One of the best things about being on this kind of holiday is the no plan aspect to it. Anywhere is possible. For our next stop, the south of France was tempting, having been there first 30 years ago when we travelled with a small tent and MG motorcar right down to La Ciotat, a small town on the Med just East of Marseille. But knowing how it would be bursting with holiday-makers, we decided to head back into France via the Alps, going through the Frejus Tunnel. So, we left Bolsena and travelled up the backbone of Italy, past Tuscany on the left and Umbria on the right, past Bologna and Modena.
Walking in the Bolsena countryside
- The drag from towing a caravan slows you down from 70mph+ to max 60. But as we are used to spending our time in the fast lane going nowhere, caravan speed is just fine. Steve is very good at judging how far it is possible/enjoyable to go in one day, so Asti in the Piedmont region was our destination.
Whilst ‘getting away from it all’ was the general idea (in reality it never happens), the one thing we both would vote for in a campsite is the internet. It is invaluable in numerous ways (this subject deserves a Post all to itself). One of our travel ‘Bibles’ is the Alan Rogers’ Campsite Guide (also online). So, armed with this and the internet it is a doddle to find, if not actually book, campsites. What isn’t so much of a doddle is finding the bloody places. Because we want places that show us something of the local area/culture we try to use sites that people of that country would use. Another mod-con we enlisted for this trip is a Sat Nav. However, ours seems not to know her (it has to be) left from right sometimes, and says turn when she means bear and bear when she means turn.
And that is how we found ourselves up a mountain with nowhere obvious to turn around, looking for an authentic Italian campsite.
So, as the road was coming to an end, we turned into the only turning there was – a farmyard. Thinking we were going to spin around and be off, Steve drove the caravan to the right to do a sweep and out again. He hadn’t bargained on several elderly people sitting in the shade in the heat of the day – on their land. You can’t just creep away with a caravan in tow. Only thing for it: to smile, look apologetic to the fact we were trespassing and try to find out where lost campsite was. Yet again, we found the language barrier no barrier to making ourselves understood. The fact that campsite in Italian is campeggio and there was only one road down and the friendly people saying ‘due chilometro’ and pointing right meant we were booking in in less than 10 minutes.
This campsite had a restaurant where we booked in for dinner. What a brilliant dinner, too. It was full of local people and campers. One family of about 16 turned up to celebrate someone’s birthday. The atmosphere was relaxed. There was no hurry to be served. And, as the wine arrived pronto, we were happy campers.
Below: two signs we found humorous. They were by the wash basins
Another successful campsite.