We were awoken at 06:45 by what sounded like a couple of large, very loud continually
barking dogs down on the beach, and by the time we'd dropped off again it was time for the grizzly kids to wake up at 07:45.
Like the Royal Navy's Submarine Service during the Cold
War, as covered in the book I'm reading 'The Silent Deep', we had infiltrated the enemies territory and were gaining intelligence. For us it was how Italian families spend a weekend by the sea. The German motorhomers knew better and all left late Friday. I
think we are the only 'foreigners' here now, surrounded by Italians.
We seem to have been objects of interest during our stay here, especially when we're seen around the local town
carrying our shopping, and here at the campsite today when they notice the vehicles GB registration plate.
During our month here in Italy we've found the Italians
to be generally friendly and helpful, and thankfully many of them have an understanding of some English, but then we have been visiting many tourists hotspots. I don't think we'd have much chance of being understood around here. It's very rural with probably
only agriculture and the Mafia as sources of income. The irritating thing is they're so damned loud. But I think I'm getting the hang of their language - you just add an 'o' to the end of everything. I bet the salad vegetable started off as a 'Tomat' until
the Italians got their hands on it, and now it's the 'Tomato'.
This is now the end of our visit to Italy, God-willing we'll be on a ferry to Greece tomorrow. I
won't be sorry to leave, but it's been interesting. It was nice to see some of the tourist attractions for myself. Frankly you can keep Rome, too crowded by far. I quite liked Florence, and was surprised at how walkable it was. The most concerning
thing was who they issued guns to in the city. There were numerous uniformed individuals standing around in pairs who I can only liken to the St Johns Ambulance Brigade back home. Public spirited individuals, who have a uniform, but because the members come
in all shapes and sizes, they never look smart, never quite look as if you'd want to put your life in their hands given the choice. Now imagine that same motley band walking towards you with their pouch of dressings on one side of their belts and on the other
- a GUN. Do you feel safe now?
The Chef liked Siena, and I'm sorry we didn't stay there the following day which would have enabled us to go back in to town for another
My favourite location was Pisa. I think it was because we arrived there so early and were able to enjoy the main tourist hot spots before all the tourist coaches
arrived. What I will always remember is the amazing acoustics in the Baptistry, when one of the ticket checkers at the door stood in the centre of the floor and chanted - just wonderful. Yet again though, just before leaving town the following morning we popped
back down to the local supermarket where we saw the young supermarket security man carrying a pistol. Scary, but I guess it means they have a zero tolerance policy for shoplifting.
toll roads have been a refreshing surprise as the charges for using them have been quite reasonable, and I for one wouldn't have journeyed through Italy without using them given the disgraceful condition of many of the normal roads. I have no idea
how long a set of tyres or shock absorbers last over here.
The cops are a joke. They see what they want to see and enforce nothing. They drive around the cities one handed whilst
making mobile phone calls with the other, so it's unlikely they'll be pulling anybody over for using a mobile phone any time soon.
My morning look at the BBC News website bought
a smile to my face. The Sunday Express had as its headline 'Elderly Will Be Cared For By Robots'. Couple that with an article that caught my eye before we came away:
Daily Mail April 7th:
High Tech sex robots could be owned by hundreds of people in the UK within a year an expert has predicted.
Dr Kate Devlin thinks they may be bought by couples as well. ‘These robots will be bought by people who have a fettish but also by people who have a relationship but their partner is not willing or able to have
sex with them’.
Now put those two together and life in an old folks home in the future just might be worth a look.
This afternoon was spent sat watching some of the Neanderthals making fire on one of the provided barbecue points, which unfortunately was right across from us. They used what looked like wood and twigs scavenged from the beach, which smoked
pretty badly and was most unpleasant when the wind changed and blew our way.
We remain stuck between two motorhomes of the same family. Still at least we can say we met Italian
riff-raff before we left the country.
Tonight we are to enjoy a nice piece of steak which we bought out with us, together with roasted potatoes, vegetables and garlic (can't waste
them!) plus some salad.
Fortunately we had a dramatic turn of events between 19:00 and 20:00 in that the Italians followed their normal practice of turning turn up somewhere
Friday evening, let their bloody kids make a nuisance of themselves and then go home Sunday evening.
This means that our knuckle-dragging Pikey neighbours have gone home along with
everybody else, and suddenly we have peace.
Tomorrow we're off to Greece. If Italy is the 'boot' of Europe with its sole and heel shape, then Greece is what the
boot trod in and is trying to wipe off on the grass verge.
Our intelligence gathering mission here in Italy is complete.