After the anxiety of Lamezia Terme, I went back to Catanzaro Lido to steel my nerves. I had a day to kill before meeting up with Karen and Franz in Tiriolo so I spent it on the beach. Thankfully here was a car park next to a café with WiFi, so after spending 5 Euros on coffee I had internet for 24 hours.
I had been lulled in to a false sense of security with this car park. When I first saw it at 5pm there was hardly anyone or anything about, parking up and having a stroll around. Coming back to the camper at around 8pm, the place was heaving. Not only with people, but also one of those miniature tourist trains going up and down the sea front, and my car park was the pick-up point! Still, this wasn’t costing me anything so who am I to complain.
I spent the next afternoon on the beach with the dead jelly fish. I did try going in the sea, but when I dived in and opened my eyes under water to see something large and bulbous in my vicinity, I decided against doing much swimming. The jellies were huge with a really pretty purple edge to their top bits, which when they were swimming, made it look like the hem of a crimplene dress! A couple got washed inwards as I was basking myself so I got a stick and gentle pushed them back in to deeper water. No idea if they survived, but they didn’t look as translucent as the dead ones on the shore so I am assuming that they were ok. Was just my luck to see them and let them put me off swimming, like seeing the water snakes in the Lakes. Wouldn’t have been so bad if the last snake I saw swam away, instead of swimming towards to come and check me out. And then there was that black one that chased me along the road whilst I was out with my camera in sandals…
So after a relaxing day at the beach came the drive to Tiriolo on top of a mountain – insert google pic here – and thankfully it hadn’t been raining. After a mishap with sat nav and directions, I met up with Karen and Franz at their lovely house and sampled Karen’s homemade tiramisu and coffee. Marvellous! We had a walk around the village, through the narrow twisty streets to the remains of a castle at the apex of the mountain. The views were phenomenal, the camera was still in the camper! Oops! Anyways, from here on a clear day you could see both seas, “due mare”, and as I left, the 100% humidity showed up in the form of fog on the top of the hill. Was a lovely afternoon spent with some lovely people!
Now that I had got my gas and seen Karen, the result of my frantic weekend in Lecce was that I resolved to spend as much time as possible in Tuscany before the money ran out. That if I wanted to spend any more time on the beach I could do it there if needs be, but the continued tourist sites were both expensive and packed, and not the reason why I came here. I was disappointed at the amount of practice I had had in speaking Italian by the time I got to my tutor and embarrassed that I could only hold a conversation still in English. Up until now the most Italian I have actually spoken to anyone was the owners’ son at the campsite with no gas or WiFi.
So I was now heading for the west coast, to see the Amalfi Coast, Positano and Pompeii. Onwards towards Rome and then towards Tuscany, hopefully to be in Florence for my birthday and actually have a proper meal out and not worry about the cost. After reading up on Naples, though it was recommended to see it if not to stay, the idea of it being the crime centre of Italy and a problem with uncleared rubbish, I wasn’t going to tempt providence with my track record. After a long, good day, I found the coast and a parking spot, all be it on the side of the highway, and parked up for the night.