Week 15 - Pompeii in Italy to Patras in Greece
Reasonably warm night in our caravan with the heater going full blast. Ant went to Carrefour up the road and got bacon for breakfast, yum! The campsite was really busy for the time of year with lots of cars coming and going.
After breakfast we braved the cold and went to explore the Pompeii ruins. They were amazing. It was so cool to be inside the archaeology, but also a bit eerie as all the streets, houses and shops were still there and you could really imagine how the town would have been.
We saw some of the casts of the bodies left behind and loads of amphora and other items that had been preserved. The theatres were still there as well and the big one is still used for open air performances during the summer.
Got really cold so returned to the caravan for a warm up and checked the weather forecast. It was snowing everywhere else in Italy, the southwest corner we were in was the warmest place to be. After checking with the campsite guys they had a warmer bungalow we could move into the next day, so as the forecast said the weather was going to be bad into next week we decided to hang on in Pompeii for a few extra days and see if anything improved.
Tuesday we moved to a bungalow and it was much warmer. To celebrate we went for a wander around Pompeii town and (because the temperature was above freezing) we stopped for a gelato. Spent the rest of the day and the next doing boring things like washing and shopping and buying pressies for Ant’s birthday.
Thursday was Ant’s birthday and his pressies were mostly food. Really chunky chocolate and a big squidgy cake. I also bought him some glue so he could stick the soles of his boots back on, as they had started to peel off in the cold and wet. Checked the weather forecast and although we had blue skies and sunshine it was still snowing almost everywhere else. It looked like Friday was going to be the best day to get through the mountains to Bari, so we decided to make a break for it tomorrow. We returned to the bungalow to start packing up our stuff and the realisation slowly dawned that the campsite wasn’t busy, but that we were actually camped in a BROTHEL!
While we were in the bungalow every couple of hours a different car would pull up and out would get a lady and a gentleman, invariably wearing dark sunglasses. After they had vacated the bungalow the cleaning ladies would come round and change the sheets and another car would pull up! But what really gave it away was what we could hear through the extremely thin bungalow walls. We have never been so glad not to speak Italian, although si….si….si doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
Friday morning we were packed up early. Ant went to check out as one of the stream of cars was pulling in and it seems we were getting a cheaper daily rate than the hourly one, so that was good. Got lost getting out of Pompeii and took the road to Sorrento rather than Salerno, lovely scenery though. Got the right road in the end and immediately started climbing. The temperature dropped and eventually we came to a police road block. They were diverting heavy traffic off the motorway. We became a bit worried when they looked at the bike and started laughing. Then they asked about snow tyres. They let us carry on, but made us promise to go slowly. A few miles on we couldn’t do anything but go slowly as it started to snow really heavily. A few minutes later the road was covered and we were skating along. Though will force and iron bum muscles Ant managed to keep us upright, we wobbled off the motorway at the next junction and took shelter under a bridge. A policeman came to see if we were alright and said there was a hotel in a couple of kilometres. Unfortunately it was a down a steep twisty hill, so I walked and Ant slid down the road as best he could.
We were so happy to see the hotel appear around a corner. It was very swanky, a 4 star hill resort and wellness centre! We were just glad to be out of the snow. After a very nice dinner in the restaurant and a hot chocolate, which was so thick you had to eat it with a spoon, we went to bed with everything crossed that the roads would be ok in the morning.
Saturday was still cold and snowy, but the roads had been cleared and we figured we hadn’t got too much further to go until we started to drop down out of the mountains. We set off and the roads got better and better and then the sun came out. Yay! We were flying along enjoying the ride when we went around a bend and the back of the bike felt all squirly. We pulled over and put some air in the back tyre, then had a ciggy whilst we watched it slowly deflate again. Nothing for it, but to change the tube so Ant took the tyre off and I found the spare tubes.
Got it all back together but there wasn’t quite enough oomph in the compressor to reseat the tyre properly so we wobbled the last 15 k into Bari and found a tyre shop. They were great, fixed the punctured tube, reseated the tyre and gave us a very stern warning not to go to Greece because it was dangerous! Couldn’t find any internet access in Bari town so decided to try the ferry terminal because, despite the opinions of Italian tyre shop guys we still wanted to go to Greece.
Found the ferry port and rode up to the ticket office. There was a ferry leaving in a couple of hours and the tickets were slightly cheaper than I had previously found them on the internet. Result! We got straight on the ferry, strapped the bike down and bagged ourselves 2 Pullman seats. The ferry sailed on time at 8pm, so after a bite to eat we read until we were tired enough to get a bit of sitting up sleep.
I was really surprised to have slept until 5.30. We were woken up by lots of activity as people were getting off at Igoumentsia. After the stop the ferry was practically empty, so we stretched out on all the empty seats for another couple of hours until we reached Patras. Rode straight off the ferry and out of the port, no customs, not even a passport check. We followed the coast out of town heading in the direction of Athens and eventually found a campsite that was open. Pitched up with a beautiful view overlooking the water.
Went in search of food and found a kebab shop in the next village. Our first taste of gyros and we were in heaven. Stuffed our faces and fell into bed to catch up on the missed sleep from the night before.
Next HU Events
- Brazil: Feb 22-23
- Germany: May 29-June 1
- HUBB UK: June 19-22
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 14-16
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