Tuesday, 24 November 2015

More dollops of E45

Monday 23rd November

We stayed five nights at Parking Lantini, the longest time we have settled in one place on this trip. We're close to clocking up 3500 miles since leaving home, no wonder we needed to rest a while. After weeks of being solitary it was good to chat to others on the site. Jean and Malcom are experienced travellers and have owned vans much longer than we have. so we picked up some good tips, particularly about wifi and tricks about downloading media on-line. 

Pete, with Malcom  and Jean, fellow 'Motorhome Adventurers'
An Australian couple too were good company, Jilly and...oh! I am hopeless with names, anyway they own a house on Magnetic Island, a small place off the coast of Queensland near Townsville. A mere dot on the map, its only claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame. We were able to surprise them, because we rented a house there in 2011. As it turned out they knew the exact chalet bungalow we stayed in at Picnic Bay. How is that for a coincidence?

Our itinerary for this half's final ten days is to go south visiting various places on the way to Piazza Armentina. After we have seen the famous mosaics at the nearby Villa Casale we will double back to Camping Scarabeo at Punta Braccetto, where we will store the van until February. It's a plan!

Stage one of the plan finds us back trundling down our old friend , the E45. As you might recall if you happen to be an ardent follower of our blog, the E45 is the EU's longest transnational highway running from the north of Sweden to Gela on the southern coast of Sicily. We followed a small section of the road from Ravenna to near Perugia. Now we rejoin it again as it nears its final destination.

Two things intrigue me this evening. Firstly, has anyone travelled the E45's length, and documented it? That would be an interesting project. Secondly, half in jest I raised the question about keen followers of the blog. Now there must be some, because the counter last week notched past the 20,000 page view. Who are you all? You can comment you know if you wish! I have a sneaky suspicion that some of the hits are not actually humans at all. Russia features quite strongly in the stats, these have to be automated 'bots' surely. Perhaps all the hits are, and the words I am writing now are destined to be noted by a bot, then languish forever as disregarded digits in an anonymous storage facility in an obscure industrial park on the outskirts of Dublin or Trondheim. 

Anyway, be that as it may, back to today. We stopped for an hour or two in Siracusa. We rented an apartment in the old part of the city two years ago with our eldest daughter, Sarah and her boyfriend, Rob. Although our mission is to visit new places, occasionally revisiting old haunts is nice too. One of my favourite places on the planet is Siracusa market, we just managed to get there before it closed up.

The central Piazza, Siracusa
Interesting old streets

The best fresh produce market I have ever seen -

Sometimes returning to places can be a disappointment, but the market remains a favourite place. It's a very human, unpretentious, authentic; in a culture that sanctifies pretence and dismisses the real and the authentic as mythical, then coming face to face with a hefty tuna, stone dead on a metal slab, does remind you, not everything is a simulacrum.

Now we are parked at Agro-campeggio Rinauri. It's less than 10km south of the city. Convenient perhaps, but 22 euros per night for a pitch in field with basic facilities seems a bit of a rip-off. The problem at this time of year is so few places are open you more or less have to accept what is on offer in any particular place.

Gill is a really good cook, and armed with the top notch ingredients we have eaten exceptionally well this trip. Tonight she excelled herself, the chicken marinaded in lemon and garlic and served with cherry tomatoes and fresh parsley on a bed of linguine was truly delicious. The white wine from the mountains inland from Naples -  dry but aromatic. No slumming it around here!


Fresh parsley from the market, red campion picked outside the van - flowers in late November - bueno!
Tomorrow we are heading for Noto. The Agri-tourismo south of the town looks good on the web, and Gill had phoned ahead to check they are open, the website is a bit coy about costs off-season, who knows what we might end up paying.

Camping Ranauri - very much a Agri-campeggio, OK, but overpriced.



  1. Hello! I'm following you, especially during the dark days in UK. Planning our next mh trip in early Feb (we're not ones to spend all winter in southern Spain - just not our thing).
    We are Gill and Pete(r) too!

    1. Hi Gill, there are humans out there! Lovely to hear from you and best wishes for your planned trip in February.

  2. Hi Gill and Pete, how are you? We hope you very well :)
    Roberto and Giusi

    1. Hi Roberto and Giusi,

      We are taking it easy in Punta Braccetto, Gill is able to walk a few metres and now has an expensive knee support from the Medical Supporti shop in Ragusa. We will be going home to England on Saturday. Many thanks again for your kindness and help last week. Hopefully Gill will be fully rcovered when we return in February to continue our journey. best wishes, Gill and Pete x

  3. Hi Gill and Pete, I've been following you blog over the past few weeks, following your adventures from the beginning, whilst stuck at my desk in my last year before retirement. Seeing this post prompted me to drop a note from a real person and say thanks for all the inspiration. We are busy preparing our elderly MH for our first long adventure to France & Spain in 2018 then hopefully Greece 2019. I find myself laughing out loud in the office to many of your observations and totally agree; No Cruise ships for us! Right, back to work, roll on next year. Thanks again, Steve & Jill

  4. Hi Steve - lovely to hear from you. I am glad you find the blog entertaining and useful for making your own plans - which sound great. You still have a year or so to go on ours. Sadly we have had to curtail our wanderlust for the moment because Gill's Dad (aged 92) is becoming increasingly frail and we cannot risk being abroad for long periods. I think your plan to begin long term touring with France and Spain is a good one as the services, sites and facilities are easy to use and both countries are well set up for Mohos. Italy and Greece are a little more challenging - but great places to visit. Perhaps the Peloponesse in autumn is the most beautiful place I have ever been. Stay in touch and best wishes for your future travels, Pete, Gill & Maisy!