Friday 13th August to Monday 23rd August
Friday 13th August
Set off early as it would be a long drive and the rain seemed to follow us all the way! We were still in two minds really as we said our goodbyes to Austria. As much as we wanted sea and sun, we didn’t know how easy it would be to find anywhere in Italy and we would be getting extremely low on funds while there! But hey as long as we left enough for fuel for our journey back, it would be ok!
We decided to head straight for the town of Soave where we had stayed before we had left Western Europe for Eastern Europe all those months ago! We knew it was a nice aire with free water and electric and it was on our route down to Tuscany. It took a very long drive of 500 miles to get there though and it was nearing 10pm when we arrived! On the way down it felt like the rain was following us all the way! Also we were reminded of the terrible junctions Italy seems to have! Still we were back where we had been, which seemed strange!
Saturday 14th August
Woke up to an overcast day, every now and again rain would come to say hello! Still it was a lot warmer here. We didn’t really do much at all that day, but stop in and read. I think the amount of miles we had travelled yesterday we couldn’t be bothered to move!
Sunday 15th August
The sun was out today, so we decided to head up into the hills and into the many vineyards Soave is surrounded by. It was a lovely walk through the vines, seeing the grapes hanging there. Last time we had been here the vines certainly had no grapes, so it was great to see them now.
Back from the walk we now for some strange reason fancied a drink of wine! Problem was as it was Sunday no shops were open! And we couldn’t really afford two glasses at the bars in this posh town!
Monday 16th August
Decided to continue our journey down to the coast, but first we had a load of washing we needed to sort out. A simple thing normally using a laundrette, but this morning our progress was slowed and confused by two old Italian women who didn’t speak any English! Eventually we left with our washing done, although not dried. Lorna had the brilliant of idea of hanging it up inside the motorhome to dry as we drove! So we set up two lines and put some of the stuff up. We then set off to a town on the coast we knew had a Sosta (Italian version of an Aire), called La Spezia. The journey there was via many winding hilly roads, but the sun was out!
Arriving there we found it to be a paid aire near the docks! We drove around a little but the coastline was just houses with nowhere to park! We ended up parking back near the Sosta in a small car park opposite the docks! Not really what we had in mind and we couldn’t actually see the sea! Still it would do for today and tomorrow we would continue down the coast in search of somewhere else to stay. The first bit of washing had dried mind in the motorhome from the journey, so Lorna strung the next load up. It saved us money from the driers in the laundrette, even though for two days we couldn’t really see or move much for clothes hanging about!
Tuesday 17th August
Continued south on the coast to check out some other Sosta’s and find somewhere to stay. The journey was slow and the coast of Italy left us thinking we would find it hard to find anywhere! All the way it was houses and resorts, what was worse was we had arrived in August. This is the month all the Italians take off for their holidays, so the coast was very busy! Maybe this hadn’t been such a great idea after all!
We ended up near the coastal town of Livorno, just below Pisa. We did have a glimpse of the famous leaning tower from the road. But decided it would be best to visit it on the way back up, when the holiday month of August had finished! We found a free parking spot we had seen in our book, in a place called Antignano. The book had a great picture of a spot overlooking the sea, but in reality it was a piece of dirt land in-between some housing. It wasn’t the nicest of places and we both thought the people parked there seemed a little strange, to say the least! It would do for today and tonight though.
Wednesday 18th August
Decided although we were in the sun and by the sea, there must be a better spot than this one! So in the early afternoon we set off again further down the coastal road. So far Tuscany hadn’t really been what we were expecting or had seen, maybe we were in the wrong part! Where are all the lovely rustic houses? We decided that they were probably more inland or further south.
Further down the coast it seemed to get better and there were occasional breaks in the housing along the coast. We spotted a few places that we could maybe park up in, but still continued an extra bit more. We then stumbled across a small place called Cecina and a woodland on the coast. Just alongside this between a small road and fields were a few car parks and further down there were lots of motorhomes. We found ourselves a spot and parked up, with a field behind and tree’s in front. Although we couldn’t see the sea, we knew from all the people heading into the woods with their beach towels it was very close. It was just nice to find somewhere not surrounded by houses!
The parking was free and the sun was out, so many Italian motorhomes were taking full advantage. We settled in a spot and after a while took a wonder to find the sea. It was a lovely short walk through the trees, till we came out onto the busy beach. The sand here was pretty dark almost black and the trees right up against the beach were pretty dead! Wasn’t the most beautiful of beaches, but it was better than we had seen so far and we sat back in the sand and enjoyed the sun.
Thursday 19th August to Monday 23rd August
We decided this would be a perfect spot to stay a while, so after a short bike around headed back to the beach for the day. It was so nice being back at the sea and in the sun. For the next few days we enjoyed the sun and the location.
On Monday morning I found a four leaf clover! Wow we thought, were bound to get some luck now! Later that day we went off to empty the toilet at a nearby Sosta, after emptying I sat back in the drivers seat and turned the ignition…… Nothing! We tried a few times and even roped an Italian into trying to jump start us, still nothing! I couldn’t work out what it was, the battery dial in the motorhome said it was full and the alternator had been working fine on the way over, due to again the dial inside the motorhome and also the lights came on in the dashboard, so the ignition should be ok!??! Well we weren’t going anywhere!
Thank god we had paid to become members of the German company ADAC’s European cover! After a few calls and two hours waiting in the sun an Italian representative came out too check over the problem. He didn’t really speak English, but we found out the battery was well and truly dead! Apparently the alternator was fine but the battery even after a charge still wouldn’t start the engine! It always happens when you are low on money! We would have to buy a new battery and it was a big one! We had the option of following him back to the garage where he could sell us a battery, only problem was it was €225!!! After a word with a couple of other motorhomers, they all said motorhome batteries were around that price, so we sadly followed him back and parted with the money. On taking out the old one, it looked like it was the original so would have been about 20 years old! With the light starting to fade we drove off with our expensive new battery and feeling a lot poorer than we had started the day, so much for the bloody four leaf clover! Good luck, yeah right!