A bridge too far ….. 27/3/15

After a small diversion as our Sat Nav pointed us to a bridge that I barely fit through, let alone Mika

20150323_no go mika diana castellowe finally made it to our first ‘Fattore Amico’ site ‘Al Roseto’, a garden centre which stocked local produce which had a nice tranquil campsite attached to it just outside Diano Marina. We didn’t have to pay for the first night as it was part of the ‘Fattore Amico’ deal, but as we ended up staying two nights the second was 15 euros including electricity.

Whilst exploring the Diano Marina we managed to find several lovely deli’s and bakery’s – purchasing some Biscotti and a couple of bottles of local wine before stopping for a more reasonably priced glass of wine (1 euro 50) in a bar on the way back home…. Italy is definitely going up in our estimations!  The following day was market day so we ventured back into town to experience our first Italian market and despite it mostly consisting of clothes, they had a good selection of local produce including pesto, meats, cheeses and fruit and veg…. however, unlike France, Portugal and Spain though they were pretty much shut by 12:30 which surprised us but at least we know for next time.

Later in the afternoon, taking advantage of a break in the weather, we walked to Cervo another village slightly further along the coast. Cervo is perched on the side of a hill and is made up of lots of tiny alleyways wiggling in between – and in some circumstances underneath – the houses as the village climbs up to the castle at the top…. Absolutely stunning in a ‘shabby chic’ kind of way.

We left Diano Marina and travelled towards Levanto, stopping overnight at an ACSI campsite (Camping La Vesima – 16 euros) on route in Arenzano. The campsite was ‘cosy’ to say the least as it was set up to cram in as many caravans/motorhomes as possible, so even in quiet times like now, we had to move the motorhome in the morning to let someone else get out as they wanted to leave before us …. A slightly odd arrangement, but the staff were more than helpful and we needed to catch up with the washing so it suited the purpose. The journey between Arenzano and Levanto was only 90km, but it twisted up and down between the mountains and the coast, rising and falling, taking in every town and village it can find, high or low. It was a shame that it was raining and the cloud was very low as I am sure that the scenery would have been stunning, but we arrived in one piece, which if you saw some of the roads we travelled on you would appreciate why I won’t ask for more than that!

Levanto is another pretty seaside town on the edge of Cinque Terres, a national park containing five coastal villages which until recently were only accessible by foot or sea. Unfortunately two years ago the torrential rain and flooding destroyed many of the paths through the area and they haven’t re-constructed them so we decided to only spend a day in the park this time, catching the train between all but the last two villages, where we were able to walk the path. It is fairly difficult to find a good place at a reasonable price to park the motorhome, but we found an Aire (another car park with services) next to the station which costs 24 euros for 36 hours – a little more expensive than normal, but they have a bit of a captive market….

The area is beautiful despite the huge number of tourists and each village has a slightly different personality

Riomaggiore, which sits between two hills with lots of tall houses all in different colours

Riomaggiore9_20150327Manerola, surrounded by vinyards layered up the sides of the hills

Manarola7_20150327Corniglia, a small village which sits 100m up on top of a hill rather than meeting the sea… although very picturesque not quite as beautiful as the others so I will save the photo 🙂

Vernazza, Stunning village situated around the harbour. Unfortunately it was heaving with people, so although it looked beautiful from afar, it wasn’t quite as tranquil whilst there ….

Venazza9_20150327Monterosso, the flattest of all the villages spreading along the seafront in two coves

Monterosso2_20150327All in all, it was a lovely day out and as it has rained a fair amount since we arrived in Italy, we were obviously pretty pleased that the sun decide to make a show today. We will definitely look to come back and see more of the area when the weather has been dryer for a longer period and more paths are open.

Having now been in Italy for nearly a week we have decided that it isn’t really designed for motorhomes. The roads are too narrow, the train lines are all built too low so, you either need to be under 2m to get to the other side, or go the very long way round and despite the fact that Italians just dump their car as close to their destination as possible no matter if it is on a roundabout or zebra crossing, there is no parking for the slightly larger vehicle … Mika is a bit sensitive about her size 😦

So far however, the scenery is stunning and the ice-creams aren’t too bad either!

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