PistoiaApril 11, 2017 in Italy
Leaving Pisa with fond memories we continued our travels further inland and a little north. Pescia, the first place we'd planned to stay had a section of a car park for camper vans with well marked and signed bays. Unfortunately they were very difficult to find, being covered over by not so well parked cars! It would have been awkward to wait anywhere and there was no guarantee that the owners would return to move the vehicles at any point that day so we somewhat wearily set out to our backup stopover, Pistoia.
Climbing the hill out of town, we were treated to some beautiful sights of Spring green hills and a valley below. We rose higher and navigated a few switchback bends on the quiet road. Suddenly there was a barrier across the road and beyond it signs of the tarmac slipping down the hill. There was no choice but to turn (taking care not to back onto the steep slopes of the olive grove) and retrace our steps, passing the same few pedestrians we'd seen on the way up, their faces half guilty, half amused.
As you can imagine, we were relieved to pull into the spacious tarmaced stopover at Pistoia. It looked a bit dirty, there were a few caravans and a camper in bad shape, whose inhabitants seemed to be living there full time, despite the 48hours maximum stay regulations. Our van neighbours were young women, possibly Syrian, with young children, a baby and more on the way. It was lovely to see the children playing. In the evening a couple of them spent about 30 minutes picking up litter and the next morning a municipal street cleaning lorry swept it clean and emptied the bins, making a real difference to the appearance.
We'd been able to use cycle cycle tracks on our last few city visits but were still very pleasantly surprised the next morning to find an excellent route into this town. What a difference from down south!
Pistoia had kids everywhere. It seemed a whole school had come out to draw and paint street scenes - it was super to see them outside the classroom! A street stall was selling black pudding, something we hadn't seen for months, so Will was allowed a very small piece. We picked up some bread and dried figs at another stall and made or way out of this pleasant little town to set off towards our next overnight stay.Read more