October 29, 1996
Before we arrived at Bari, there was a lifeboat drill, where they explained how to use
the life vests, where to go, etc, etc. I hadn't realized they did that, assuming
that the safety features would be read much like on an airplane flight. Still, we
climbed into our vests and went to our muster stations until we head the all clear (or
until the boat actually started sinking, whichever came first).
After the drill, I wandered on over to the Puccini Ballroom where they were playing
trivia games (in English). Against lots of (mostly older) couples, I didn't do too
Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
Our first stop on the cruise was Bari, Italy. My first hint of
what the town was like was given by our tour guide, who said to leave all valuables,
jewelry, purses, etc. on the ship. Apparently in Bari, the words "Tourist Trap"
take on a whole new meaning! A few people have actually been mugged there on past cruises.
This should be interesting...
As we docked, I saw something: a section of the bridge had opened out over the side of
the ship. The captain was navigating from that little extension as we eased into the
dock. I didn't know these ships could do that!!
Bari turned out to be pretty nifty, after all. Bari has some interesting Medieval
fortifications, as well as a few picturesque sites. Just in town was the
Normanno Svevo Castle (a.k.a, the Norman-Swabian Castle of Bari) which seemed to be almost
intact (aside from the wear and tear of weather). There was the interesting San
Sabino Cathedral (a.k.a. Bari's Cathedral) not too far away as well (destroyed and
built many times over the years, apparently). Unfortuately, a lot of the
architecture was blackened from pollution, although I saw cleaning projects here and
there. Much better sites awaited, though...
One other thing was immediately obvious as I wandered the city: the natives drive like
fools. I was nearly clipped at least three times while trying to navigate some of
the narrower streets. Watch where you're going, blast it all!
On to Olympia
As we left port, I found out later that the real reason we stopped there is to pick up
more honeymoon couples (there were over 100 honeymoon couples on the ship for the
Time for dinner!
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© 1997-2000 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002