Good bye Sicily, Hello Italy
(written on March 28th)
The time has come to leave Sicily and take the ferry to Southern Italy. We’ve heard good things about Calabria, so we are quite excited. Rolling off the ferry, we turn right to go along the Southern coast. We drive about 25km and then attempt to get down to the sea and find a little beach for the night. But our plans are scuppered by a railway line. In the following days, this railway line accompanies us for the next several hundred kilometres or so, and it’s really difficult to access the sea. There are many underpasses but rarely are they high enough to allow Emma to pass. It seems that this part of Italy is not prepared for the likes of us in campervans who might like to spend time on the beaches and watch the sea. But also the locals seem to have a curious indifference to the sea in some places: we even find benches along a promenade that are placed with their back to the sea, facing the promenade and the road instead!
Eventually, we do find a lovely little fishing village and settle down to a romantic, candle-lit BBQ on the beach with fresh fish.
We struggle to get the measure of the people here, they are very different to Sicilians. Everyone is incredibly nice and helpful, much sweeter than what we’ve been used to. Not that the Sicilians weren’t nice, but here the people really go out of their way to help you if you ask, and often even if you don’t ask. One evening, we meet a farmer who invites us to take water from his land if we need water. Frank goes over to see where the tap is and comes back with handfuls of food. It’s bean time in Calabria, we’ve seen them already by the side of the road, neatly heaped up on the little three-wheeler pickups, next to the last oranges and artichokes. Michele the farmer says it’s nice to share food, to give food to people, and he pulls several fennels out of the earth for us, some garlic, spring onions, lettuces, lemons, fresh mint, sage, rosemary and celery.
We regale him with one of Frank’s home made Sicilian Lemonade Marmalade before setting off again.
Another time we stop when we see the first farmer picking Medlars, to ask if we can buy some off him. He fills a plastic bag, practically depleting his tree, but absolutely won’t take any money for it. We give his son a football instead. It seems like you have to be careful what you talk about – anything you point out, anything you mention, they give to you.
Usually, we find the less touristic places nicer, but here there is no infrastructure for travelling people. It’s hard to find drinking water, postcards, and there are very few shops that sell what we would like to buy, we have to hunt for an internet cafe, and there are only a few nice places to stop and go for walks or watch the sea. So we drive on and decide to try our luck inland instead. The evening of the third day finds us 1400mtrs up in the Silas mountains, surrounded by fir trees near lake Arvo, and a view of the last remnants of snow.
That night, both Frank and I feel unsettled, dépaysée, he calls it, and we wonder if it has to do with having travelled a lot in the last days and not really made that much contact with people. Or does it have to do with needing to make a decision about the next few months, whether we return to the UK in May or mid-July…
It is only in the middle of the night that I realise, tomorrow is March 29th, the day when our unelected prime minister actually invokes Article 50 and sets in motion the B word. We’ve been so out of touch with the internet and with current news that the whole debacle has somewhat receded into the background, but of course it’s nevertheless affecting us.
Posted in Uncategorizedwith 2 comments.