Tonnarella campsite, FunariMarch 15, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
Leaving Caronia, we kept to the coast and travelled east. As we drew nearer the large port of Messina, the towns became increasingly commercialised, having not only the shops of need like the bakery, grocer and hardware stores, but shops for wants like home decoration, presents, clothes and nik naks. The journey was going alright until the coast road ahead was closed. Unlike in Germany, where diversions are signed, Italian road closures just leave you to get on with it. Unfortunately in this case, the alternate route we found took us up into mountains that flanked the sea. We climbed 500m over a distance of 5km and after taking in some stunning views from the ridge, started a descent which was to prove the most difficult hill drive we've encountered. The road had reduced to a single track and when we came to some of the hairpin bends there wasn't enough space to turn the 7m long van. Will needed to do a three point turn on a steeply cambered road with a gradient of about 15% in order to continue down hill. On three consecutive bends!
Breathing a sigh of relief upon rejoining the coast road, we eventually came to Tonnarella campsite. Through a tight front entrance there was a large area of gravel looking out on to the sea with a cement slick path leading down to the small grey sand beach. Huge concrete blocks deposited in such a way that they formed groynes, separated the beach and made it so the section in front of the site was quite private.
Nobody was to be seen when we arrived, so we parked up and the owner came by in his car after a few hours. He told us it was €15 a night and showed us round. We had been looking for wool for quite some time so when he told us there was a pizzarria and gelaterria down the road, Vicky asked if there was a wool shop nearby. He had a think and told us there were two in the town about 4km away. He thought again, then said that as he was going in this evening, would Vicky like to accompany him in his car? A bit taken aback, Vicky accepted and was picked up just before 7pm. Cadmael as he was called, chatted all the way in to town and it was great for Vicky to be able to chat back (all in Italian). She didn't understand everything but he was patient in finding different ways of saying things and Vicky managed to make herself understood. Cadmael delivered her to the wool shop and stood outside talking with a friend he had met while she went in and explained what she needed. The assistant was very helpful and keen to talk about how, in times gone by everyone knitted, but that the young were only interested in computer games now. After waiting in the car (with the keys in the ignition) while Cadmael visited a few of his friends, Vicky was dropped off back at the van with the two balls of wool she had been looking for.
It was an incredible feeling to have been able to hold such long conversations with two different people in Italian. Knowing a little of the language has definitely enhanced our experience!
Wifi was included in the price of our stay and we were able to rig up our Motorhome Wifi Booster and catch up with family via video chat. We really enjoyed being able to see people, albeit on a computer screen.
The next morning, Vicky thanked Cadmael once again for his help and he brushed it off, saying with pride that he was Sicilian, part of a community and that is how things are done, if someone needs help, they help. It was so nice to see nationalist pride in this positive light!Read more