The thunder, the lightning, sheets of rain, a howling wind buffeting the van - all in pitch darkness on a single lane motorway under construction. A thunderstorm of the likes I've never experienced from behind a steering wheel.
First things first, we left Croatia just north of Rijeka and entered Slovenia hoping to be in Italy within two hours, parked for the night. Slovenia has a very small coastline and we assumed taking the back roads across it into Italy would be a cinch. We purposely avoided motorways as we did not want to pay the 15 Euro vignette fee. The road was winding and twisting and it was second and third gear in places. In the distance we could see dark skies and slivers of lightning at times - a foreboding.
We entered Italy at Monfalcone north of Trieste - no border checks as Slovenia is in the EU - when the rain started.
It was dark already but we followed the directions of Snoopy the GPS / SatNav to a free camperstop in Monfalcone. The rain, thunder, lightning and wind steadily increased as we went until it caused Snoopy to go on the blink. This meant wrong turnings and wrong directions at times, only to recalculate, and as soon as we were back on track the blinking started again. We found ourselves on a half constructed motorway with no lights and one lane traffic when sheets of rain and buffeting winds almost brought travel to a halt. Cars were trying to U-turn and many others were obviously lost. Road signs and other debris were being tossed on the ground making even normal navigation impossible. We eventually exited the motorway and stopped in a quiet side road to take stock. Around us were broken branches, signs, posters and debris of all sorts. We sat it out and re-programmed Snoopy and eventually reached the camperstop at 21:00. It took us four hours to cover the last 50 miles!
We were off early the next morning and stopped for breakfast, cereals and fruit, whilst on our way to Marano Lagunare. This I've heard to be a typical little fishing town with large yacht harbour, a very Italian introduction to Italy.
Fishing boats at Marano Lagunare
Homes near the waterfront
Piazza in town centre
And a lovely Italian introduction to Italy it was! It was also very clear to me early on in my walkabout that I looked a stranger, my shorts and sandals with camera round the neck made me stand out. It definitely attracted the odd stare in a town where most people knew each other and where greetings were passed to and fro as folk crossed the main piazza.
However, it was a new internet connection, a stick or dongle from Vodafone that I needed urgently. I had to rely on wi-fi (Wlan) signal since leaving Germany and this caused delays to regular updates of the Blog. It was decided that a large town or city should be visited to establish a new connection and looking at the map Treviso was chosen.
What a find! There was a Vodafone shop 200m from the camperstop, which was next to the Treviso football club which had its own free wi-fi connection. So even Joan had connectivity on her i-Pad. She topped up on downloads of books which she reads like lightning taking the total to over 80 in her library. The new connection was installed and although I had to wait 24 hours for it to fully activate, I was up and running again.
Next up - Tuscany, region of Chianti production.