive personality. John did enjoy playing with the friendly pet dogs at the hostel. And it was a bit amusing that the Brindisi fountain Benito Mussolini erected didn’t work the day we viewed it. I saw that as fitting from that fascist dictator who in my humble opinion is a dark blot on Italy’s otherwise amazing history. Brindisi may be a dark blot on my memory of this trip.
OK, so as you can imagine I don’t really want to be repeating this but I owe it to my parents so here it is.
John and I were up on the top bunk playing a computer game when my DS flew down off the bed and on to the floor. I jumped down to receive it and luckily, it was ok. That should have been our warning but no. I got the DS, put it on the bottom bunk and went back to the top with John to finish the game.
While we were playing John was biting his nails (he has a bad habit), whenever John bites his nails we always remind him not to and move his hand away. So me, being the good sister trying to help him, pulled his hand away from his mouth, and told him to stop. Now you might think this is the part where it all goes wrong but in fact, you are wrong. John got annoyed with me because I am always trying to make him stop, so he play hit me. Then I play hit him back, and it goes on like that until it happens…
Now, you probably don’t know what the ‘disaster’ is so now I will tell you.
When John and I were play fighting (which we do often), no one was paying any attention to the computer so it decided it would just slip off the top bunk and crash itself right into the hard floor. Yep, that is what happened. Once it hit the floor, John and I jumped from the top bunk to the computer picked it up and examined it. The music we had been listening to had stopped and the screen was frozen. John and I were freaked out. We could just image how mad our parents were going to be when they came back from the store. We tried to fix it but we didn’t know what to do so we just had to wait for them to get back.
For those of you who don’t know what it feels like to wait for something bad to happen, let me just tell you, it is not a feeling I would like to ever feel again. Of course, when they got back they were mad. What parent wouldn’t have been? After a little while we had to go down stairs to eat lunch with everyone else in the hostel. Every bite I took I thought I was going to throw up. When we were done with lunch, my dad and the owner of the hostel (who is extremely nice) were luckily able to fix the computer, so now I can write this on it. Boy, were John and I relieved when we saw the computer up and running again, and we for sure learned our lesson.
P.S. Here’s what was wrong with the computer: Turns out that under that cover are two RAM memory cards. One of them had come out and was sticking up instead of laying flat. My dad put it back together. Once the card was put back on properly and the cover screwed back in, we turned on the computer and it worked.
How we almost broke the laptop.
It makes me sick to think about it so let’s make this short shall we?
Sharon and I were sitting on the top bunk and playing a game on the laptop and I was biting my nails so Sharon tried to stop me by holding my fingers but I tried to bite my fingers and was puling so Sharon let go and my fingers slapped my face so I poked Sharon and she poked me so we got in a fight and the computer dropped.