429-431: Donegal Coastline and Dodging Showers

429 – Wednesday 27th July 2016:  Carpet Bagging Fish

Roving reporter tonight – James:

Overnighting last night?  And course the readers will know of “Lusty Beg”? Now we say ‘readers’ because we know there are at least 2 – Amelia being our reader and roving reporter based at Killiney Beach – and Mary Kate reporting from Banbridge assisted by Michael and Daniel (of the new fashionable first ever haircut…).  Anyway, getting back to Busty Leg (oops, Chardonnay is not really busty – or busting a leg…). A stunning (that word again) small ferry crossing to a major party venue (conferences and weddings) – we declined to party there and settled for our own Chardyparty…  We woke to heavy downpours 😦  No run and a damp enthusiasm.

Donegal Carpets have graced the Ambassadorial residences of countries around the globe, prestigious hotels, wealthy houses, Buckingham Palace and – “Aras an Uachtarain” – the official residence of the President of Ireland. Very sadly, this may be coming to an end… But on with our story…

I had a little prior knowledge of the Donegal Carpets business – Katherine had not really heard of them. So we journeyed to Killybegs town to find parking for our friendly beauty – Katherine! (Actually, I could be in a spot of bother here, so don’t tell her – she doesn’t weigh 4 tonnes – she’s a mere slip of a girl…). Anyway Chardonnay proved difficult to park (she’s not a difficult lass – neither is K (he quickly and diplomatically added…).  K wandered across the road to the local TIC – and the nice chap offered to have us parked just off the main street right behind his office!  He obviously spotted our 2 beauties – Chard and K!  

Armed with maps and lots of useful information, we strolled up to the carpet factory/museum. As always the staff were friendly, professional and very well informed. Started by a Scot in 1857, it grew quickly (4 factories initially) – 3 closed after 10-30 years leaving Killybegs only. The photos show the immense skill and detail involved – every single carpet over 150 years was unique and completely to the owners individual design. K did some weaving and knotting of a carpet in progress…see photos – I was cameraman of the day. The wool for the weaving could only come from the local black-faced sheep – clearly, the sheep facial expression came out on the designs! 

The competition from synthetic and mass produced carpets has taken its toll and the last carpet was weaved 3 years ago – with no present orders…

We can only hope that somehow this lovely piece of local industry and history can continue – who would like to buy a nice carpet factory?

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The longest loom in the world.

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1920’s pic all knotting away.  The minimum requirement was 350 knots per minute, but some got up to over 600!

Our wild camping for the night was at Teelin Pier – another lovely quiet harbour – lots of activities during the evening – kids rowing classes, boat trips, fishing… and another gem from our neighbouring fisher folk. K perambulated to chat with some fishermen – and came back with 2 large mackerel – free gratis!  Supper was the freshest of fresh Donegal sea produce.  Later, our Katherine came upon a couple of Latvian/Lithuanian fishermen – conversing in Russian – K’s Russian is a little rusty – like “2 large vodkas please” – she somehow came away with some generously sized pollock… second free  and fresh fish supper tomorrow evening!  K:  Honest injun … I did not set out to blag two lots of fresh fish … I did offer to pay!


The views out of our window at Teelin Pier …




430 – Thursday 28th July 2016:  A New Wooly and an Inspirational Man

Guess what fell from the skies during the evening and night – a kind of soft mixture of moisture, vapour and magic mist!  Some folk would call it heavy rain – but we prefer the mystically damp theory!   It was so mystically magic the it crept vertically through the open roof lights and attached itself to some clothing – but not to our duvet!  We slept peacefully, having enjoyed another (they are increasing) alcohol free evening…

The – lets call it ‘nice rain’ sort of decreased and we shot off (shooting off  for us means a leisurely departure at 1030 am) to the area of Malin Beg – not Ballyseg….  We happened upon a Donegal knitwear outlet shop en route and we stopped ‘just to look’ at the Aran-style sweaters. Within a few nano seconds, K’s face lit up at one beautiful cardy-style item.  We settled for an early K birthday pressie and the purchase was completed in lusty style … (K:  my birthday is not till December!)

As we headed for the beach having been warned of the dangers of the mountain track – we fell into conversation with Pablo (injured toe) and David – Peruvian and Irish lads who were long distance walkers. We suggested they might take a lift with us to Glencolumcille – they were happy sandboys – they had camped overnight on the beach! 

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A LOT of steps down and back up (!) to the beach …

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… proof that we did make it!

Glen Columcille Folk village was established in the 50’s/60’s by a true visionary – Fr James McDyer.  A native of Donegal who worked in London initially – he was transferred to Glencolumcille in the 50’s.  He immediately recognised the plight of the local folk – emigration, lack of jobs, etc.  Under his leadership, they built a village hall, holiday cottages to let and many other projects.  He lobbied government for electricity power supplies, water improvements – a saint – you don’t have to be formally canonised to be ‘saintly’.   To attract more tourism he created a small village to show life through the ages.

Glen Garish pass en route to Naran beach – the next overnight stay – is the equal of the most spectacular passes in the Lake District!   

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Glengesh Pass … amazing views, just too misty 😦

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Loads of peat cutting all around Donegal.  J remembers wielding tools to do this as a wee lad, but nowadays it is is nearly all machine cut.


Glencolumbkille Folk Museum


Would that be an empty glass?!


Whilst Catholicism was repressed the Priests went into hiding and toured villages.  If a couple wanted to marry, they poked their fingers through a ‘Promise Rock’ and became bonded.  They could then live as a couple until the Priest arrived and performed a formal marriage service.

Naran beach is a popular resort but still not too busy – loads of youngsters on a 2 mile long white flat sandy beach – another Donegal gem!  Not an amusement arcade to be seen.  K walked the 2 km white sands whilst I had a minor nanny nap.  Once the beach carpark emptied out, we move Chardonnay so we would awake with the sea and beach views … also right next to the left open all night toilet block … how convenient is that?


The overnight view of the 2km miles of white soft sand.


Views on K’s walk … layers of mountains and tones …one of those peaks is Mt Errigal, highest mountain in Donegal.


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Someone’s hours of work that I photographed on the way out of my walk …


… to witness the joy of some other children then destroy on the return leg.  I wondered if the creators would be upset when they came back to the beach tomorrow.


431 – Friday 29th July 2016 – Not Moving in Naran Beach

K rinsed clothes while we were right next to water and then we attempted to move Chard to a longer and less in the way parking space … only to be told by an unpleasant cafe owner that the whole car park was NOT for motorhomes and to read the sign.  We’d read every sign … rubbish!  No mention of cars only, but we gracefully moved out of his sight.  K would have fancied an ice cream later today, but no way will she buy from him!  The other locals in a different cafe and the life guards had all been really relaxed when she checked last night about where we could park up. 

We ran for not too many miles on the beach – “Tra Mor” in Irish Gaeilge – large beach. Today, Friday – we decided to be still, spend another night in this completely unspoilt corner – and travel onwards tomorrow to where?  Any where we call home.  

We met Stephen and Christine – relatively new to motor homing and had coffee and cakes!  Still working and thinking of going full time – our advice is – just go for it!  We had a short walk along the coast until the path disintegrated.  Donegal really has not got to grips with tourism … it could do so much more to attract walkers and cyclists, but I suppose it would spoil the uncommercial feel.  

We shall be moving the van again tonight once the car park is empty, but not near the unhappy cafe owner!!!









356 – 359: The LONG Slow Trip Home – Part 2

356 – Monday 11th April 2016:  Lakeside 

We did not journey far … just a little east to a lake in the Foret d’Orient.  Nothing much of a forest or the Orient but a free and quiet parking – heard the ducks on the water all night.   We had an easy day, doing a few jobs and short walk along part of the lake when the rain eased.




357 – Tuesday 12th April 2016: Chalons en Champagne-less!

K ran along the lake and did some carpark Pilates.  J is resting his old friend (!) – his calf.  Another easy drive to the centre of Chalons which the guide book hyped up.  The heavens opened so K hyper shopped wine and cheese to bring back to Blighty in one of the biggest ever Carrefour.  When the rain eased we had a walk into town … nothing worth coming back for.  The cathedral was shut, but the C16 stain glass in one of the churches was rather special.  



J quaffing a red … we’ve avoided the Champagne houses / cellar visits as pukka fizz is a little out of the travelling budget.  We’re more Prosecco kind of people now 🙂

Another short drive (K driver – had consumed another far too long and weak espresso, compared the the Italian version) to an amazing pitch.  A village with a huge (hectares) circle mound which surrounded Atilla’s fort. So large that crops were growing inside and K was looking forward to running around it … but sadly not to be ….


The sun blazed down later afternoon so we sat at the bench and sampled the supermarket purchase of Leffe beer …

 358 – Wednesday 13th April 2016:  Longish Drive to St Louis

…. we woke to the sound of heavy rain and I am a fair weather runner.  Original plans of stopping and exploring Laon shelved and we decided to push on for our final French destination not to far from Calais and have a two nighter there and a chill down day.  And, guess what, the sun shone forth later afternoon for beer o’clock!  


359 – Thursday 14th April 2016:  Sitting Still

The campsite is so quiet the silence is almost audible.  Consequently we did not wake until gone 9.00 to the sound of one of the campsite ‘girls’ on the sit on mower.  This site is seriously immaculate – even the hedges around each pitch dare not shoot beyond their given precision trim.  

We have been finding France altogether incredibly trim and organised after 6 months in Italy.   Signs everywhere quoting the law / rule number.  Lots of forsythia and spring blossoms.  Even the smallest of villages providing aires with services who cannot expect sufficient recompense to the local economy, and these largely are all clean and functioning.  Miles of rolling huge fields with early crops and oil seed rape.  So much food being produced.  Precision lines of tree planting.   Good roads … apology notices stating that holes are forming … where, we can’t see them?  Prices are a lot dearer, possibly 20-25% higher and sadly nearly all the fresh fruit and veg are imported … I know, if we had been a bit more static, we’d have found local markets.  However, we kinda miss the chaotic and unpredicatableness of Italy.  It’s almost too easy to be a motorhomer in France.

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Towns have formal spring planting and pruning.

Tomorrow we cross over.  Our first night in Britain is with Ian and Jimmy in Rustington … we departed on the 20th April from here and it is only fitting that we return.  The next two weeks will be blog quiet … we are doing the boring but necessary maintenance on Chard (MOT, Habitation service etc) and on us (Dr, dentist, optician etc) BUT we will be seeing friends and family … quite a task cramming them in and we shall be exhausted, but we can’t wait to hug them all.  And all in two week window, before we set off again!

Amazingly it will be one year bar 5 days that we will have been away.  And my day numbering on the blog has worked!  

We have seen and experienced so much  Made new friends.  We’ve been trying to name favourite places, worst moments (getting stuck in the Sicilian mountain village … incidentally we’ve won a prize for this story … a camper sat nav download … much needed!) and it so hard … so much has just been AMAZING.



352 – 355: The Long SLOW Road Home – Part 1

352 – Thursday 7th April 2016:  The Long Road Home

We are now on our journey north – home.  We are booked in for catching up with friends and family, as well as maintenance work on Chardonnay and us!

We decided to avoid EXPENSIVE French motorways and enjoy the cross country route … and we sure are.  Other than a circuit of Grasse where we initially missed a sign post and then a following the said signpost, ended up down a road that banned motorhomes as being too narrow … actually no problem.  Guess they were concerned in high season when every other vehicle may be wide.  But a minor panic moment, as I consulted Maps.Me on the iPad and could not see an alternative route, even had we been able to do a 13 point turn!

I had completely forgotten how stunning parts of Provence are – the mountains through Dignes les Bains, Sisteron and up to Grenoble demand a re-visit. Great rocky peaks and gorges … hiking country.  Pix taken on the hoof …

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A chapel atop!

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A geologists deam.

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I thought the cloud looked like the Pillsbury Dough Man climbing over the hills!

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You can just make out the tendrils of snow!

We stopped at a small town called Laragne-Monteglin – pretty with mountains in the hinterland.  An evening wander and I bought a French book.  I had eye balled a book some days ago on the bus  (leaning over my neighbour’s shoulder) and understood most of it so thought a similar book would help my French.  On seeing a book shop I entered and requested something well written, current language and no technical words.  The owner embraced my request and gave me a local Provence writer – however, I have had to download a French English dictionary … perhaps too well written.  I have promised to let the book shop seller know how I get on with it.

Pitch was flat and safe with other motorhomes, toilet emptying but water replenishing switched off!

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353 – Friday 8th April 2016:  Driving on

A run along the back roads of Laragne-Monteglin, followed by Pilates (in the car park!):

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Fruit growing territory 

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Spring blossoms.  A lot of Forsythia and the hills in the background.  Our run was along the flat valley 🙂

Another biggish driving day and we stopped at an free aire in Cuiseaux – a little north of Bourg en Bresse (spotted the cathedral multi coloured roof as we drove past).  A notice declared the free electric was low ampage and not for heating, just lights.  We tested it at the risk of having no electric as the fuse box was locked … no worries … heating, cooker, lights all on.  Thank you Cuiseaux.

354 – Saturday 9th April 2016:  Grr Wifi and Aah Dole!

A circular run past the sawmill (la scierie) and the very smart and gated abattoir – a perfect 4km.  I left J to the washing up and ventured to the tabac to purchase a wifi top up.  The assistant kindly agreed to telephone to validate the purchase … the recorded instructions spoke to fast for me in Antibes and the shop assistant there had validated for me too.  Code validated, but a technical error.  Need to ring to sort out.  Not possible on my English phone though, so the lovely lady rang on the tabac phone … 20 mins later (J had washed up and made Chardonnay moving off ready), it was established she had sold me credit for voice not just data.  I know damn well I’d asked for seulement data, pas d’appel; c’est pour un domino!  GRRR!

We had identified two aires in Dole:  one noisy, no services but central and the other further away but with services and a river side view.  Who minds a shortish walk!?  Gypsies on site all cabled up together with large dogs, but they seemed harmless and there were other vans there.  After lunch we walked into town.


Waterside pitch.  All the other motorhomes were huddled in the bus car park … not sure why when we had the sound of the weir and the view!  People sculling in the morning.

Dole is on the river Doubs, which runs through the centre.  Gray slate roofs over mellow amber stonework.  And the birth place of Louis Pasteur.  His father was a tanner with a shop near the river:  you can peer through and see the works.  M. Pasteur even returned in old age and placed a plaque on the wall.


On the outskirts.  Every Italian town or village has a Piazza Garibaldi … can’t seem to get away from him!  Not sure what he was doing here.





Louis Pasteur birth house.


In search of free wifi, we even forced ourselves to stop at a bar ….. J consumed a couple of pleasant Cotes de Rhone, and I quaffed stirling Macon 🙂  And only EUR3 per glass.  Bonus.  Used to paying EUR4 in Italy, but you do get a load of nibbles there.  We miss them, but perhaps better for our calorie intake!

355 – Sunday 10th April 2016:  Troyes Joy

We both ran … short: K as she also did a Pilates session, but J short as he has a twinge in his calf again :(.  Just hope this will not keep him off running.

A short drive up to Troyes.  Scenery is getting more interesting … it had gotten a bit flat – industrial sized fields.  Some pretty villages along the Seine.  We are parked up in a large car park, no services, but only a short walk to the old town.  The guide book describes Troyes as:

“Troyes is a delight, a city of magnificent Gothic churches and charming C16th courtyards … The city is famous for its heritage of stained glass and sausages (andouillettes), its knitwear industry and factory shops.”

Well, we saw a number of churches, but the cathedral was about to start a service so we could not fully appreciate the stained glass.  Lots of wooden leaning and overhanging buildings.  No sausages!  But we saw factory outlet shops on the drive in, including a McArthur Glen sign!  A really large old town centre and well worth the stop.


Fish scale wooden tiles.


Eglise St Pantaleon: exterior.


Eglise St Pantaleon: interior.  A really different quirky feel to it … wooden roof, statues, unusual stained glass.


Eglise St Pantaleon: quirky!


Eglise St Pantaleon: and more quirky!


Not camera tilt … these wooden houses are supported by stone bookend buildings.


Part of the finely restored St Peter and Paul Cathedral.


Haven’t seen many language faux pas recently!  I’m booking in!


Glorious sunshine.  A lovely town.  End of the day and my new favourite Beer!

My Aged P’s are nearly always away and have travelled extensively.  I’ve never met anyone else who has visited all bar one of the states of the USA.  Usually when I say I am visiting a place, I get the response that I have already been there as a child with them …. this is the email correspondence – start at the bottom!  They are in France.  Can we NOT do anything first?

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And finally a joyful Jade reunited with her duck (replacement one)

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343-351: Nine Nice Nights Near Nice!

343 – Tuesday 29th April 2016 – Destination Nice and a Nice Call

We had a last run along the coast in Lavento – our last run in Italy for … we don’t know how long before we return to Italy.IMG 0564

The beach front at Lavento.

We took the motorway up to Nice.  Now to speak in French … tres cher compared to Italian motorways!  Nice is too nice for campsites and free parkings so we are quite a way down the road in Antibes at an ACSI site, so EUR17 for 2 plus electric.  Campsite quiet with large and hedged pitches.

As we arrived we said ‘Good day’ to an Aussie Camper on tour.  A few glasses later and we had exchanged France / Spain and Italy good spots info and wifi Sims.

Nice phone call from my Munchkin who is on 4 weeks of Easter holidays.  “I’m bored, broke and I miss you” … not necessarily in that order.  “Can I come out to where you are?”.  Yes, but since very important A2 exams are looming, the deal is 4 hours of revision per day.  Agreed … she arrives on the 1st.  Our Nice destination is really so we can spend some time with J’s daughter and granddaughter, Sarah and Jade, who live in the old port area.  Slight change of plan – we had planned to mostly sleep at Sarah’s apartment, but when Maddy is here, I will sleep each night in Chardonnay so Maddy has a bed – although she complains it is like a park bench!  Also, the revision is more likely to happen without the distraction of the most cute 10 month baby.


344-350 – Wednesday 30th March to Tuesday 5th April 2016:  Nice is Nice!


For a change, I am condensing the next week into categories ….


We ran most days and my Pilates mat made an appearance.  J ran along the Boulevard des Anglais several times when he stayed with Sarah.  I only had one opportunity to run here as I slept in Chardonnay with Maddy except for the first night – and knowing it was my only chance, I even ran in the rain!   It really is a special place to trot.  Otherwise our run was 1.5 km down the hill to the coast.

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We ran on the bike track along the road … not a patch on the Boulevard in Nice.  This is looking east towards Cagnes sur Mer

My return run up the hill, took me sweating and panting into a bakery to purchase croissants for M – was kindly given a bag as the assistant could see I was about to carry on running … incongruous!  I managed to gasp out that they were for my daughter … wonder is she believed me?

And there’s J – had to buy him a belt …. all this running meant he had to walk holding up his trousers!!!


On our second day (day 1 being jobs for both us and Sarah, who had just got back from seeing family in Dublin), we walked down to the sea front to catch the number 200 bus to Nice Centre.  It is supposed to come every 20 mins, but busses in either direction seemed scarce.  Another patient passenger explained that there is a general strike today … about 40% only of the transport workers are working.  I explained that ‘en greve’ was one of the first French words I learned.  They speculated that in England we no longer have the right to strike … we subsequently read that the French air traffic controllers have been on strike 43 times in the last 7 years!   After 50 mins the bus did arrive and after another hour we made it to the centre of Nice.  A bit of a walk then to Sarah’s apartment to drop our stuff … it had become a 3 hour journey!  a 20 min walk each end and a 1 hour bus ride, without a strike and I and Maddy were going to have to do this each day AFTER REVISION!

However, a saviour in the form of Sarah very generously offered us use of her car … her English driving license has just expired so the car would be dormant.  So K remained sober.   I have been zipping back and forth between Antibes and Nice, although not always the same route – and not intentionally!   I eventually sussed the shore route is best as fewer traffic lights… one evening driving back, Maddy and I were stopped at 18 sets!  Great to use the car to collect M from her flight.  Given M’s heavy bag and the 1.3 km walk from the bus stop up to the campsite … it was really appreciated.

Sarah had mentioned she needed to get the car cleaned as her husband Gareth was arriving home shortly … I did the inside and then we took it to the jet wash.  It still did not look sparkly so J attacked it by hand.  But the DUST – it blew in and rained in.  Chardonnay is no longer an off white, but has orange streaks and so did Sarah’s clean (or was) car.  So the morning we handed the car back, we took it for its third wash.  The jet wash place was heaving on a Sunday, possibly to be expected, but also on a weekday morning …. Queuing 20 mins plus.  With all this dust, it really is the business to be in.

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Evidence that for a nano second, it looked all sparkly!

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We spotted this Monaco plated Bentley, illegally parking and commented that due to the colour (not the parking infringement) that it had to be a female’s car.  It sure was – blond and beautiful … but I now notice that it is parked under a pawn brokers … wonder if she’d been selling her 21cwt rings?


My Munckin started well and then flagged …

  • Day 1: 1 hour, and after a flight 🙂
  • Day 2:  3 hrs 20 mins 🙂
  • Day 3:  3 hrs 20 mins 🙂
  • Day 4:  Sadly ZERO!  The concept had been that M revised, whilst J and I cleaned Sarah’s holiday let apartment …. however, sleep seemed to kidnap M.
  • Day 5:  Another big fat zero, but to be honest not much opportunity.

I suspect, it was more than she would have achieved at home!



One lunch in an amazing bio restaurant – limited menu, but oh, so fresh.  A pizza on Maddy’s last day with a really thin crispy base.  We did not care much for the waitress – her nose twitched like a rabbits and she seemed not not be entirely happy with her work, but I ate all my pizza, it was so yummy.  Sarah led us to THE MOST AMAZING ice cream parlour … homemade and so many flavours, including macaroon, creme brûlée and Irish Coffee … of course!  She then managed to lead us to a bar!  I had my first French espresso … twice the size of an Italian one and not a patch on the caffeine kick … I’m so gonna miss the Italian cafe!  Please notice, my coffee, whilst J had wine … I was driving M and myself back to Chardonnay that evening to sleep.  Made up for it with a couple of glasses of Marsala later 🙂

It really helps to have a local to take you to the best places!

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Yes, Sylvie – just for you!

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Limoncello after the Pizza.

And a few shots of Jade in the restaurant … somehow seem to have missed taking a pic of Sarah.

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351 – Wednesday 6th April 2016:  Bike to Antibes

No Maddy, she flew home yesterday afternoon.  No Sarah or Jade:  Gareth arrives for his 8 weeks shore leave after 8 weeks on a super yacht.  Lazy start and then we cycled to Antibes.  Lunch in a cafe with a half litre carafe …. yeah, I could join J in a glass.  Walk to wall sunshine and still 27C at 4.00 p.m.  Lovely!  Then an interminable wait at a mobile phone shop to sort out mifi hub SIM data.  I needed to phone to activate it, but the French was so fast, I could not keep up.  Asked a couple of youths – they could not do it either, so had to go back to the shop to ask them.  The whole exercise took 1.5 hrs GRRR!  

342 – 343: Cinque Terre: 5 Towns and More than 500 Steps

342 – Sunday 27th March 2016:   £evantoomuch at Levanto

We motorwayed from the Siena parking – picking up some breakfast along the way and refreshing our services en route…. some 3 hours later, we arrived at the campsite that K had picked out. The road in/up to the site looked very narrow – I did a recce and spoke to the site team – some doubt expressed about an 8 metre van negotiating their twisting lane…. then with myself and a chap from the site guiding K as driver, we made it up the hill – to the most expensive campsite on planet Earth (or in Italy) – Euro 36 per night!   Reluctantly, we parked – the area is a tourist trap – and it’s Easter…..  About 50/50 Italians and Germans … they can afford these site fees!

Under a greying sky, a tour of the town was de rigeur and off we went – the campsite didn’t charge us for walking on their road!  Nice enough seafront promenade – possible running route for the morrow.   Then, a little moment – a procession and marching band in medieval costumes – lovely.  K captured this angelic chappie swirling his flag – he looks a bit serious – does he know those are the colours of my local football team in Dublin?  We’ll recognise him in 20 years time – when he will be centre forward for Italy (James – you’re showing your age – what’s a centre forward ?)  

The rain came – and we retreated to our £ucsious campsite – with fairly decent £oos… this could go on and on… £ots of vans parked c£everly very c£ose together – enough !

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343 – Monday 28th March 2016:  Cinque Cento Terre – More than 500 Steps!

There is a saying in Italy – “persona qui pedant 500 pedes – descende on arse!”  It’s a recent saying – from today, actually…more later on that.  We Trenitaia’d from £evanto to Consiglia to start the Cinque Terre walk – 3-4 hours estimated by the Tourist Office – quite accurate in our case.  The photos give a good idea of the climbing – the paths were ok-ish in places – however, it must be said that in UK these paths would have been condemned on health and safety grounds. Which is better? Open a path that is narrow and steep with sheer edges – and trust people to be sensible – or close anything that hints of danger? We know the answer – perhaps Italy is not yet wildly litigious on h&s issues…? There was one sign we spotted at the end of the walk “Walking in the park is not recommended during bad weather”.  Oops – it had rained all night and half the morning!  And was very slippery … justification for what happened anon?!

Including a climb of 600 feet (sounds more impressive than 200 metres), we reached Vernazza – jam packed with tourists (it is a public holiday, after all) – and found a spot on the harbour wall to eat lunch – K’s pasta dish and fruit – plenty.  Second leg of trip – more ascending and ascending… spectacular views – some (not just me) quite mature folk walking the route. We had to remark on the wide range of unsuitable footwear on display – everything from flimsy plimsolls (another old word, James) to shoes with heels and suede boots!  Narrower paths – folk being polite in showing passing decorum (isn’t decorum a lovely word?  Decorous decorum decorated decadent descending dallies!)   The path was often so narrow that one waited to allow people to pass.  K asked J what the most common word spoken was .. “Feck” was the answer … No, said K … “Grazie” in a plethora of Italian and very non Italian accents.  

On one section, it was necessary (I swear it) to become quite intimate with passing members of the opposite gender – purely in the interests of – yes, decorum!  A bit like pressing flowers – or, as the Roman might have said – “intimosa floribundance”!  Then came the ‘floribumdance’!  I was blocked by a group of young folk who were not displaying decorum – so I sidestepped and walked on a more slippy side of the path – the ground came up to meet my nether regions – two body bounces and a couple of scratches as a result of the descendarse method… K called for the air ambulance – I was winched up and shot off to the local arsepedale…actually, we nonchalarsely kept on walking – stiff upper lip – and bottom!

Down some very steep steps, and Monterosso reached out to us – with red wine and ice cream!

An excellent walk – stirring views – another superb day – sadly, amongst the last of our present stay in Italy…

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The initial steps up from the train station at Corniglia, along with the masses.

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We came from here…

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Nets in situ to ready for the olive harvest.  

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Euphorbia and Irises – lots of Spring blossoms and flowers.

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Picnic spot at Vernazza in sight.

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Nearly all American tourists … a lot of gelato being consumed (not connected!).

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Looking back at Vernazzo as we embark on stage 2 of the walk.

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No question as to why the Cinque Terre is such a draw for so many tourists.

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A cat sanctuary en route … with a notice asking people to feed the cats with the food provided in a bin.

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 And we came from here too … but you can see how steep the cliffs are.

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Monterosso and the train station in sight.  As well as olives, the cliffs also nurture vines … the farmers use mono rails to get up and down the slopes.