There is an old saying in these parts; When in Rome do as the Romans do. Well we did. We avoided Rome like the plague and followed every level-headed Roman and left the place to the tourists. Having been there a shed-load of times and never been impressed we gave Rome the big swerve on this trip and headed somewhere quiet, somewhere with good food and drink, somewhere Italian. So we chose Italy’s fourth largest lake set in beautiful scenery on the Tuscany Umbrian border. We managed to get prime position on the end overlooking the tiny harbour with a fine restaurant opposite and all the facilities a Homie could wish for. And in case you are beginning to pour scorn on this idyll I will put up a rather lovely picture of our position.
We had to make a bit of a detour on leaving Castel Gandolfo as we had run out of internet credit and needed to top-up speedily to stop me losing my Lingots I have earned on Duolingo. A task easier said than done with 8 metres of fabricated aluminium to heave about in a town with one road, no parking spots and 27 Traffic Wardens all with shiny new note-books and sharpened pencils. So I stuck it on a Zebra and legged for the phone shop. I had not gone more than three feet when I was stopped by a couple of the alert Tarffico’s. Explaining to them in my best Italian that I would lose my hard earned Lingots from my Duolingo Italian course unless I could find a sheep to hire was met with a smile and a grace of 10 minutes. This was achieved and everyone in the town of Velletri was now a happy bunny and a relieved sheep.
Our next task was to top up the LPG to power our heating, hot water, cooking and fridge which up until this point had not been a problem anywhere in Europe. Technically speaking, it is against the law in Italy to fill up a motorhome with LPG at a garage. Obviously as this is Italy then the law does not count. The country takes the view of what is good enough for our corrupt bunch of robbing politicians is good enough for us, meaning most laws are ignored. Funny, where in Britain our politicians are as equally corrupt and we still follow the laws to the nth degree like good upstanding jobsworths. Personally, I am beginning to lean towards the Italian model. I digress. The point is; around Rome we could not get any garage to fill us with LPG and had to wait until we were a good 50km north before normal service was resumed. Can only think a lot of dour Brits are living in the Rome area with no interest in Bunga-Bunga parties.
Following our rule to drive on Tarmac where possible we took the A1 autostrada north before turning off and routing through Terni and Perugia before arriving at our destination. We mistakenly thought as the route through Perugia was shown as a Green European Route then it would be fine. It might be when they lay the top coat of road surface on it but at the moment it is as bad as the rest. You just bounce a little higher as you are going at a higher speed than a road without a little green number.
Borghetto 24/03 – 28/03/2016
What more could you ask for a quiet Easter Vacation away from the hordes than the feast the village of Borghetto serves up? It is on a lake, with a couple of restaurants, a couple of shops, cycle paths around the lake, boat trips to islands and friendly helpful locals.
The first night after a long drive we settled in with an easy meal knocked-up by Tracy, a bottle of the local red that just happens to be Chianti and an early night. Then at about 11pm the peace and solitude of the night was shattered by a van load of people in a Transit van with 2 track-suited and overweight Adults and 5 unwashed children who thought it would be a good idea to start fishing by making as much noise as possible by quoting lines from the movie ‘Snatch’ and using the left-overs from a McDonalds Happy Meal for bait. Obviously these velour-clothed artisans caught nothing apart from a few sharp words from some Italians and left without a single fish, apart from the one they bought in Mackie-D’s earlier. Surely there is a name for these people.
We spent the next day doing nothing apart from catching a few rays in the early spring sunshine and visiting the local shop for some supplies. I took some pictures as the sun went down around our site and then finished off the day with a visit to the Trattoria opposite. Grand.
Looking towards the isle of Maggiore
Our idea today was to cycle around the lake and take the ferry to the island. Guess what? Half of Italy had the same idea and as the queue for the boat was never-ending so we had a change of plan and opted to ride to the town of Castigleone some 10 miles away. Except it wasn’t. I got lost and we somehow managed to double the distance before reaching our objective and rewarding ourselves with a double Gelato. Castigleone is a typical fortified village that like so many others has given its soul to the tourist dollar. There is one street that is an endless ribbon of tat shops, I am including food of the region shops in there, and a castle with commanding views over the Lake.
Us; post Gelato and ready to ride back
Having got lost on the way out we were determined not to get lost on the way back. We double-checked the map at the start of the route and made a mental note to keep close to the lake. What we should have worked out was this; The cycle path was paid for by the EU and was built in 2007. As we all know a lot has happened to Europe since 2007 financially, namely Germany has all the money and the rest of the EU is skint. So we already know that in Italy they have given up repairing the roads and we have just found out they have given up looking after the cycle paths. See Pictures.
Putting a bit of paint spray on it does not make it disappear
We Give up.
The only way out of this was to hoof across a field while hoping not to be seen by the local farmer and on to the main road. We were warned not to go on this road as it was full of fast traffic. Well we made it and got back just as the heavens opened. Knackered we slipped over to the restaurant again for some fine food with Tracy tucking in to a Wide-mouthed Bass caught from the lake while I had a pig. The Bass were shipped over back in the day from America as a food stock. This non-native species has now taken over a lot of Italian lakes and provides a tasty meal to a lot of happy customers. The original fish that lived in the lake are now gone and are not so happy.
Our final day was spent having a sunbathe and a BBQ. A truly wonderful day in a truly wonderful place far from the madding crowds.
A couple of my spare legs on the Barbie
Love to All