Crossing the border from Bosnia to Croatia was again another mission. Not only for the long and winding road, but as in the crossing from Croatia to Bosnia, the border control process was very slow.
Jenny has a Samoan passport, just prior to our leaving NZ, she had obtained a visa to enter Bosnia. Thankfully she did not require a Schengen Visa to visit other EU States. Samoa had only just signed a waiver agreement with EU in May 2015. However, someone forgot to send the memo around. At every check in this part of the world, the validity of the Samoan passport was questioned.
Back in Split several of us took the time to wander the ruins of Diocletian palace. Nowadays the palace is a little village of its own with shops, hotels and private residences. From painted murals you could see how impressive this site was in its day.
To get to Italy, we are taking an overnight ferry, a sort of cruise ship. Upon boarding, we are shown to our cabins, which are pretty much as expected, two beds (some four) a tiny toilet and shower cubicle, and that’s it. Lucky for us, we are pilgrims, and pilgrimages aren’t meant to be luxurious. Sometimes we have to put up with a bit of hardship.
If our cabins were on the simple side, the dining room was not. A very nice dinner and breakfast awaited us on board – that’s if you could stomach the swaying of the vessel. Back to being pilgrims again.
Speaking of being pilgrims, at the ferry station, we encountered the priest who celebrated our Mass with us in Medjugorje earlier that day, and two companions. One of them, was a nun who has been living in Medjugorje on and off for 11 years. Sr Claire Marie, could only afford a seat ticket on the ferry. We told her that we would find her a bed in one of our cabins. She was very happy about that. Our pilgrims too were very happy to offer her some assistance. This is what pilgrimage is about too, being on the same road as others.
While we were at breakfast our boat docked in Ancona Italy. As we go through border control, we get another stamp in our passport. I think that’s six or seven so far. When we exit, we are lambasted with chilled air skimming off the sea so we scamper into taxis to our hotel.
After a time of freshening up, most of our pilgrims head off to Loreto. Some decide to stay back in the hotel to rest after the night at sea.