Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Monday May 11th 2009

Costa Verde, San Nicolo di Ricardi (ACSI2009-1564) N38.63856 E15.83406

We decide to head up the East Coast to stay near Mt Etna the still active volcano North of Catania. We find the site we have been recommended to go to, it is disappointingly scrappy after Scarabeo. But, we find the area with the best view of Etna and begin to select our spot. We are still manoeuvring when a German chap, comes along and complains that we are too close to him (even although other vans are closer). OK so we move a bit (well quite a bit) further away. But the seeds have been sown, the boss is incensed, and works herself into a fury. So we take the photographs of Etna (which was the only reason we came here), pack up and leave.

We now decide we will just go to Messina and get the ferry, we have had enough of Sicily. We arrive at Messina at around lunch time, and get caught up in a big traffic jam. As we edge along, with the inevitable scooters buzzing around and overtaking on all sides, we notice a sort of medallion man character who is riding a quad bike as if it is a motor bike (ie he is attempting to weave in and out of the almost stationary traffic). A few hundred yards further and we encounter the inevitable car “parked” and blocking the traffic. We signal and edge out to pass the parked car, this appears to incense medallion man, and for some reason the female driver of a small and battered Opel Corsa on my left. We clear the obstruction. Next thing is Medallion man has pulled along side us, and is shouting and gesturing for us to pull over. We ignore him and continue on. Then come some traffic lights which are on stop for us, medallion man, seizes his chance and pulls in front of us, preventing us from moving forward when the lights change. He shouts, we shout back, stalemate, the irate female arrives on the scene and also drives her car across in front of us. I know we have done nothing wrong, and have certainly not made contact with her. Kathleen becomes increasingly convinced we are being set up. By now we are holding up all of the traffic, and there is a constant blasting of horns. Fortunately two Motor Cycle Police arrive on the scene. Medallion man vanishes. The irate female, gestures to her car, claiming to the one of the Policemen that we have added a new scrape to the existing collection already on her car. By now, Kathleen is out of the van and (forcefully) explaining to the Policeman (in English of course) that we had definitely not made contact with her car. The police had no hesitation in just sending us on our way, so I assume they has seen it all before.

So we make our way to the ferry and on a calm and sunny afternoon, we return to main land Italy.

We leave the motorway (or should I say contraflow), when directed by our satnav, and wind our way along the coast towards our next site. As we approach, there is a warning sign advising no vans over 7m allowed, then we see why. The approach road is a 1 in 3 descent, built into the cliff face, with numerous hair pin bends. As we descend, Kathleen asks “what if we meet something coming the other way”, good question, because there is no way I can reverse up here!

We are offered a pitch right on the sea, but the approach too tight for our van, so we have to take another pitch with not such a good view.

The site is good, but we decide not to linger more than one night, since you are effectively cut off here, you can walk along the beach, but to do anything else you have to trek up the scary approach road.

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