It’s a funny thing, being completely unconstrained in where we go and what we do. We could just go anywhere! It’s wonderful but also comes with a heavy research load, figuring out good places to visit!
I’d discovered the alluring Apennines, a spectacular-looking mountain range in the region of Abruzzo, north east of our current position in Amalfi — some great-looking national parks with wonderful hikes. I became quite attached to the idea, which sounded so romantic and fun. And then it became clear that there would be no hiking, and the driving would quite possibly be fairly treacherous: It’s still winter! An Italian friend, Andrea, tells me there has recently been snow down to 400m, which is quite spectacular. So, with great regret we’re putting the Apennines off till “next time”. We’ll see other cool stuff.
In the meantime, while I was mucking about in Google Earth, figuring out the regions that may be within the “usually safe from snow” level of 1000m and agonising about passing the mountains by, Katherine pressed on reading about the next region of interest to the north: Rome and Lazio. I eventually gave up and joined her; Rome is certainly going to be our next destination (the clincher was Katherine’s discovery of “Original Language” cinemas, playing the new Alice in Wonderland film in English!).
We were originally thinking we might leave yesterday. Then our friend Nuccio in Sicily warned us to stay put, because there was some interesting weather headed our way. Sure enough, soon afterwards, thunder rang through the valley and it started hailing, then actually snowing! Only a little — within a few minutes it was back to light hail, but we actually had snow, which was very exciting. We were very glad not to be driving.
The hills around us are white, and there are drifts of un-melted hail, even the day after!
So, we were going to leave today. We woke up quite early (for us!), to the sound of sharp booming explosions ringing through the valley. I peered out the window to see the explosions preceded by little bright flashes in the sky and puffs of smoke — not a freaking clue. Are we under attack?
I still haven’t figured out what it was (maybe Paolo here at the caravan park will know). Anyway, Katherine happily got up and jumped in the shower while I rolled over and snoozed, as usual. It was a real struggle dragging myself out of bed! When I did manage it, I pulled up Google Earth and set about planning a driving route, and found myself entirely incapable of making any decisions about routing and whether or not to take the motorway, or just about anything — I felt like a sloth!
We went out into the cold and got some groceries (more of the awesome tasty provolone cheese we found earlier in the week), and I still hadn’t got my brain into gear. We noticed some light hail as we walked back to Nettle, and then decided to stay another day (Katherine said she didn’t trust my foggy brain to operate heavy machinery).
It felt like a very good decision, so we cosied up in Nettle again and set about finding a caravan park to stay in, in Rome. We felt very disinclined to pay €30/night for one of the main caravan parks, then I was thrilled to find some area attrezzatas for €12-15 per night within easy reach of Rome by train! The one that really takes the cake is one we found right on the side of a lake just 40 mins train ride south of Rome, and just a short walk from the train station. Sounds very promising.
So, we feel heaps better about heading off tomorrow with a set destination in mind, and we’re taking the ~€14 tolled route to save a couple of hours driving, so we should make it in one day. Here’s hoping for a clear brain.