Wednesday, 28 November 2012

From Italy to Sicily

Our very long stay of six weeks - and a very memorable stay - at Sena Park in Cropani Marina, Calabria, came to an end on Monday 26 November 2012. It was the quiet solitude of having the whole two acres of campsite to ourselves for most of the time, that brought this about. Thank you Salvatore for your hospitality and kindness, shown in so many ways! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Sena Park.
We travelled from Cropani Marina heading south towards Reggio di Calabria. First stop was the shopping mall La Fontane near Catanzaro to top up on Vodafone internet connectivity time, and some mooching around. Remember we had not been into a shopping mall for many weeks. We left with groceries, Christmas decorations for Fifi and a new coffee percolator. The journey continued until 16:30 by which time it was getting dark and no suitable camperstop had been found, so onto plan B, stopped at a hotel and asked reception if we could overnight in their grassed parking area. Yes no problem .... and again we were all by ourselves enjoying a good night's rest.
Next day was to be it, the crossing into Sicily by ferry from Reggio di Calabria. A late breakfast stop was found at a viewpoint overlooking the Straits of Messina from the 'toe' of Italy.

Overlooking the Straits of Messina

The ferry anchorage in the port of Reggio di C (as the road signs refer to it) was reached at midday and a ticket was bought for 48 Euros for the one way crossing to Messina at 13:00. Wonderful co-incidental timing as the wait was only one hour.

Ferry arriving

So on we roll, this being what is called a Ro-Ro ferry, Roll on Roll off with ramps both sides and no real bow or stern on the vessel. The crossing takes one hour and you can stay with your vehicle if you prefer, which Joan did, but me, no-no I like a walk around!

From the lounge with Fifi front right

Leaving the ramp and quayside

Mainland Italy disappearing in the distance

Walking around the ferry, in this case an open decked one, brings you the sounds and smells of a ship at work. The sounds of the engines humming away, the smell of oil and diesel emanating from the stairwell leading to the engine room, the sight and sound of water coming from the bilges being pumped out, the smell of well used leather in the saloon / lounge - wonderful stuff!

Sicily ahead with outgoing ferry to starboard

Crossing the Straits of Messina

We docked and aimed for a camperstop in downtown Messina guided by Snoopy the SatNav / GPS but found nothing .... Sometimes these places close down and so we re-programmed to a site recommended to us by fellow motorhomers we met in Cropani Marina. This took us to the seaside resort town of Giardini Naxos near Taormina, south of Messina.
And what does it look like? Here's a quick peek:-

Roadway outside our camperstop leading into town

Foggy coast of Giardini Naxos from the promenade

The promenade has many restaurants, pizzerias, coffee shops and other places of interest. We came across a fresh fish market and various other 'alimentaris' selling all sorts. Also a small deli with local cold meats and cheeses. And oh yes, a bread van stops every morning at our camperstop with fresh buns, breads, croissants and pastries .... my first day's purchase came to 5.50 Euros resulting in Joan asking why am I buying four day's bread in advance.

Like it? Yes, so do we! How long will we stay? Oh I think a while .... Bella Sicilia!

More to follow in the days to come.

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