Along the Sea

After our days in Civita, we are ready for another stint by the sea. Our map shows a circle around a little place called Marina di Pisticci – we have no recollection of who recommended it (maybe Antonio the violinist?), but as it’s nearby, we stop there for our lunch. We bump into a young couple from Tenby, who together with their lively six-year-old twin girls live in a van smaller than ours. It’s a surprise to see another camper bearing a welsh flag, and Frank discovers they have mutual friends in Tenby – it’s a small world… Their enthusiastic talks of travels through Morocco give me the final push to ditch my reticence and agree to travelling there next winter. Frank is delighted.

There are a lot of long beaches along the coasts of Calabria, Basilika and Puglia. Marina di Pisticci is one of them and it’s been discovered by the type of ‘overwinterers’ we generally try to avoid: Big plastic-fantastic mobile homes, a lot of complaining about this and that, shopping only in tried and trusted supermarkets like Lidl. They give me the creeps, I sometimes worry I might end up like this, although Frank assures me there’s no chance. So on one side of us, we have several of these types of campers, on our other side a gathering of Italian campervans is brewing, with several more to arrive for the weekend. One guy is fishing for the expected group of 20, his wife is off in the woods to forage for Asparagus. They tell us they meet almost every weekend to enjoy a beauty spot by the seaside and feast among friends. This is more to our liking, although somehow today we yearn for peace and quiet, so we move on.

After getting lost in Metaponto Lido, a seaside town of dilapidated holiday parks, someone at a petrol station directs us to a little port just outside of Marina di Ginosa. It is dark as we travel up the last 500 mtr of rough dirt track to arrive by the mouth of a little river where we are the only campers – the sea is in front of us, Sand Dunes on our right, the river on our left and nothing more than windswept silence.

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The next day – after exploring the pine forests, which near the sea duck down into the sand dunes and further behind stretch up into tall, beautiful trees; after scouring the shore line for beautiful shells, our eyes straining to see the end of this long, long beach – we set off to round the coast into Salerno, the ‘heel of the boot’ of Italy. We have a BBQ lunch somewhere along the beautiful rocky shore line, but it’s too cold to eat outside, so we bring our lovely lava stone into the van once the fish is cooked:

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We try to see Porto Cesareo but it’s full of fair grounds and traffic jams so we move on to Torre San Isidoro, one of the many towers which were used to defend this coast line.

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Right next to the tower we also see our first Trullo, a traditionally built stone house of this part of Italy.

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Various Italian campers about to drive back home warn us that there is absolutely nothing happening here at night. They can’t quite comprehend that this is exactly what we are looking for :-)

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It’s not very quiet that night though – apart from several cars arriving to use the place for their amorous activities, there’s also a powerful thunderstorm with rain drumming on the roof and gusts of wind buffeting the van. The next morning though we are back to sunny weather and we’re off to see Gallipoli.

We place ourselves in a camperstop site just outside town – every now and then we need to dock on to a place where we can do our laundry, access the internet and have proper showers (skinny-dipping in rivers and the sea is good but a hot shower every now and then doesn’t go amiss). Frank gets his fill of cats too

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We also receive a call for Frank to go and visit his step-mother in the South of France, so we need to research and buy him a flight. We take a shuttle bus into Gallipoli and have a walk around the old town. It is charming but it doesn’t grab our attention much. Maybe it’s because we know that tomorrow we have to drive 450km in one day to get to Napoli, in time to find a camp site where I can safely stay for 5 days while Frank goes away, and from where it’s easy to get Frank to the airport the next day…

A few more photos for this chapter are here


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