Then it rained and it rained . . . and rained some more. We walked into town for Sunday lunch huddled under our umbrella. We usually avoid seafront restaurants in favour of more humble establishments a street or two away from the main thoroughfare but on this occasion the rain was so persistent that we took the first restaurant we came to. It was fairly empty but the staff did not appear to welcome our arrival. We paid too much for our (excellent) plate of pasta and coffee but at least we were sheltered from the rain for an hour or so. We were the last to leave the restaurant, having bravely ignored the glares of the staff for as long as we dared.
The following day we headed for Genova and the ferry to Sicily. The ferry left at ten in the evening and took 22 hours. The seas were rough and our cabin was high up at the front of the ship. We had a disturbed night’s sleep with lots of crashing and banging. After one particularly big crash, the ship slowed down and conditions became easier. The following morning the weather was warm and sunny. There was a self service cafeteria serving breakfast but we wanted to eat later, say at 4 pm before the ship docked at 7 pm. Bizarrely the restaurant only opened for lunch between 12 and 1.30. We were not surprised that the restaurant was virtually empty . . . the food was not particularly good and was expensive. We also found the crew unhelpful, although this could have been due to a language problem as we were often mistaken for Germans.
We docked at Palermo at seven in the evening but it was more than an hour later before we were able to disembark. By then it was dark and the city was heaving with traffic, coming from all directions with horns blaring constantly. Traffic was gridlocked and we failed to locate the local campervan parking area for our first over night stop. We drove on for an hour looking for another campsite but we were getting tired and reluctantly decided to spend the night at the roadside. We found a good spot on a wide, well lit road right outside LIDL’s. We had a peaceful night and were able to shop for a few essential supplies in the morning.
We drove east along the northern coast to Camping Rais Gerbi at Finale di Pollina. We had a beautiful pitch overlooking the sea and it was warm and sunny. The owner came by after we had settled and welcomed us to his site, it was so good to meet, at last, a really charming variety of the Italian species!