Sunday 20th November
Any one who has ever spent any time near a church will find this to be one of the easiest competitions they have ever entered. It’s called guess the time.
One ding followed shortly by eight dongs and then eight dings. Dings and dongs are different bells but they could also be different churches. If it’s any help it is pitch black outside. Did anyone say 5am? We think it’s an ancient counting method used by the mountain tribes to count goats, something like count the number of legs, take away the number of ears and noses and that’s how many goats you’ve got. There are still some points on offer so how about this one? 2 dings followed by 12 dongs and then 11 dings. You should have the hang of it now, it’s 9am! Looks like I’ll be keeping the selection box of Italy’s finest red wines.
We’ve moved on a long way since the last blog. Not on purpose of course but sostas at sensible prices seem to be few and far between and some of them are not really posh enough for us.
Our first stop was Montemarcello near the coast and up some steep roads with lots of hairpins. I really should have noticed that the name of the town started with Monte but since the map is flat it looked easy enough to get to. On a sunny day the views would have been fantastic but it has been misty (and cold) for the last couple of days and then when we went into the town I forgot to take my camera. Not sure if it is a town or a village, there was one very tiny shop (smaller than Frankie) with bread, cheese, ice creams, wine, etc and two bars. Four churches though. The streets were very narrow, four to five feet and very steep so totally unsuitable for cars, even the funny little three wheeler Piaggio toy trucks would have struggled.
After a peaceful night we decided to get on the motorway and zoom our way to Genoa and then poodle a little bit around the coast to our next stop. The motorway was 60 miles long and either side of us were lots of mountain top villages.
…and lots of them – these are the only ones that were nearly in focus. During that 60 mile long trip I counted 14 tunnels that were over a mile long, there were countless tunnels of over half a mile long and for most of the time you were coming out of a tunnel, over a short bridge over a very deep valley and straight into another tunnel.
As I mentioned before we thought it would be nice to see Genoa – big mistake which you realise a mile or two before you get there. When there are sharp bends in the tunnels, then you have to take a slip road in the tunnel and then your two lanes merge into one lane with the slow lane disappearing (not the fast lane as in the UK). And then we hit Italian traffic, double parking, under and over taking cars at inappropriate moments. At one point I really lost my rag and did a little peep on the horn to show my disgust at someone parking on a pedestrian crossing and opening his door into my path. I was so livid I crunched my travel sweet into three pieces.
The road improved once we hit the coast road and I must say that the road surfaces have been very good indeed, Frankie has been so quiet that we’ve been able to have music playing. We were aiming for a sosta in Vazarres which looked rather nice, out on the harbour wall but it was closed and we were told to go behind the sports club. When I looked the sign said €2.50 per hour for motorhomes so we moved on and headed inland, up some very wriggly roads.
We ended up in Cescia which is where the strange church bells were.
Montavi was our next stop, there was a sosta and the AA map suggested that there was something to look at but when we got there and it was misty and cold we moved on and have found a place in Demonte.
One moment we were on flat plains and the next moment there are snow topped mountains in our way. Lots of signs saying snow chains needed from 1st November, we’ve got them but really don’t want to use them.
Demonte is a medieval village and looks like it could be full of life.
Not on a Sunday at the end of November though.
Mountains to the left of us…
And mountains to the right. We had a look around but it is freezing cold, If it gets any colder I’m going to have to put trousers and a jumper on. Poor little Lucy’s nose got so cold that I had to make her a couple of gallons of Gluwein, she’s cheered up no end since then.
We should be hitting France tomorrow if this cloud doesn’t get any lower.