Monday, 4 November 2013

Road Trip

Gosh what a journey. I have made it down to Sicily and am staying near the port of Pozzallo in a lovely b&b called Villa Aurea just off the beach and away from the hubbub. It will provide a nice resting place until the ferry over to Malta next week.

The little Seat car bumbled it's way down the auto routes, through France and the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy. Holding it's own around Bologna and Firenze bank holiday traffic. With a top (comfortable ) speed of 70mph it was always going to be a slower journey than most but it did well and maintained a steady ride. Sophie and Della perched on top of the bundles of essentials crammed into the tiny space, seemed to draw much attention on the roads and even more at pit stops. Have the Italians never seen two black labs before ? It was a job to say really as my Italian is non existent and they don't seem to have a grasp at all of the most important language in the world ( ;0) ) .

We skittered past Rome without a glance at the 'ruins' and sped onto Naples, finally running out of motorway at Salerno on the second day. The next leg was, without a doubt, the prettiest, travelling on the A3 through a national park almost all the way to Calabria. The road was vertiginous to say the least. Roads unbelievably suspended over ravines or clinging desperately to the sides of mountains. Captain Pugwash, who lives most of his life at sea level, was less than impressed. As far as he was concerned, this was yet another reason never to return to Italy ! I, on the other hand, couldn't get enough of the wonderful scenery and friendlieness of the people.

Stops were made at hugely varying hostelries. Heading East of Torino along the seemingly endless motorway, dusk fell and we peeled off the road, through the toll gates and saw a 3* hotel right in front of us. how convenient is that? Looked ok from the outside. So in we went.  Inside the door, however, lay Madame Le Fag, sprawled on a chaise longue with a cigarette hanging on the end of her lip. Not only was there a language barrier but she seemed unwilling to leave the crucial part of some Italian soap on the TV.
Too tired and hungry by this time to move on, we decided to risk that the rooms may not be up to scratch. As it turned out the rooms were fine. A little heavy on the chinze and lace with shelves full of imitation Lladro but clean enough.. Madame Le Fag, produced a bowl of pasta and a bottle of something she described as 'locale... delicio',... fizzy red wine, gak... and retired to her bed. We explained we couldn't face more ham and cheese for breakfast, paid the bill and left by 5.30 the following morning. Madame Le Fag, by the way was still on her chaise longue when we left.....and waved a smokey 'chiao'.

The following night, we ran out of tolled motorway just south of Naples, and as it was getting dark decided to head to the coast to find a hotel. Some way along the road we spotted a sign to a 4* Hotel down a lane. As we drove down the long drive, it became clear that this was a bit of glitzy number. What used to be a large grandish villa, was now covered in fairy lights and looking a little embarrassed by it all. A large pool surrounded by about 50 tables and chairs, rather spoilt the impressive entrance. Wondering if we could afford a night here, we went in.  Frank N Furter lurked behind a large riccoco reception desk. €70 didn't seem unreasonable, compared to the previous two nights. However, as it was a bank holiday, the restaurant wasn't open, neither were we likely to find one open in the near by village ! They seemed to be missing a trick on a bank holiday me thinks ! It was soon clear that we were the only people staying and were given a room right up in the attic. What's that all about ? Anyway, the decor didn't disappoint !!!

Explained To FNF we would be leaving early so there was no need for breakfast, FNF explained the hot water doesn't come on until 7am....that will be a cold shower then...Hmmmm CP gave a resigned look.... Itiddelyitii itis.
So on we travelled through the national park, down to Calabria, onto the ferry to cross the strait of Messina, down the coast of Sicily and finally stopped at Villa Aurea. A decent meal, charming host, and a good place to spend a couple of days. Driving around Sicily or indeed most of Italy, is not recommended if you have anything resembling vertigo or unless you have a devil may care attitude as to whether you live or die. The driving of the natives is appalling and we had a very close call. CP is loathe to venture much further on account of the above, and frankly I am happy to cycle down to the beach until our ferry to Malta on Wedneday.

25c Today and all is well.


  1. What a grand tour you are having. I did some of your trip in the 1960's in a VW Camper Van! Leaving now before the green eyed monster takes over. Safe travels.

    1. Oh yes a vw combi...I was wishing on the way I had done just that. but was concerned it may not make it.