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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Boat - Genoa to Barcelona

I can't say I had a wonderful sleep - the mattress on the bed had these really annoying plastic buttons that would dig into you whenever you moved.


The porter came at the appointed time with my breakfast - the €11 charge came as a bit of a surprise for what was basically a cup of coffee, a juice and a croissant.

Just so you get an idea of the room I'm in, here's a pic


this is actually quite lavish when compared to windowless boxes found in the rest of the ship - they have all the charm and ambience of a mausoleum.


And this is the view that I had out of my window.

After my breakfast feast I decide to explore a little more of the ship in the daylight and I head up one flight to the top deck


You won't believe how noisy it is up here and how fast the boat is really travelling. It's also here right under those exhaust stacks that you'll find the animals - cats and dogs are penned there for the trip. The owners can take them out but can only let them run around on this deck.

For lunch I decide to brave the restaurant and this is what I got (with a bottle of water) for €15


Over lunch I play sms tag with my Sister and Paalo who are having a much better time having dinner and real food!

I don't have much to do for the rest of the day - I've already packed away all my stuff and are eager to get off this boat.

From spending time in the piano bar I've come to a few conclusions. I would have thought that the priority of a piano bar entertainer would be the ability to
a. play the piano and
b. sing
It seems that both these things have passed old Atillo by.

The piano playing consists of knocking on the occasional key as the piano plays electronically. As for singing, I think Atillo was just making it up as he goes along.

As we near Barcelona I head out to the deck to get my first look and yes indeed I can make out the outline of the city in the distance. It won't be long, I thought to myself and I'll be off this tin can.

Boy, was I wrong.

The speakers crackle and the Captain tells us to listen as there's an important announcement. So far, I don't see any problem.

A few minutes later and he's back and drops the bombshell - the fishermen are on strike and have closed the port. This means we won't be allowed to dock and for the moment are stuck at sea.


That's the censored version of the passengers thoughts and you seriously don't want to know what I was thinking.

I don't know what time it was in oz but I called Paalo to let him know of my situation a situation that became worse as I was on the phone as the news came through that all the ports in Spain had now been closed.


In the following hours many calls were made - cancelling my apartment in Barcelona and trying to explain my situation to them, relatives in France had made calls to the ship line and were told that the ship was heading to Marseilles. On the boat we were kept mysteriously in the dark, no-one wanting to release any information of where the boat was heading.

While outside on the deck and talking with Paalo at the time, the boat was in the midst of a 180° turn - in doing so I saw first hand the massive queue of ships and tankers that had already formed at sea and we were now sailing away from it. They may not have been telling us where we were going but we were definitely sailing away from Barcelona.

If it was true that the boat was heading to Marseilles then we'd be arriving around midnight. Back home, Paalo put the amex concierge at work organising accommodation and the like.

As I waited in my cabin a porter knocked on my door with a message to go to the check-in desk. The desk is 5 floors down and in the opposite end of the boat.

When I arrived I was told that they needed my passport.


Since I don't carry my passport on my person I headed back to my cabin where I needed to take about 15 minutes to calm down. I suppose it just might have been too difficult to actually write on the note that was sent to my room that they wanted my passport.

I'm glad I took that 15 minutes as what followed was more frustration. When I returned one of the women wanted to take my passport and KEEP IT. Hang on a second. I wasn't going to be giving my only form of identification to this person.

Sorry, I said, I can't do that. I don't know where this boat is going. Once I know where this boat is going I'll happily give you my passport.

That didn't go down well, by the end three women were trying to bully me into handing over my passport. Not on your life sisters!

It was perhaps two or three hours later that the captain finally let us in on the plans - we were heading back to Genoa! As a form of compensation, both dinner and breakfast would be free for all passengers.

The dinner experience was an example of the abject greed of some people.


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