BLOG - Ciao, Bella!
Jun 20, 2009
|Well, it’s been a while since I updated what we’ve been up to....a combination of lack of internet access & not being able to charge my laptop has held me back!
I’ve got lots of catching up to do, but I’ll start with where we are now...
We are now in Italy, camping on the shores of Lake Garda (yes - back to camping again, yeahh!)
Italy is amazing, we both love it. I suppose it’s a bit of a cliche, because everyone seems to say Italy is a country you fall in love with, the food is amazing, the people are wonderful etc...But it does seem to be true!
The weather at the moment is super - hot. Too hot to do anything really, so being on the shores of a lake is a good place to be right now.
We’ve had quite a few incidents since my last entry...things that have gone wrong include:
* trying to camp in Granada, the tent broke as it popped up. A pole snapped and sprayed fibreglass over us, resulting in us picking fine glass splinters out of our hands for the rest of the evening...
* Both our airbeds deflated on separate occasions, resulting in trips to camping shops to replace them
* We thought the central locking on the car had packed in, as the car wouldnt open. Thought we were locked out for good in Barcelona, spent a good few hours trying to sort it out. Finally found the manual override & prised the door handle off with my penknife...
* Sat Nav decided it wasn’t going to work anymore whilst we were headed to Lake Garda. Had to dig the Europe atlas out from the bottom of the boot and use the good old fashioned map reading skills... ( think these skills wil have to be fine-tuned as the sat nav is completely defunct...)
*Gas for the cooker ran out as we were boiling up the kettle for a cup of tea and about to cook some tasty bacon....
So, nothing major, but at the time all these little incidents were not amusing!!!
For some reason, our English car seems to be a talking point in Italy. Had a long conversation with a woman from Hamberg, Germany who was fascinated by us, spoke to a man from Durham who was travelling round with his motorvan, and a boy from England who had been cycling round Tuscany. Everytime people walk past our tent pitch and see our car, it seems to start a conversation. Strange! No-one seemed to find it remarkable when we were in places like Lithuania or Estonia!
So, Italy. We started off in a smallish border town called Ventimiglia (as in Milo Ventimiglia from Heroes. I wonder if he has ever been there....)
It was a nice enough place, we stayed at a campsite on the beach. We caught a train from Ventimigila to Monte Carlo - Monaco.
Monaco was, well it was ok. I’m glad we went as it’s another country to tick off the list. I’d say it’s worth seeing if it’s on your route or you’re in the area, but not worth making a special effort for. It was much more built up than I imagined, and very very touristy and busy. We walked down the designer shop -lined street (Prada, Gucci, D&G - all the places I usually do my shopping ;) ) to the casino. It was swarming with Japanese tourists taking pics, although it’s not actually much to see to be honest. To go in the actual casino you have to pay 10 euro, but you can wander round the lobby and slot machine bit which we did.
Then we just had a wander round , it’s quite a hilly place, so got some good exercise! Glad we have seen it, but don’t think I’ll ever return.
Next stop was a small town called Santa Margarita, near Genova. It was very picturesque, a little fishing village type place. We did what you have to do in Italy, and went for a pizza :)
Then onto Pisa, where we stayed in a great campsite only 800m from the Leaning Tower. Pisa was actually quite a small town, and although the Field of Miracles area (where the Tower is) was touristy, the rest of it wasn’t bad. It had a great atmosphere with lots of local people about. We saw the Leaning Tower at night and it was fascinating! We took about a million pictures, and just stood looking at it for ages.
We then headed to Florence and again, stayed on a great campsite. It was actually more like a hostel, and was run by the same group that run hostels in other Italian cities. There were lots of young people and travellers there, and it had a really fun atmosphere. Although we did say that we were glad we weren’t staying in hostels all the time, because I think we would get too fed up of hearing American voices...We were really close to the centre again, so spent the evening wandering round Florence. The campsite was next to MichaelAngelo square which has AMAZING views over the city. Florence was VERY touristy, although we did expect that. It had a brilliant atmosphere though, but was a bit more sort of snooty than expected. Lots of designer shops and people with yappy dogs. Oh and some sort of really pretentious pavement club, which just had a bit of the pavement roped off with bouncers, and 2 podiums at either end with dancers. V. Strange.
Got some italian gelato from a gelateria, Mm mmm, it was delicious (should hope so for 5 euros though!)
Next stop was Bologna, where we went for a ....Chinese. We literally spent over an hour wandering round trying to find somewhere for a spaghetti bolognaise...now if there was once place in the world where you could expect to get a bolognaise, surely it would be Bologna? Apparently not. Oh well. Had a really nice Chinese anyway. Bologna itself wasn’t much really, nothing to see. It jsut seemed to be a normal town where people just live and work. It was good to see a totally non-touristy place, but again, if it wasn’t on our route, I wouldn’t really bother visiting.
And so then, we arrived at Lake Garda! It’s a really lovely area and the lake is beautiful. We are pitched on a terrace and no-one else is around so its very peaceful. The campsite owns an island which you can wade out to, so we went there yesterday. There’s loads to do in the area, including GardaLand Theme Park which looks brilliant! And a place called Caneva Resort which has a Movieland theme park, Waterpark and Medieval Times show - I really wanna go but it’s too hot to do anything, booo! Definitely going to come back here for a holiday sometime though!
Last night there was a massive storm, it lasted all night and was actually quite scary. The rain was absolutely thundering it down, the wind was whipping our tent all over the place and there was thunder and lightening all over the place. It didn’t ease off until about 6am so we got very little sleep! Taking it easy today and hoping it doesn’t repeat tonight....
Next stop is Venice and then we are hoping to head to Slovenia.
Arrivederci for now, and back-dated news will be written up soon!