Rimini to Brindisi

We departed Rimini early morning. ( Rick’s getting quicker at dropping the tent!) It was the first day of sunshine we’d seen, & the fields of sunflowers looked happy in the morning light.

We needed to be in Brindisi on the south coast by 4 pm for a booked ferry at 6, which would take us to Igoumenitsa on the Greek mainland. A good 8 hour drive at least, not counting road works, delays, getting lost etc. But we made good time. The roads good & not overly busy. The scenery changed throughout, from flat planes of freshly harvested fields, to the undulating backdrop of Puglia.

For our entertainment today we started with John Bishops Sunshine Tour. (Audio book) The last night of his tour at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Hilarious, & highly recommended especially to those with kids or grandchildren. Eventually though, the soaring harmonies of Il Divo just seemed right. The scenery became more beautiful I thought as we traveled south. Thousands of Orleanda shrubs mixed withe pink & red, lining the roads, & pretty houses painted white, pink, or lemon.

Vines trees in their perfect rows, mixed with olive trees, whose leaves glinted like silver in the sun. (Poetic or what?) Monasteries high on the hills, goats & sheep in the fields with a single farmer & his dog. As we approached the coast Rick was depressed at the flock of kites surfers in large numbers, on the obviously fabulous beaches nearby.

I really need to come back to Italy, it’s in my blood somehow.

We arrived at the ferry port around 3.30 pm & had eaten our picnic on the way. Didn’t really have time to stop which was a shame. We collected our tickets . They pretty much leave you guessing where to go or what to do, but we managed, & found ourselves wondering, not for the first time why everyone was looking at us as if we were aliens! Is it Benny? the GB sticker, or maybe we just look weird. Answers on a postcard please. We drove on the boat too much enthusiastic Italian gesticulating which we couldn’t understand.

We expected the boat to be like the cross channel ferries, with shops, decent eating areas & room to walk around. Wrong. It was much smaller, with no shops, & just one cafeteria area where most people started queueing as soon as they got on board. We hadn’t booked a cabin because they were only for 4 people which means you have to share, so we’d booked pullman seats. To our surprise , they were in the cinema! Yup. The cinema, where most families had booked so the kids could watch moving pictures ( there was no sound) & run around all night.

We put some stuff on our seats & went to sit in the main area at a dining table. Others had brought picnics, & I was fascinated at the groaning tables of food. Sausage, cheese, bread & salads, wine, Raki, you name it. I kept having to walk by for another look. We ate a distinctly average meal of spag bol pie & potato salad when the queue had died down & a couple of G& T’s to knock me out.

It was heaving! There were certainly not enough seats, & scuffles over chairs were breaking out. Some had come well prepared. Blankets, sleeping bags, lilos, & they were lying everywhere. On the floors, stairs, window sills. One young pregnant girl under a table. We settled into our rock hard hardly reclining seats. Donned my Ethiad eyemask , plugged in the headphones & tried to ignore the kids behind kicking the seat in & grabbing hair over the top, & the nagging back pain. I did a small walk round in the early hours & it was like a scene from a disaster movie. I felt like a minor disaster myself as we disembarked in Greece at 3.30 am.

Yamas Greece.







Day 4 on the road

Unfortunately I’m running behind with updates as I just can’t get Wifi. We’ve had very few stops, & those we had, had no connection.
But to continue where I left off-
We left Annecy & headed for Mont Blanc in pouring rain. You can’t detract from the stunning scenery , but when your head is in the clouds, literally, you can’t actually see much. The climb up the mountain is awesome. Waterfalls in full flow gushing down the walls, heavy with water after the torrential rains. The clouds swirl around so low, you feel you could touch them.
We had to join a queue to enter Mont Blanc tunnel. 41 euros for the privilege ! The view should have been stunning from the top, but we were shrouded in thick wet cloud.
20 mins later we entered. 12 km long, carved out of the rock, that is- the mountain. How did they DO it? What a feat of engineering ! Thousands of tons of rock above you. Scary thought.
The whole trip down & through The Alps is studded with tunnels. Like a rabbit warren of huge Hobbit homes cut into the grassy sides. You do in fact come out blinking like a rabbit in the headlights!
We kept hoping we would emerge from each one in sunlight, but not until we were well into Italy towards Turin did the weather improve. Had a bit of a misunderstanding with Mr Sat Nav, & made a detour that took some precious time , but gave us a tour of villages we would never have seen.
Quiet music wise today. Rick needed to concentrate , & I started to listen to The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard.
Had lunch by the road, & please don’t let the farmer in his tractor be damaged for life by the sight of me, well, you can guess!

We had been slower than expected & was 8.30 when we approached Rimini needing to stop before dark.
The first camp site Sat Nav found looked & sounded fine. Huge site, & only 2 places left. We were in no mood to trundle on.
Got everything set for the night then went for pizza ( what else?) & a look at the beach in the dark. Yes. sea, soft sand, & row after row after row of sunbeds set out with immaculate precision. Wouldn’t suit us, but the town itself needs more exploration.
The night, was Horrendous! Unaware, we were pitched just in front of a busy road , a train line, & an aeroplane taking off at 3 am felt as if it was coming through the fecking tent! AND my air bed deflated! We changed sides. By 5 am we’d had enough & decided to get the hell out it there.
More later. It gets better. .
Just one of many tunnels.