Sunday, 28 February 2016

Finale before the end

Sunday, 28th February 2018

We are in a bit of a quandary, whether to stay here until early next week before crossing back to the mainland, or to revisit Guardini Naxos and Taormina before we head north.

It's a nicely situated campsite, and it was good to meet and chat to John and Deb. They invited us for a BBQ the other day, and it's only when you are sociable that you realise just how insular you can become if you constantly move from place to place. They have been living in a motorhome full-time for the last fourteen months. I think if it is your only home then you will put down roots now and then. They celebrated Christmas here, and now Easter is less than a month hence.


In contrast, we have home time in the UK, and travelling time in Europe, trundling about for about five months each year, in 8 - 10 week bursts and flying home in between. In terms of our mantra, 'to boldly go to places the Turpies have never been before', then I guess we have been spectacularly successful. John mentioned that since starting out fourteen months ago they have stayed in 55 different places. In the 12 weeks we have travelled since October, we have stayed in 53 different places, and in our various adventures with Maisy involving three visits to Europe over the last 18 months counting up the 'pins' on our myMaps, it turns out we have travelled for 252 days in total, and stopped in 125 different locations. In a sense this underlines the difference between long-term travellers, full-timers and over-winterers. It seems to me that John and Deb have found a balance,between the folks who trundle their bungalow on wheels Benidorm-wards every winter, and determined travellers like ourselves. We have averaged a stay of two nights per place and the longest time ever spent in one place was six nights, and that was only because Gill was immobilised by a knee sprain. Perhaps we need to slow down!

The local village of Finale itself is very pleasant. Unlike some other places we've been in many of the shop-keepers go out of their way to be helpful and friendly. The village itself is a kind of scrubbed clean version of Sicily, litter free, well maintained, with mostly modern buildings, a bit bland, but but with a good range of local shops.This part of the coastline is amongst the least developed we have come across in Sicily I can see how John and Deb, who are full-timing settled-in here for a few months.

Outside the butchers shop - awesome sausages!


Streetside petrol station - you don't see those at home

The shadow town coucil.

Sunlight on the retirement home for aged Pandas


Jolly planters

biking to the bakers


The street by the butchers is named after the 2nd  President of the post-war Republic of Italy -  Ludivico Enaudi's grandpa.
Finale is so neat and tidy, even the grafitti seems coyly designed.
On the edge on the village are the ruins of an old cement factory. The wagonways down to the railway have been converted to to pedestrianised areas with seating - I can spot European Objective 3 funded project a mile off;! The same funds that beautified the coal pits of Derbyshire in the 1990s, ah...the joys of bid writing and inventing 'matched-funding that never existed in the first place. Is there a retired public sector manager in the EU who was not a nifty creative accountant so far as European funding is concerned? It's not just the Italians and Spanish who bent the rules.

European funded improvements to the brown field site?

The grant ran out here!
On the other hand, it is blowing a gale right now, the van is being buffeted, I have tied the bikes to a nearby fence with elastics to prevent them being blown over again. The forecast is not great for the next few days on the north coast, but better in the east towards Catania. Why sit here and be shaken about when you have wheels, why not follow the sun?

"Where next?" Enquires the motorgnome...
Last year we made the error of heading North before we needed to. Even as far south as Naples the temperature is significantly lower than in Sicily, and in Rome it's tipping down. I figure we could stay in Sicily until the 6th March and still be in Pisa by the 15th without busting a gut. What to do? Sleep on it and see what tomorrow brings. Where has Pete the inveterate planner gone? Is the south finally working some laid back magic on this self confessed man who must have  a plan?

"What's the hurry? Just relax." He advises.
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