Ancona, Italy and ferry to Split, Croatia
We took a train from Rome to Ancona, Italy, where we had a one-day stop. Ancona is about ¾ of the way up the east coast, on the Adriatic Sea. The next evening we planned to take an overnight ferry to Split, Croatia, so this seemed like a simple transfer place, but Ancona is a really neat city itself!
At night I wandered around and ended up hiking to a functioning lighthouse. The stone sign is at 104 meters above sea level, about 341 feet.
Our neighborhood had some nice murals / graffiti:
Here is a view out over a pentagonal building formerly used as a quarantine colony, a little island right by the city, open to the public:
There are quite a few drinking fountains scattered all over, and all the ones we tried worked! This is the correct way for a city to be.
It is very hilly, with stairs and steep roads all over. Many narrow little alleys between buildings, and connecting passages and staircases up and down hills, between houses, churches, and parks. We were there on Good Friday, and the night before there was a candle-lit altar vigil in one church I went into.
We took the Jadrolinija ferry to Split, Croatia, which the departure board shows as the Italian name Spalato, despite the board otherwise being in English. 🧐
The ship is now named Marko Polo and has been operated by Jadrolinija since 1988, but was built in 1973. It is 5 decks high, 420 feet long, can hold up to 1100 passengers and 270 vehicles. The restaurant sits 222 people and the food was decent. We had one of about 150 cabins to sleep in. We departed at about 20:00 and arrived a little before 7:00 am the next day.
The ferry itself was fine, but the ticketing wasn't.
We bought tickets through DirectFerries.com and there was no indication we would need to go to the Jadrolinija ticket office 1.1 miles away to exchange the DirectFerries.com receipt for real tickets! Without Google Maps we would've had no idea how to find that. But at least this led to us making friends with Fabian and Mary from France, who also bought through DirectFerries.com. Between us we got a vague idea of what we needed to do, so then Fabian and I ran to the ticket office as if we were cars driving in the road, since that was the only way to follow the signs! There we found out that all 4 of us needed to be there in person with our passports. So we took a shuttle bus back to pick up Mary and Mira, then finally we all got our tickets. We made it in time just fine because we didn't have a car to load onto the ferry so there was more slack time for only people, not cars, as we were.
Hello, Croatia / Hrvatska!