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Into Calabria, southern Italy

Home -> Europe -> Italy -> Travelogue Italy -> 30 May 2004

Sunday 30 May, into Calabria, southern Italy

After the heavy rains of yesterday the weather has only improved and it has stayed dry at night, so we have no trouble packing everything in the car. It is still very cloudy but now and then the sun shines. For a short time we drive on the highway but soon we take a turn to road 18, which leads southward along the coast. But there are so many roadworks and traffic diversions that we miss Paestum, where 3 rather unknown but beautiful temples should be. The signs say we still go into the right direction but we know we are going exactly the opposite way. Bad luck for us, but we are too far from the place already so we continue to the southeast.
Southern coast of Italy Southern coast of ItalyWhen we enter the foot of Italy we see more and more dark clouds hanging on the mountains, although the mountains are getting lower. But it feels very pleasant outside, even without the sun.
We don't make much progress today on all the byways we take and although there are not many tourists, there are a lot of Italian day trippers. And today they are not in a hurry so more often they drive 30 km. slower than the speed limit instead of driving too fast. The few Italians that are in a rush, try to overtake as many cars as possible on the narrow roads. The police obviously knows this, since there are more speed checks than on other days and soemtimes we see some of these hasty drivers standing still, next to a police car with flashing blue light.
CalabriaThe coastal road to the south is very nice, with the mountains slowly rising from the sea and the many towns, crowded on top of the hills. Unfortunately, there are few places where we can stop to make pictures of it, we hope we have more opportunities to do that the next days.
CalabriaAccording to our travel guide Calabria is not very popular among tourists and Italians alike. It is known as an infertile region with lots of villain, but if there are no tourists it can never be bad, according to us. The lack of tourism attracts us and a reader of the website wrote us about the beauty of this area. It is a very scenic lanscape, although part of it is hidden in the clouds.
Coast at BriaticoAfter a long drive (more than 7 hours and 400 km) we are near Briatico where we start looking for the Villagio Dolomiti Sul Mare. Wew figured that would be a nice place to stay for a few days but all gates are closed! We drive on along the coast but all (few) campsites have their gates closed. On the way we also come across this beach.
Eventually we drive back to see if there is another entrance but now the gates are open so we drive through. We walk around the big building at the entrance but everything is closed. A german couple does the same and soon we walk together to explore the campsite. When we return to the car the gates are closed again and there is no way to open it. We are imprisoned, so it seems! The campsite covers almost 18 hectare and seems to be deserted. We find some other buildings where nobody is present and a waiter in a restaurant only speaks Italian and doesn't know anything. Another German family that has arrived today tell us that the gate opens again when you push some button on the front by putting your arm through the gate. The Germans who arrived at the saem time as we don't trust it and leave the campground. Apparently, they get the gate to open this way. We find a nice place and put up our tent, since we like this quiet and nice campsite.
Elisabeth at workWe put the tent between the olive trees. The sun is shining since all clouds are still on top of the mountains and here are no mountains. There is almost no wind and at last we can sit outside in a t-shirt till after sunset again. That hasn't been possible since we left Venice. We had though it would be already very hot in Italy at the end of May, but not this year.
At night we finally are able to check in and find our way a bit on this big, but very pleasant campsite. So, when you come to a closed gate here: find the doorbell and the gate will open. First find a place to put the tent or mobilehome (there are also some bungalows for rent). Walk onto the hill and past the swimming pool are the reception and the restaurant. A very kind lady will then welcome you.
The arrival was a bit strange at first but we are glad we are here and we will stay for a few days to get some rest: no big cities and not too much cultural visits. The last 12 days we have been very busy.


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