Our cruise left from and returned to Savona, Italy. Our planned intinerary included Barcelona, and Malaga, Spain, Funchal, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Casablanca, Morocco, and Rome. We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Morocco, and because it fit our schedule. I would much rather have gone to Istanbul, but Andy wasn’t home in time for those trips this season. Perhaps another time.
After much consideration, we decided to drive to Savona instead of flying or taking the train. It perhaps wasn’t the best choice economically, but it gave us the most flexibility. We left on a Saturday, planning to arrive Saturday night in Genoa, then attend church Sunday morning before getting on the boat on Sunday afternoon.
It took about 9 hours to drive to Genoa from our house. We went over the Alps, through Austria and Switzerland, around Milan and finally reached Genoa at dark. One thing that I have noticed about driving in Europe: once you leave Germany, you might as well be driving in Utah on I-15, in a construction zone, behind a teenager with a cell phone, in the snow. (Maybe Switzerland is an exception.) No one follows rules like Germans do. No one. And no one maintains their roads like the Germans, either. I’ve taken it for granted. I’ll miss it when we’re gone. Plus, on the German Autobahn there are no tolls! There are tolls in Austria, Switzerland (biggest rip-off for December drivers) and Italy, like crazy. In fact, most of the rest of Europe is laden down with toll-roads. No wonder no one else gets anything done. There is just no German efficiency outside of Germany. Sigh.
We were hoping to get out early and enjoy church on Sunday, but we instead awoke to a few inches of heavy, wet snow in Genoa. The nice lady at the front desk told us to not hurry off anywhere, that Italians don’t know how to drive in snow, and that going out would be dangerous. We decided to take our time and skipped church. (Seriously steep hills and snowy switchbacks + crazy Italian drivers in Fiats = Trouble)
We finally got to Savona, found the port parking (not well marked, but right next to the massive cruise building), and dropped off our luggage. Then we had to wait, along with 1500 other non-English speaking passengers. We waited for hours, much longer than anticipated, and much longer than usual. It was miserable. Probably the worst part of the entire trip. Next time I’ll be better prepared. I’ll pack more to do, food, drinks, and maybe even a change of clothes, or heavy sedatives.