We leave from the Kirik's villa, where we would have happily stayed waiting for the swimming pool.
This time, however, we take the right path and in just over an hour we are in Varna, we call Niki who brings us the package (video equipment) that our production team in Milan send us (to her address).
The French family that was supposed to arrive by ferry from Georgia a few days ago didn't show up... bad sign!
We buy something from the Pekara (bakery) before heading to the elusive port of Beloslav. While we eat we're approached by a French gentleman, Daniel, who would have to take the ferry to Georgia two weeks ago (leave every two weeks), but once he arrived at the port to make the ticket he was told that they only accept Euros or Dollars and he had only Leva. They do not accept cards, so the poor Daniel goes to the ATM but the cost of the ticket exceeds the maximum withdrawable per day. In conclusion, bye bye ferry. And now he's from 15 days in Varna awaiting the ferry of tomorrow. The tickets, as we were told on the phone, are available only few hors before the beginning of the boarding. Too bad no one has told us that the departure is 20 kilometers from Varna and that you can only pay in Euros, luckily we met him!
We say goodbye to Daniel, we'll see him tomorrow and for the next four days and we're going to change our money into Euros. The road to Beloslav is quiet, only towards the end there is a slope that kills me... We meet again Daniel who is going to give food to a stray dog with whom he became friend.
We arrive at the "harbor", which is basically a parking lot where there is a dozen trucks, some cars and the caretaker. In front of us, docked in the canal leading to the Black Sea, the ferry, actually a cargo ship that has had its days. But at least it's there, it's already something!
We ask the caretaker if we can pitch our tent in the meadow near there and he says there is no problem. Well, let's go to bed early hoping that tomorrow the ship is still there and that there are no more surprises!
Beloslav (on the ground)-Beloslav (on the ship)
At 7:00 we wake up, we should set off at 9.00.
At 8:30 am we head towards the "Ticket office" that I do not know how to describe. It 'a building that looks abandoned by at least twenty years, on it's side there is another block that was once a bar/souvenir dealer. Now there is no longer even a floor, only stray dogs and brave plants! A wreck sign says that this is the port of Varna! Finally at 9.00 (in theory departure time) a guy shows up to open the door of the building, we ask if we can make the tickets and he tells us we arrived too early, we shall come back at least to 1:00 pm!
Okay! We wait, in the meantime we are going to tell Daniel that is in the parking lot.
The wait is long, we get to play cards (scopa) while we see the truck drivers rebounding from one building to another without understanding what they need to do! They are all visibly taken aback by the situation. Above all everybody speaks only Bulgarian and the poor truck drivers do not understand anything (we too of course). We just have to laugh about it! Daniel manages to make the ticket, but we do not. The guy tells us that we have all day... and it's true, we discover that the ship will leave tomorrow!
But we can all happily board today and we will also have dinner! Hurray! We're hungry, five hours waiting here, no food at all, and no places to buy some in the neighborhood. So Daniele and Daniel take a ride to the village to buy something and I remain to guard the door of the ticket office waiting to ask for the tenth time the same guy if I can do the tickets. Around 3 pm, two German guys on bicycles arrive, I do not understand what are they doing there at that hour. We were told that the ship would have left this morning at 9:00! They tell me that they were told that the ship would be leaving this evening at 19.00. I tell them about the further delay and the currency problems. One of the guys goes to the office to meet the sympathetic ticket man. The other tells me they set off from Frankfurt, also the 5th of May, and are doing our same trip! In any case, after a few minutes, the guy comes out with the tickets, and paid for them in Leva! Ok, keep calm! I try for the umpteenth time at the office and finally I can have my ticket! It is only a receipt but I pay about 50€ less than the Germans, I do not know why and it is useless to wonder!
Daniele and Daniel are back, and we all go together on the ship! Luckily we have a beer! The crew give us cabins which are not for four people (as we where told) but for two. Luckily we are alone. In all, we are fifteen passengers, the five of us "tourists" and ten truck drivers.
In twelve hours we did a hundred meters from the ticket office to the ship, good average...
And so tonight we're here, let's go over the bridge to have a beer with the others. AT 7pm we're summoned for dinner, fried potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers and meatballs, I say that I'm a vegetarian and I got some cheese. We thought worse, the dishes are already prepared, the quality is not great but it is not true that is so scarce (as we had read in various travel reports on the Internet). We have to sit still for four days, we don't need so much energy...
We go in the TV room where we watch the first matches of the World Cup before going to bed, tomorrow morning at 10:00 we go! We hope!
sailing from Beloslav
At 10:00 am obviously not moving at all!
Great... the ship is still better than what we expected, the cabins are well maintained, there is a private bathroom with a shower, the water is warm, there is a window and we have 3 meals a day. But the TV does not work during the crossing so no more games!
The crew call us at 11:30 for lunch (a bit 'too early for us...) and while we eat finally the ship starts moving! Doing very little noise, as opposed to what we thought.
It does not seem real! Suddenly, as I leave the cab, I get in front of a short guy with a t-shirt of Italy, shorts of italy and flip-flops of Italy! Impressive, how could we didn't notice him before? We go out on the deck wondering from where he popped out, we think it could be really Italian, but we hope not...
On the bridge we meet him again, it's with another funny guy, looks like the brother of Super Mario, Luigi. We find out that they are from Azerbaijan but one of them is a big fan of Italy... and three times world champion of judo (he shows us the pictures to prove that), the mysteries of life! In any case, they want to offer us vodka (it's 12:30am). It's forbidden to bring alcohol on the ship, but no one seems to notice or care about. At the end we accept. Come on in their cabin that is more "luxurious" than ours, they also have the television, we get a bit 'of vodka, the Italy's fan only drink ron and the other gulps down almost a bottle in a sip. It begins to show us a video of a Natasha (prostitute) who he called in the hotel where he was in Varna, then some naked girls in a discotheque, very interesting! Too much vodka, too many Natashe, is enough for us, we go in our cab to rest.
After dinner (I eat fried cheese and the others something that they say is in between chicken and fish) go in the TV lounge where Luigi (also called Stalin because of his mustache) begin to put a dvd after the other in search of naked women... We give up and go to sleep.
Fear and Loathing on the ship!
We wake up early, here if you don't come in time they close the dining room and no more din-dins! It 'a little' like a jail, but with a pretty and a nice sea around. And most importantly, lasts only four days. We see dolphins, here there are so many!
At lunchtime, delirium. We are already at the table when it comes Luigi/Stalin completely drunk and starts a singing show! Finally he sits at his table next to ours, with a full glass of vodka, which promptly he guzzle to the last drop, and then a second and a third one. After about ten minutes of the show he wants to force me to drink vodka, then kisses me on the cheek... The situation degenerates a bit, only during lunch he swigs a whole bottle of Vodka. Here comes the waiter/bartender of the ship (I think the passenger officer or something like that) that scolds him, but he's by the time completely gone. The judo champion who is there with him plays dumb, maybe a little ashamed... or maybe he's used to. So in the end, Daniele gets angry, Daniel gets angry, everybody gets angry! Poor Stalin... But today he drank too much, now he goes to take a nap (hoping it does not keep on drinking) and maybe at dinner he will be better.
The afternoon continues quiet, calm sea, blue, dolphins.
At 17:30 it's time for dinner, we do not manage to get used to the schedules (just us and the French friend), we try to pretend not to have heard the call but after a quarter of an hour we must surrender and go to eat. Today strange sausages with melted cheese inside. The German guys are horrified. At the end, being vegetarian saved me, for me slices of cheese, for other ambiguous meat.
new destination, Poti
Description of the passengers. There we are, the two German cyclists, the french Daniel who thinks he'll find his Eldorado in Armenia, passionate about Jesus and the Gospels and tired of 'the West, full of people intellectually impoverished. And these are the "tourists". Then there are a very nice Romanian truck driver, who speaks a little 'English and carries a load of cigarettes to Yerevan, a job slightly' dangerous. He tells us that in Italy they tried to throw the truck off the road to rob him, he doesn't give a fuck, he says, "if they let me go safe I'm ready to give keys and truck". In any case, as we understand has a security system that allows him to close into the cabin. All truckers agree on the fact that Italy is a dangerous place. Then there is a Polish truck driver with its cargo of about twenty cows (he is not at robbery risk), is a bit 'worried due to the delay because he has food for 3 days and the ship has already been delayed by a day and then there is a cow that should give birth within a week. He made friends with another truck driver, a Georgian giant that always wear suspenders (sometimes with nothing underneath). It 'a gentle giant. When sightings of dolphins they always call us. Then there are the two Azeris. And two Armenians with gold teeths. There is another truck driver who remains isolated, I think it is Bulgarian. Needless to say I'm the only woman on the ship. In addition to the cooks maybe, but we have never seen them.
The Polish truck driver tells us that we will not get to Batumi, but Poti, about 70 miles north. We don't where the news came from but it's true. Apprise us would not be a bad idea... We should arrive tomorrow.
At about 11 pm, they tell us that at 1:00 in the morning we will go to the port and the police will come on board for passport control. Finally we see the lights of the harbor in the distance, the moon is huge and beautiful and we hear the sound of dolphins jumping in the water. try to get some sleep before the police comes.