Days 33 to 41 – Brindisi

Well, my package never turned up. It was sent on 21 August, and after 16 days I’ve given up. Royal mail lost track of it when it left the UK. The Italian Post service have no trace of it. I was waiting so long that the hostel owner, Maurizio, called in a favour with a friend at the sorting office in Brindisi to make absolutely sure it wasn’t there. So James will be claiming the insurance from Royal Mail.
I’ve had a good time in Brindisi though. Met lots of lovely people at the hostel (in order(ish) – Camilla, Harry, Nike and Rike, Yaniv, Chris, Heather, Tara, American girls from Ohio (sorry! can’t remember names), Sven, Dale and Steph, Martin, and Max). Hopefully I’ll keep in touch with some of them!

My daily routine in Brindisi went something like: wake up, have breakfast at hostel, go to internet cafe, check parcel, go back to hostel, read war and peace, find something for dinner, read more war and peace, go to bed. Quite simple really, and a bit too predictable – the people at the post office and internet cafe got to know me quite well!

When Sven arrived, he was talking about buying a bike, and heading into Greece. I said I’m heading that way soon, and we decided to go together. Fortunately Brindisi has a Decathlon, so we got Sven a good cheap bike, and after a few more days organising and waiting for the package, we set off.

After the 8 days in Brindisi, I could wait for the parcel no more, so me and Sven headed off to Greece.

Ferries from Brindisi go to Igoumenitsa in Greece at 9pm, and arrive at 6am. Two companies have the same schedule, and their brochures say so. We went to the ticket office and said we were two cyclists wanting the cheapest passage to Igoumenitsa. They sold us a ticket for Agoudimos. We go to the post at 8pm, to find there is no Agoudimos sailing at 9pm to Igoumenitsa – it goes at 10:30am or something instead. It was too late to go back to the ticket office and change the ticket, so we were forced to buy tickets with Endeavour instead, and lose the original ticket price.

Because of this, I am declaring an official boycott of Agoudimos and the ticket office opposite the station in Brindisi (it’s to the right as you look at the internet cafe with blue awnings). This boycott, and this message on the blog, can be cleared if the original ticker price is refunded.

Also in Brindisi I got business cards printed. Lots of people I meet ask for my website, and I tell them, and they probably forget, or I spend 5 minutes trying to find a pen and paper to write it down. A couple of tourers I’ve met have given me their card, and a few other people have asked if I have a card. Well I do now. The shop in Brindisi said give us the text, and we’ll design it for you. I went back the next day to check the design, and they’d put a sunset picture as the background, used blue and red text, multiple fonts, and a few spelling mistakes. I asked if I could change it – they said write the changes on the paper. I then said can’t I just do it myself on the computer. A few minutes in Adobe InDesign later, and my cards are now white, with black text, in ariel font. Much better!

I also took the opportunity of having a lot of time to fix up my bike. It’s all running very well now, except for one thing. I changed the chain, and chucked the old one out. The next day I rode the bike, and the new chain is slipping. The old chain had worn down and lengthened, and the sprockets had worn to its length. Now the new chain is too short. I basically need new sprockets. I did manage to get it going in the mean time though by reversing the 15t sprocket, but the 13t can’t be reversed. It means I have half as many gears, but can continue for now.

The problem though, is getting replacements. They are basically only available in the UK, and I’ve already wasted 8 days waiting for one parcel.

One amazing thing happened. Coming out of Decathlon (staff in there got to know me as well!) with Sven, the sky was dark, and lightning was coming down in the distance. We then saw what looked like a meteorite falling through the sky, bright ball of light, with a tail, traveling slowly. Turns out it is ball lightning, which is really cool. The Queen song “thunderbolts and lightning…” suddenly makes more sense, although it was frightening!

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