Driving through ferry ports

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freddie
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 3:54 pm
Location: UK

Driving through ferry ports

Postby freddie » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:26 pm

Hello,

A question for those of you who have driven to Crete via Italy and used the ferries. How straightforward was the drive around the port areas? I feel quite comfortable driving a long distance, but the thought of driving through Italian and Greek cities doesn't fill me with glee. The busiest Greek town I've driven in was Mitilini. This was ok, but I did at least have some idea of where I was going, having been through the same area in a taxi. I have never been to Piraeus and wonder if there is a lot of of city driving involved as well as lots of scope for confusion at the port itself. How about Venice and Patras?

Freddie

The Adjectival LFB
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Location: In a cool, dry place.

Postby The Adjectival LFB » Sun Aug 19, 2007 4:10 pm

Dear Freddie,
If you want to generally de-stress your trip down here from the UK, I can thoroughly recommend that you consider the purchase of a “satnav”. For a long time I railed against the idea of having anything to do with them, but they really are an example of a new fangled thing being the way forward. Downside is they don’t work in Greece, but by the time you’ve got to an Italian port you’ll probably have gained enough confidence to go with flow in Greece. The “TomTomGo” seems to be the best bet at the moment.

If you opt for a trip with no sat-thing check out www.viamichelin.com for help before you leave. Driving in Italy and Greece is all about confusion to the Brit, but relax, look at the signage and you should be OK.

Regards LFB.
Last edited by The Adjectival LFB on Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lowell, Frank and Townes - all gone now.

filippos
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Postby filippos » Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:33 pm

We used the Ancona route as we like the Anek ferries. Ancona was very easy to negotiate but the queue to actually board the ferry got a bit chaotic. Mind you we were late arriving and were virtually right at the back and got tangled up with the boarding line for Igoumenitsa and couldn't get out of it. No problem though as the loading officer just shrugged and directed us off to one side of the deck space reserved for Igoumenitsa. As it turned out that meant we were nearly first off at Patra. The nineteen hour voyage was very relaxing after the drive, too. One of the good things about Anek (certainly if coming to Souda) is that you can get on the boat virtually anytime. It leaves Piraeus at about 9:00 p.m. but we were able to board as soon as we arrived at about 4:00.

Patra to Piraeus is very straightforward being excellent standard motorway for most of the way. It is a toll road but when we did it four years ago the total cost was about €4. From the motorway to the port was easy enough, too, with decent signage.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with satnav. I did our planning using the viamichelin site (which was excellent then as has been improved since). You can check shortest route, quickest, michelin recommended, M-way or avoiding tolls etc., etc. Michelin give well detailed routes with clear instructions and you can, if you wish, break the route down into very short sections to get good detail to go through or round towns.

Through France we avoided the M-ways and used the A roads instead. For quite long distances they're quite close to M-ways so if you get delayed you can divert quite easily. Our experience of the French non-M-ways was that they were fast, safe and didn't carry much traffic. We didn't use the Italian autostrada on our return journey either and that was straightforward, too.

With the ferry companies, whichever you use, book the international and domestic parts of the journey at the same time as most (if not all) the companies give a decent discount - and another if you're going back and book everything together. (We did Crete/UK/Crete).

The best maps I found for France and Italy were the Hallwag International ones. http://www.hallwag.com. Very clear and include larger scale insets of many of the larger towns.

Filippos.

P.S. If you want links to ferry company sites they're on my web site if you click the www button below.

The Adjectival LFB
Posts: 147
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Location: In a cool, dry place.

Postby The Adjectival LFB » Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:08 am

Personally, I wouldn't bother with satnav.

I am the original Luddite but sometimes, once you have tasted the forbidden fruit, one's perception of everything changes. No one needs a mobile phone, but I suspect you have one. Who needs email when we have the fax? The Internet - what's the use of that?

Obviously there is no use for one in Greece but when functional they save time, fuel and brain cells. No contest.

Regards LFB.
Lowell, Frank and Townes - all gone now.

Kinda
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:56 pm

Postby Kinda » Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:14 am

H ALFB

I realise your posting was a "tongue-in-cheek" criticism of modern communication methods but I just can't understand how we get by without the mobile. I know we did but now there is a lot more convenience and immediacy, I can remember when I worked in Lesotho and we used to have to wait at the post office while they booked a call for us and it used to take the morning with the travel an all. For me no contest.

Prior to the fax machine we used to use the (?) forgotten the name but it was printed out and send via the telephone lines and was very expensive. Look how emails have improved communication in terms of speed and cost!

Kinda wonderin how we managed before?

Assimilate
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Postby Assimilate » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:09 am

GPS works in Greece. One place you can get the maps from, is here

filippos
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Postby filippos » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:49 am

T ALF B

It's not that I'm a Luddite, although I probably am, and I wasn't condemning satnav. I did say, "Personally, ....."

Part of the pleasure of the trip was planning the route rather than just following disembodied instructions. Method? Basic route from viamichelin; mark on map; spot places that might be interesting; plan various diversions etc.

The routes I chose to and from the UK were so straightforward that, with a little preparation and a decent map, satnav would have been redundant. We went via Ancona and Alessandria in Italy, meandered through France to the UK then returned via France, Austria, NE Italy by way of Glorenza then via Verona back to Ancona. (Avoided Switzerland when I discovered I might get stuck with a half-yearly M-way toll for the sake of about 10Km).

Even if satnav worked here I don't see the point. Crete is too small to get seriously lost and we've found some fascinating places by inadvertently taking a 'wrong' route to a planned destination ("planned" in a very loose sense).

I use the Internet a great deal for various purposes, including e-mail, and could justify most of the use (don't want to bore everyone here). I do have a mobile but could live without it. I make, maybe, 10 - 15 calls per year because of idleness rather than need. (My previous 'phone was de-activated because I hadn't added credit to the original £10 for more than 12 months.) Mine functions mainly as a timepiece as I haven't worn a watch since coming to Crete. My wife has a mobile mainly in case the car breaks down when she's out on her own.

Back to satnav; it may save time, fuel and brain cells but here time is unimportant, I don't drive far enough for fuel saving to be significant and anyway, generally, I know where I'm going and how to get there - and often there aren't many choices. I certainly couldn't justify one for getting back to the UK, always supposing I wanted to go in the first place.

Filippos.

P.S. I do use fax occasionally but only because our bank won't accept instructions by e-mail.

Jean
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Famous last words

Postby Jean » Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:44 am

Crete is too small to get seriously lost


Couldn't help thinking about these two Polish tourists who died last month.

Nita
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Location: Chania

Postby Nita » Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:29 pm

Kinda wrote:Prior to the fax machine we used to use the (?) forgotten the name but it was printed out and send via the telephone lines and was very expensive.


Think you may mean Telex. That brings back memories, especially of typing out lengthy messages only for someone to come along and accidentally stand on the tape and break it!!!

freddie
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 3:54 pm
Location: UK

Postby freddie » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:20 pm

Thank you all, very reassuring stuff. I'll consider the sat nav, although road map reading is one of my very few practical skills.

Freddie

filippos
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Re: Famous last words

Postby filippos » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:18 am

Jean wrote:
Crete is too small to get seriously lost


Couldn't help thinking about these two Polish tourists who died last month.
Sorry, Jean, I meant getting lost while driving.

Filippos.


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