Friday, 24 April 2015

From Venice back to Pisa (Beth)

After our whistle-stop tours of Pisa, Florence and Venice, we had two days to get Lauren and Steve back to Pisa again. To get some different views of the road, we decided to come back via Ravenna on the east coast. On the first day we thought we had made a horrible mistake, as the roads were some of the worst we had encountered so far, and trust me, none of the roads in Italy are exactly fantastic. To top it off, at the end of that day our chosen campsite was closed, being late to open for the summer season, so we were forced to our only alternative site, a partly nudist campsite! We decided not to tell Alfie. Thankfully though, the weather was apparently too cold for the nudists and we didn't see any.

You can fit six in a van when you're hiding from nudists.

The following day we packed up again and headed out for what we expected to be a tough days drive along pitted roads, with me trying to keep up with Nathanial overtaking juggernauts. As it turned out, we were rewarded for the previous day with what Nathanial described as possibly the most amazing road he has ever driven on. I rather enjoyed it myself,

Funnily enough, driving this nippy little number up the winding roads wasn't quite as tough as being Nathanial's passenger in the van, being high up over the barriers and trying to keep his attention on the road. Note: he was still taking pictures whilst driving!

Driving the A1 up the twisty roads. Rescue Remedy NOT required!

As we crossed the country we had been expecting mountains, and we got them, but the roads winding through them were relatively smooth and the views were stunning.

We stopped at the top and had a coffee break at a roadside bar before weaving our way back down again.

You're never too old for a huggle with your Mum
The sat nav in it's infinite wisdom decided to give us another tour of Florence on the way back to Pisa but we arrived in good time to our new campsite. We had already decided not to re-visit the site we had been in when Lauren and Steve arrived and instead chose one just south of the city, set down a very bumpy, dusty road, but in the middle of green fields and next to a lake. It was beautiful, and just what we needed after all the driving.

It was wise to keep the windows closed at this point.

Lago le Tamerici campsite; note the guest annex.

The following day, we dropped Lauren and Steve (and the Audi - sob!) back to the airport and after a quick Lidl pitstop we limped back to the campsite so Nathanial could undertake the little job of replacing the brake pads on the van.

Mr Fix-it and his trusty roll of Duct Tape

We had had a warning light telling us they needed replacing just after getting to Italy, so had decided to get Lauren to bring us some out and for Nathanial to do the work, rather than trying to arrange the work to be done in an Italian garage, where we'd be at the mercy of whichever mechanic we were landed with. Over a thousand kilometers later the work was a little past overdue but hopefully the job got done before any other damage was done.

A bit too close for comfort.

We rested in Lago le Tamerici for a few days, and a certain little lad had a birthday and then it was time to hit the road again, destination Rome.

Our first on-the-road birthday boy

After the previous week, we were aiming for a slightly slower pace, but we reached our chosen aire by lunchtime and decided to push on as the roads were quiet, it being Sunday. The next stop down proved to be a large dusty car park, but with the added bonus of a bar, so we decided to rough it. After a pleasant evening in the sunshine we settled in for the night, and by the time we were ready to leave in the morning, nobody had been round to collect a fee, so we were grateful for a free night.

It's tough, all this travelling.

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