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Published: October 1st 2019
Today Gabby got lost . Well she did not but the sat nav decided to confuse her and us . We put in the co-ordinates for Camping Marina in Tropea . Right by the sea and within walking distance of Tropea town . It should have been an easy drive but for some reason she decided to take us a circuitous route . Not contact with switchbacks up Monte Cassino she started again on our descent to Tropea. Surely there was an easier way to get to the campsite . An ACSI site and one of the few not yet closed. She took us through the town. It was busy . The usual Italian street cafes spilling out in the street. Cars double parked some at impossible angles . Folks walking on the pavements and in the road. Walking in front of cars , behind them and generally standing about on street corners . Tropea was a busy little place . We reached a bottle neck . An inconsiderate parker . Parked in the middle of the street . His windows open but the car abandoned . Perhaps a Fiat 500 or a little van might have squeezed past him but
we stood no chance whatsoever . We had to sit blocking the road . We are patient . Italian drivers are not . The horns started . We were stuck with nowhere to go until the young driver decided his business was done and he returned to his vehicle and moved it . Not a wave , not an acknowledgement of the mayhem he caused . It seems Italian drivers dont care and this year they seem worse than ever .
The sat nav took us up narrow streets , down narrow lanes and past the marina. We were heading out of town and knew this was wrong. She turned us back on yet another road , under a railway bridge and past the marina again . This time though it appeared she knew where she was going and we followed the coast . The sea looked a beautiful shade of blue . The waves suitable for surfing as they rolled in to shore . It reminded me of wild Cornwall. It all looked very inviting . We just needed the campsite .
Eventually we saw it . The sign in front us told us to turn right
and we would find CAmping Marina . As we turned in a nonna in a green dress jumped in front of us . She waved . She gave us a friendly smile . She pointed in to the campsite . Blindly we turned in . She greeted us and shouted Dominica - come here - serve these people . At least that is what I guess she said as it was all in fast and frenetic Italian . He told me he would show us where to park and then register us . The site was smaller than we had expected but very pleasant just below the town which loomed above us. I registered he told me the fee was 13 euros a night plus a tourist tax of 50 cents each . AGain we thought it odd . Cheap end of ACSI . The penny had yet not dropped .
We parked next to an Austrian VW camper. Its owners looked outdoor bronzed types - sun worshippers . They spoke to us and although we had no German and they no English they were nice neighbours to have . You can exchange pleasantries with sign language and a
We settled in , checked out the showers 50 cents for a shower . Seemed odd . Should be all in with ACSI. We walked down to the sea which was wild . The beach pristine . Cleaned every morning.
We set off for the town . It was a long climb to the top but well worth it for the first gelato of the trip - Frutta di Bosco and a Vanilla . Eaten outside in the sunshine . Apparently Tropea is a famous bathing place situated on a reef on the Gulf of Saint Euphemia in the Tyrrhenian Sea . The town is full of delightful little alleyways and lanes at the end of which lies a Romanesque church surrounded by more restaurants than you could ever eat at . It is busy but not too busy. You dont get mowed down and have plenty of time to stand and stare at the island with its pure white church.
There is a legend hereabouts that says that the town was founded by none other than Hercules who after returning from the Pillars of Hercules stopped off at the coast of Southern Italy . There is evidence of early settlement in the area and it is the place where Sextus Pompey defeated Octavious, It has been an important player in the Roman world , the Normans were here and the Aragonese . There once was a castle but that was destroyed .
The church was Norman from the outside with windows that showed its origins . Sadly it was locked . Perhaps if we come up again tomorrow it will be open . Inside is a painting of the Virgin Mary of Romania . Byzantine in origin it dates from around 1300. Legends has it it that a boat came from the Eastern Roman Empire and was driven into Tropea during a storm . After the storm and after the boat was repaired the captain tried to leave . That night the Bishop dreamed that the Virgin asked to stay in town . He had the same dream over a series of nights . Eventually he went to the port rescued the picture of Mary and kept her. The boat then left . The outside of the church had been changed over time but it was still possible to see bits that the Normans built .
We had a very quiet night . We ate out at the restuarant next door and finally realised that nonna had pinched us from the clutches of Camping Marina . It seems she sits outside every day in her green dress and pinches their potential campers . Our meal was indifferent , gnocci and semi freddo with almonds . A couple of espressos and a bottle of wine. It came out the same price as our last meal and wasnt half as nice . It felt microwaved rather than haute cuisine.
In the morning the bread van arrived . The bread was wonderful and cheap. This was followed by the veg and fruit man . I bought 4 oranges , one bunch of grapes that turned into two, a large melon, a lettuce covered in soil and some tomatoes . I have little idea how much they cost . I gave him 10 euros he smiled and kept the lot .
It is 34 degrees outside and 43 in Gabby. It is hard to get cool. Our second walk to town was excruciating in the heat . . We sat around and did the washing . It was too hot to do much else .
And nonna wore that green pinafore dress every day we were there .
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