Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Ice Cold in Auchun

Monday 7th March

Having blogged recently somewhat effusively regarding the delights of locally sourced produce in Sicily, Gill and I still fell into the Auchun Hypermarket in Corigliano with a quiet desperation best epitomised in the final bar-room scene from 'Ice Cold in Alex'. The place was huge, the car park empty, the aisles deserted and the stuff... oh so much stuff we never realised we needed. The Easter egg section alone would have filled a tennis court or two. We were restrained and stuck to the list, and now we have replaced the Paris goblets that got broken with more sensible small tumblers, the plastic measuring jug that started to leak has gone, to be replaced by another, which will start to leak because none of them can cope with boiling water, paper goods have been fully replenished, and we bought half a dozen bottles of wine. 

The checkouts...oddly empty

The mall - oddly empty..

The Easter egg section, so big it has been offered a seat at the UN.
In Sicily we ended up buying locally as we went along, but there is no doubt about it sometimes you do need a store. The problem is, it takes hours. A shop in a mini-market might take 10 minutes, it was almost two hours before we emerged from Auchun. The result was that although we had travelled only 53 miles it was late afternoon before we reached the camp site at Thurio. The only problem is, our new found retail discipline to only buy the essentials resulted in erring on the side of caution so much  that we'll need to go back to Auchun tomorrow.

In fact it was not only the mega-shop that had delayed us. The SS106/E90 winds its way up the Ionian coast from Reggio. It is narrow and twisting, south of Rossarno particularly. Added to that it trails through seaside sprawl. Though it is designated as a trunk road, much of it is speed restricted, whole stretches limited to 50kph. Unusually for Italians most seem to stick to the rules. Maybe it's the number of speed cameras, we even found an Italian average speed trap. I suppose another factor that may curb driver enthusiasm is that most of the S bends with double height crash barriers are decorated with images of Jesus or Mary, bouquets of flowers tied carefully beneath them. This is a fatally dangerous road, even by Italian standards.

So we were pleased to arrive at Camping Thurio. It's a big site in a pine forest, a place in August that must throb to the beat of Euro-pop. Right now there are fewer than a dozen motorhomes and caravans scattered about among the trees. It backs onto a huge beach with views towards the mountains of the Pollina National Park. I have just been outside to lock-up. It's very starry - constellations glimpsed through a canopy of pines, a quintessentially Mediterranean memory of family camping holidays in Corsica. There's even one of those little owls calling. They ping rather than hoot, and though it's March and still chilly I am sure I heard a cicada, or maybe there is a small bird that makes a similar sound.

This is one of the better sites we have stayed on. The only negative factor is the owner's scary black hound that mooches about the place. It has ganged-up with two other scrutty pooches belonging to fellow campers. It's no fun being greeted by three yapping dogs every time you leave the van. It makes a mockery of the 'dogs on leads at all times' notice at the front gate. I don't like uncontrolled dogs, but I object to their irresponsible owners even more. After all it's not the dogs fault.

ah bless, it would not hurt a fly.....probably.

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