The Clayton's Travels travel blog

Giovanni and Albertina - they have toured the Greek Islands in their...

Entrance to Patras Ferry Terminals

Homer on the Grimaldi Line ferry. Soon after another truck squeezed in...

Leaving Patras. The Rio–Antirrio bridge spans the Gulf of Corinth at this...

The entrance to Lido Tavernese Campground

Set up in no time at all ....

.... and we're on the beach!

We left the campsite about 11am and drove to LidL in Patras to stock up on supplies. From there it wasn’t far to the ferry terminal where we found the ticket office for Grimaldi Line (we’d found out the previous day that the sailing was at 5pm and we should be there before 1pm). The fare was €198 plus €100 if we wanted a cabin for the night as there was no “camping on-board": we declined that option. In the 3 hours before boarding at 4pm we sat in Homer and read English newspapers (the first we’d found since Turkey, and the news was all about the birth of the Prince of Cambridge) and watched the several men skulking in bushes beside the parking area casing out the trucks and occasionally crawling beneath them. The truckies were keeping watch though, and there were uniformed men (police?) cruising up and down on motorbikes, so they were chased away. A driver Sue spoke to on the ferry said they were Pakistanis trying to get to England illegally and they crawl into very small spaces hoping not to be found by the customs men. Homer was checked pretty carefully inside and the garage inspected before we were directed onto the ferry and backed into a space on the top deck surrounded by huge trucks.

We actually left port at 5.15pm Greek time and immediately lost an hour changing to Italian time. Dinner was served at 8.30pm; wish we had known we could bring our own food and drink/alcohol as the offering was unexceptional and expensive. We had internet with our Greek Sim card all the way to Igoumenitsa where a whole lot more passengers got on. We quickly staked our claim on the long padded benches in the dining hall where we were able to stretch out and sleep for the night. Some passengers had brought their own airbeds and set up camp in the corridors. We managed to get some sleep during the night (the bright lights stayed on the whole time) and flagged breakfast – just buying a cappuccino each, arriving in Brindisi at 8.30am. We had another hour waiting for all the trucks unload before we were able to drive off.

We drove north to Carovigno to Camping Villagio Lamaforca but we found they would charge us €42 per night because the campground had a big waterpark. It was right beside the sea but if we wanted to swim in the sea we would have to leave the campground to walk down to the beach. And there was no WiFi! So we said no thank you and continued driving. We headed to Ostuni and found a pay carpark, before walking to the Town Piazza to the Information Centre. There we got directions to a Vodafone store, and another campground. Vodafone was about 10 minutes’ walk and we paid €20 for 5GB data for the iPhone for 1 month and also hotspot capability for the laptop and the iPad. Ostuni is commonly referred to as "the White Town" ("La Città Bianca", in Italian) and is a lovely town to wander around.

Then we set off for the recommended campground, Il Pilone Camping Villaggio about 11km away, but when we found it were told it no longer “supported” motorhomes (just statics, I think). Grrrr. We decided to make for inland town of Alberobello where there are two campsites listed in The Caravan Club Guide. As luck would have it we drove up the coast road and saw lots of motorhomes in a Campground so turned in to find Lido Tavernese (N 40° 49’ 11.4” E 17° 29’ 54.1”). What luck! It’s €18 per night, with showers and toilets and water, although the electric hookup is low amps. It is very hot and hardly any breeze, so we were off to the beach very quickly. The sea is a lovely turquoise and is very warm so we forgive the black sand that reminds us of the west coast of New Zealand. This place seems to be an Italian secret; all but one of the other motorhomes have Italian plates!

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