Matera to Sicily

Rometta Marea 14/01/2016

We have made it to Sicily and first impressions are favourable. There seems to be more about the place than the foot of Italy, it seems to have an edge, the architecture is more diverse and consequently more interesting and is scenically majestic. This post will only be a short one as we are going to treat Sicily as a separate country as far as the blog is concerned.

Marina 12/01/2016

How nice of the Italians to name a resort after one of the finest vehicles ever produced by the skilled British worker. To be fair this resort is a far more attractive proposition than a mustard coloured piece of shite built by Red Robbo and his chums. We parked on a service road running parallel to the beach and had a pleasant afternoon and evening. The weather was gorgeous with the thermometer reading at 22c. In fact the last week has been some of the warmest weather on record for this part of the world. The two hour journey down from Matera was unremarkable both in terms of landscape and near misses although you are never far away from an accident here, the locals appear to remove their brains when they enter a motor vehicle and replace the void with an arse.

We ummed and arrhed whether to stay an extra day on the beach as according to the forecast this would be the last warm sunny day for a while but with the sand beginning to find its way in to every nook and cranny we decided to push on for Sicily.

It was too far for us to make Sicily in one go so we aimed to break the journey somewhere along the northern coast just off the A3 motorway. I say motorway because technically it isn’t, not according to the EU who funded it. It seems the local politicians decided to save money by not building the third lane and hard shoulder and use the savings on Bunga-Bunga parties. But the strangest thing of all is that the EU want their money back, this must be a first for the fiscal wasters of Brussels. The bits that have been built are fabulous, masterful civil engineering feats of tunnelling and bridging alternating through some of the most demanding geography in Europe. I cannot wait to drive back along it and maybe this time they would have opened the second lane which currently is coned off.

Briatico 13/01/2016

Ignoring the ‘No Camper’ signs we pulled in next to old fort and overlooking a sandy beach with views around the Bay of Pizzo. For the interested, Pizzo is the Italian for protection money and is derived from the Sicilian word for beak. Not long after we arrived the wind started to increase in strength and the sea started to whip over the harbour wall dousing the van in spray forcing us to move a few metres along the road behind a row of trees for protection. Here is the windy picture.

Blowing hard

Not being able to get out I decided to do a bit of maintenance while Tracy lie in bed a bit poorly. One of us has now had a cold since leaving Greece. What I had in mind was to clean the taps so the water came out faster and straighter. What I didn’t know at the time of starting that this would end-up as a dentistry centric event. Firstly I dropped the toothpaste into the toilet cassette and as Tracy was asleep I knew the chances of that now being retrieved were zero. Secondly I couldn’t get the end of the tap off that contained the filter that needed cleaning so I improvised and cleaned it from the outside with Tracy’s toothbrush. An event I still have not told her about, but I am sure she will be fine about it.

Later that evening we went for a Pizza in the restaurant opposite and might fine it was too. Tracy had now recovered enough to share a bottle of slightly fizzy red.

In the morning we woke to a fine day with no wind as so we moved the van back round the corner to have breakfast with a view, and here it is.

Breakfast View

We now had a two hour journey down to the port of Villa San Giovanni for the twenty minute crossing to Messini in Sicily. Again we used the A3 for the most part and as the more northern section it was also down to one lane for the entire journey.

The ticket for the crossing is in all honesty a bit of a rip-off as the cost is €96 return. The only plus point is there is a flat rate charge and it doesn’t matter how long your motorhome is. Armed with the ticket we joined the queue and waited to board. Here are a couple of pics of us waiting:

In line

Hard at it

Cute dog

Obviously the boarding was chaotic with the road going from three lanes to one for ticket presentation and then back out to four to get on the ship. The process was not helped by people trying to sneak on without paying on one-hand and van drivers forcing themselves forward at every opportunity. Amusing.

As it was a warm sunny day we sat up on the top-deck and took a couple of pictures of the crossing and of the Straits of Messini:

Ferry crossing the Straits of Messini

Us on-board

Sicily – the first picture

Our arrival we planned to stay just along the coast next to the red and white electricity cable that dominates the skyline. No longer in use it is now a listed building depicting how electrical power was delivered to Sicily from the mainland. However, when we arrived we found several half-naked men building a bonfire on the beach. As this was only 3 o’clock in the afternoon we thought this is only going in one direction and so we exited on the opposite bearing and ended here in Rometta.

Love to all

Take Care

E & T

xxx

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