Day 13 - Vesuvius and ferry to Sicily
The ferry to Palermo would leave not earlier than 8:00 in the evening. I had the entire day before the departure and I was going to spend it by hiking to Vesuvius. Vulcan mountain was easy to hike. Most of the path could be done with a vehicle, and only the last 2.5 kms had to be done on feet. On that day, despite my lovely hosts, everyone else wanted to find a way to make money from me. In the morning, a Polish couple wanted to share their car with me for a fee that was much above what it would cost me taking my motorcycle. I arrived at a parking lot half way to the summit where I had to pay for a parking, which I was not using anyway. A guard asked me, if I could give him a ride up to the second stage for a free coffee, where most of touristic buses were parked. We both arrived there, and I realized that I got screwed. The guard had not informed me that I had to buy an entry ticket several meters down the hill, and I had to got back to the ticket office, buy the entry ticket and walk back up the hill. I had not taken my sandals, and walking in heavy biker shoes was not the most comfortable thing to do. I did not get the promised coffee, and instead I was proposed a shot of coffee liqueur, which I could not drink because I was riding. Every meter, pushy sellers were offering "cheaper" water. Awful toilets on the way were overpriced. Once I reached the top, everyone who was coming from Naples would soon find out that making a full circle around crater was reserved only for those coming from Pompeii. Once I reached the dead end, I had to come back the same way I came. This did not make the trip very exciting. Although from a historical, and scenic point of view, I could not complain. The day was very hot, volcanic dust covered my boots and jeans, and the Harley was seal-reddish from the color of volcanic rock.
Around 3:00 pm, I came back to my hosts house who were very kind and allowed me to stay and wait for my ferry at their place instead of at the harbor. The temperatures were very high and no one was eager to stay outside.
I had to be at the harbor at 6:00 in the evening. Before the departure, I filled the tank completely and checked the motorcycle. I entered the port, followed the signs to the ferry carrier, which was a swim and search sign with an appropriate picture of a vehicle. A service man checked my identification numbers and booking and gave me an entry number. I was the only motorcycle driver waiting for the entry on a separate line, and I was getting very excited, the next day I was going to be in Sicily!