ItalyWritten by admin on October 10th, 2008
Monday 29 September
When we came out in the mountains on the Italian side of Mont Blanc it seemed noticeably different to France. We really enjoyed the scenery as we drove down through Italy to the coast, via Genova (Genoa) and on to Levanto a pretty little beach town.
It felt a bit strange to have woken up in the snowy mountains in France and be having an ice-cream on the beach in the afternoon, but no complaints! We enjoyed a couple of cold beers and BBQ and a warmer evening.
Tuesday 30 September
Today our goal was Rome with a stop-off in Pisa to see the Tower of Pizzas to break up the driving.
The Tower was indeed leaning!
We made Rome and with fairly little trouble drove around the equivalent of the M25 with no lane markings to find our campsite (Tiber Camping).
Wednesday 1 October
We decided driving through Rome would not be the easiest, so got the train into the centre and spent the day exploring the city. The highlight was probably Fabio, our slightly eccentric, brown corduroy wearing guide of the Colloseum. A brief stop at the Vatican, a pizza and a wander around the expensive streets and we then headed back to the campsite.
Thursday 2 October
Bob was a little on the tired side this morning and so needed a bit of a jump start to get him going. We drove to the Amalfi coast – a dramatic coastline with steep cliffs and beautiful beaches. With crazy Italian drivers overtaking us on blind bends, Bob slowly but steadily made it up and down the windy streets to Nettuno campsite in Marina Del Cantone right on the beach. Had a relaxing evening; a couple of drinks on Bob’s rooftop terrace overlooking the sea before dining out.
Saturday 4 October
After a long drive yesterday along the Amalfi coast we made it to a campsite in Capo Vaticano near Tropea in the evening. It was pretty grey when we woke up today and being out of season Capo was blowing tumble weed, so we decided to move site to one at Tropea where there was something open and beach day became planning day.
We hooked up at the site with two bikers from the UK (Martin and Charlie) who joined us for a BBQ in the evening. Look forward to reading the book guys!
Sunday 5 October
A relaxed start to the day before we departed for Sicily. We caught the ferry from Val de Giovani to Messina (very quick and easy) and about 250km and many tunnels later we reached Sferracavelo on the outskirts of Palermo and camped at Trinacria.
After heading in to town for a pizza and ice-cream we decided to get an early night. However, we were distracted by a wailing cat that sounded like it was trapped and in pain and had been screaming before we went to dinner. I (Marc) was going to investigate, but spotted a small animal running, still wailing, towards me across the deserted campsite. It seemed to have a brief change of plan, but then continued its charge towards the vehicle, darting up under the rear axle of the car.
It was a tiny, terrified and bedraggled looking kitten. Lacking kitten food we tempted it with a bit of ham and milk and gained a little confidence. When it squeezed itself in the small space on top of our cubby box under the vehicle we left it for the night.
Monday 6 October
Today we had a mass sort-out; doing all vehicle checks and repacking ready for Africa, so we had space for the guide in Libya.
The kitten was still under the vehicle in the morning and after a little more ham and some water changed in character dramatically, nervously playing around and dozing in the sun while we packed. He gained the name ‘Happy’ and we saw a problem coming tomorrow.
Once packed we headed into Palermo on the bus in the hope of collecting a Haynes manual from the Post Office, which had been couriered to us. Disappointingly, but not too surprisingly it hadn’t arrived and after a passionate conversation in Italian about who should be next King of England we gave up.
We arrived back hours later to find Happy now curled up on the front tyre waiting for us and he was very excited by his kitten food we had bought.
After Bob had a wash, and we had chicken curry it was time for bed. Happy had got into the routine by now and while we went for a shower had squeezed himself into his space on top of the cubby box for the night and gone to sleep.
Tuesday 7 October
We made an early start to catch the ferry to Tunisia and woke up to find Happy waiting quietly at the bottom of the ladder, making his final bid to come with us! We left him happily gorging on another tin of kitten food, more confident and much stronger, destined to become a campsite cat.
We got to the port in good time, Felicity adopting the ‘carve your own lane’ style of driving through Palermo well. We picked our tickets up from the Stazione Maritima, cleared customs (once they decided to open) and boarded, departing for Tunis only an hour later than scheduled.
2928km so far