If you feel that your life is turning into a mundane routine with no excitement or risk, feel free to join us in the preparations of this trip – or plan your own. Never a dull moment, I tell you!
We finally thought we had a plan for the route, how we would get across the Mediterranean, going to Israel, that we could go through Egypt after all… After facing so many obstacles and having to straighten so many questions it was a nice feeling knowing we now had a good plan and it looked like it would work. So, with butterflies in my tummy, I wrote an email last Tuesday to Gunnar, our contact person for the Mediterranean crossing with shipping company Grimaldi, and asked him to please look for departures around mid-September or end of September.
I knew we were doing this last minute and I realized we might have to be a bit flexible, but I didn’t expect the reply I got. Unfortunately, the ship couldn’t take any passengers during September or October, due to having cadets on board and docking plans. We could only travel with them in November.
November! That would screw up our entire time plan! We have a tennant moving in in September, it’s the car and the visas… There is no way we can wait until November. What were we supposed to do, leave Sweden and circle Europe for a month and a half while waiting to go on the ship? My butterflies had turned into a big, heavy lump and I admit thinking to myself “Seriously, is this just another challenge or is it some kind of a sign?”
We straight away started doing some research on other ferry lines on the Mediterranean but since we’d really prefer to travel with the car (for safety and budget reasons, rather than shipping the car and flying across ourselves) it narrowed down our options quite a bit in an area with pretty few options to start with. The next day I made numerous phone calls to other shipping companies in southern Europe. After an hour of trying to understand English with an Italian or Cypriot accent on poor Skype lines, with lots of horrible lounge music in between as I was forwarded from person to person without knowing why, I was exhausted. But I then had some information on how to ship the car across if we’d have to do that. I also managed to find a ship where we could go onboard as passengers. It would go from Greece to Israel and would naturally be quicker than departing from Italy. But the problem was that they never know beforehand whether they are gonna be able to go to Israel, so we would basically have to have a cool head and wait until they know their schedule, just a couple of weeks before planned departure, drive down to Greece and just hope that there would also be space for us as passengers on the ship.
Slightly comforted by this new Plan B we were still missing Plan A, including having a very nice and helpful Swedish contact arranging the trip for us.
But then I got a phone call from Gunnar on Thursday afternoon. It turned out there is another ship going between Italy and Israel! He had just forgotten to think of it as an option and had been reminded by his Grimaldi contact. So he said “I’m really sorry I didn’t think of this straight away but it looks like you could go on this ship instead!” His contact had looked at departures and we had two options, 16th or 29th of September.
Now we’re just looking at costs and payments and details, but right now it looks like we need to be in northern Italy well on time to drive the cruiser onto a ship on the 16th of September!