Since I last wrote it's been a busy few days for us as we made our way from the Amalfi Coast, driving down the 'toe' of the 'Italian boot' and staying at a couple of campsites along the way.
Despite the roads being relatively clear, it seems to take a lot longer to drive anywhere than Google Maps may suggest. Not taking into account stops, plus the fact that the Italians drive much faster than the speed limit (all of the time!) I think it must have taken us twice as long as the estimated drive time each time we've embarked on a trip.
The drives, however, have taken us past some stunning scenery - via high cliffs, through winding mountain roads and picturesque countryside.
The only thing that doesn't seem to get easier is the 'crazy' Italian drivers, so (especially) on the way through a town we've had to really be on our guard, lest a rogue motorist or cyclist should come at us from an unexpected angle!
Our first stop was in Palinuro, a pretty village on the west coast of southern Italy, set deep within a natural park.
We stayed in the very quiet Marbella village camping - which just a couple of weeks before would have been in peak Italian holiday season - but during our stay it was just us and one other family there.
We were hoping to try out our new tent, but the September low-season meant they had closed the campsite early, so they upgraded us to a bungalow just 15 metres from the swimming pool and a five minute walk from the beach.
The lack of tourists meant we benefitted from having the pool to ourselves for large chunks of the day, and our pick of sun loungers on the nearby beach.
Its location deep in the countryside gave us access to some great farm-based restaurants, with exceptional quality and value locally reared food. If you should ever find yourself in the area then be sure to check out Osteria U'Brigante and Isca Della Donne for delicious homemade pasta, bread and farm reared meats.
On visiting the local supermarket we also discovered good, locally produced wine for sale on tap in the supermarket foyer, where a litre bottle costs just €2!
I accidentally filled a bottle with sparkling red (as opposed to just red) which turned out to be little known delicacy that is in fact as refreshing as it is delicious (I think my previous experience of a sparking red was a bottle turned bad in Wetherspoons back in London!) - at least I've not enjoyed it before!
Even in the aforementioned restaurants, a litre of wine will only set you back €6 so it was the perfect place to leave the car parked up at the campsite and sample the local produce!
Next up we continued our drive south, stopping at Camping Village Mimosa - another holiday village but this one was a lot livelier than the last, despite it still being low season.
The campsite was set next to a beautiful sandy beach - the first we've encountered in Italy so far with actual golden sand rather than pebbles, so it was a welcome place to spend 24 hours.
We've also noticed a distinct shift in the weather since we've come further south: clear blue skies, bright sunshine and a temperature of 30+ degrees by day - scorching!
We were able to camp here so we christened our new tent and are pleased to report it is both easy to erect and spacious (enough) inside.
|Trying out the tent|
Perhaps it's been a while since I last spent a night under canvas (or perhaps I'm getting old!) but a mere foam camping mat doesn't exactly make for a comfortable night's sleep!
My experience was more reminiscent of torture where whenever I was about to drop off to sleep, I would need to turn over to relieve the pain of lying on the hard ground! Fingers crossed our next camping experienced in a few days will be a little more comfortable (mental note to look out for a blow-up lilo to sleep on!)