TOLL ROAD AND A MAFIA PLOT!

After our no go to Toarmina we hit the toll road going North .. On the journey south on the coast road (coast road is a contradiction )through one town after another with streets so narrow I got a sore bum with so much clenching and not a view of the beaches so toll road was favoured ..it would have taken 90 minutes at a cost of €1-20 but for a MAFIA plot to con poor tourists out of their Euros .. The sign said take number 5 exit for ferry ..(HE hadn’t plumbed in GPS coordinates) here comes the dastardly plot…NO No 5 on the signs ..missed the turning..pulled into a viewpoint to plumb in GPS .. 27km satnav said .. “WHAT!” he said .. “There must be a turn”I said ” if satnav says so it must be so”with tongue firmly in cheek !! Guess what .. It was 27km to get to the ferry at a cost of €2-40 …plus another €2-40 to get back (I’m sure the toll booth chap grinned ) Mafia money ..but we had a lovely excursion up and up an more up .. Through tunnels 2000m long .. And fuel gauge is flashing on and off .. I said lets put a bit in .. A few litres at any price.. HE has a habit of trying to find the cheapest and my phobia or fear of running out has been an on going factor in our relationship since running out in Morocco 25 years ago in a country I knew didn’t have gas stations at every junction .. “It’s a third world country” .. I said ..He said ” There’s bound to be fuel” NOOOO !!! So we ran out…. On this occasion some kindly French tourist in a car took pity on us and drove J back to Essouria 12km and back again with petrol and we continued out 50km journey back to Agadir …. Back to this story ..We crossed to main land Italy with out any more problem but being Friday 13th there is bound to be difficulties ..Yes ..you guessed ..Fuel … Off the ferry and there must be gas stations on a main toll road … NO it’s 50km of tunnels with one junction off to €1-75 per litre diesel and no credit card facilities .. Guess what .. We are running out of cash .. You gotta laugh .. So into Hetty went €20 worth just enough to get us back to the port to use our Euro Card to fill up € 97 worth .. The last tank fill up did 504 miles not bad for an old girl .. So off we go again camp site plumbed in .. Back through the tunnels with Stromboli (This volcano is on an island just off the coast ) smoke hovering in the valleys and we think we have hit on a great campsite .. Private beach,deck chairs heated swimming pool and a restaurant all for €14 a night that includes leccy … More about this place later …

20140614-192548-69948377.jpg

20140614-192548-69948177.jpg

ANTS !!! AND QUIET !!!

We stayed in very quiet campsite NEAR the ruins !!!! QUIET AND NEAR were in someone’s wildest dream…(trade descriptions come to mind). It’s 5km to Toarmina and a 10 minute walk to the bus that takes you to Toarmina (the advert in camping book stated in Toarmina )… If the bus is on time a total of an hours journey ..” Not to worry Sir “owner of said campsite smiled “I will take you for € 30 ” again in his dreams .. One night on an ant infested carpark is € 15
Now we come to QUIET !!!
The motorway 50m away on one side and the railway 50m away on the other side ..
AND ANTS !!!!
Up my legs .. On HIS back .. Biting as they climbed ..
Quick .. Pack Hetty up before we have an infestation in the van … And off to Toarmina in Miss Hymer…. B *@” sat nav said she knew of a parking place … Huhhhh ! I am a sceptic …. Up and Up and Up yet again this time with squealing tyres and more up and up .. Yes a carpark .. Will I have to take back my scepticism I am just about to eat my words but …NO!!! €30 for 3 hours parking …so down and down and down again hitting the toll road for a quick exit of Sicily via the ferry …
And as it’s Friday 13th there is more but you will have wait for next story …

It’s fifteen minutes walk SHE said !

Its only 15 minutes walk from the old Valetta to the ferry terminus What Emma Morgan … More like an hour in that heat at our pace … The terminus isn’t in the most salubrious of areas but a good cheap caf with tables on the street did a mean kebab and a can of Cisk ( local lager) … Hopped on the ferry to a mill pond crossing .. Hetty safe and sound her burglar alarm greeting us on our arrival .. Dark by now .. We just drove up to our water side secret parking place .. I wondered out loud WHY the lights were so bad on the vehicle .. I couldn’t see the road marking and was getting worried even though we hadn’t far to go … Take your sunglasses off HE said !!!
SIGHS…..
Parked up … So hot ..dripping .. So we made up the lower bed for me so I wouldn’t moan about being to hot .. Could spread my self out a bit better .. Lol … Slept like a top with only a thin sheet .. HE said it was about 30c … And we are do glad we have done Sicily early .. It’s to hot now ..
Heading home .. Well we are .. Turned north .. Up to Taormina to look at Greek ruins tomorrow .. HIS choice .. Emma says they are wonderful .. We are now in a pretty sosta / camping place …a paid one
!!!! Hecky peck … What next !!
It’s just off the main road and convenient for the bus to take us to Taormina ..

20140612-193950-70790518.jpg

20140612-193950-70790455.jpg

An away day or two pictorially

20140609-103849-38329744.jpg
Hetty Hymer having R&R in a secure carpark overlooking the ferry terminal in Sicily

20140609-104225-38545102.jpg
Arriving on time in Valletta

20140609-104403-38643168.jpg
A taxi to the next ferry and arriving in Gozo

20140609-104512-38712383.jpg
The people of Victoria put on a firework display for our arrival in Kercem ( some saint day)

20140609-104726-38846741.jpg
And sunsets over Gozo

Bad press

After booking the ferry to Malta and watched it go out for today’s sailing

20140604-132107.jpg
We swanned off down to the most southerly tip of Sicily ..so far far south it getting a little warm 27c at 9am at place called Portopalo .. With it’s modern history of not doing the right thing after bodies were found in the fishing nets in 1996
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_F174
Here the link to the story and a photo of the fishing fleet involved

20140604-132737.jpg

A contradiction in terms !

On the quayside at Ognina N36.97953 E15.25810

A good over nighter quiet with roaring seas … That’s a contradiction you say … NO … Quiet as in only natures orchestration to be heard .. Love it …

20140604-123807.jpg
Next day an early off to Pozzallo to try to get information re: our excursion to Gozo in the Maltese Islands to visit my stepdaughter Emma and her two boys Sam and Tom
The original plan was to take Hetty over for the summer .. Fly home as we have the Christening of Ruby Scout Hurran my lovely granddaughter in September and fly back out to Malta in October for the return road trip

20140604-124548.jpg
We found that our Hetty is to long .. She is classed as commercial … Cost to take her is €586.. us two €224 …flights home and back €400 and that’s before the taxi to and from airports ….big change of plan …now booked the ferry

at €224 …car parking €35 Emma organising taxi to pick us up in Valetta at €40 + return … So for about €350 instead of at least €1200 we get to visit Emma for six days .. And sail back to Italy on 11/06/14 ..

20140604-130512.jpg
Emma doing creative stuff at school !!

Things are looking brighter!!!!

I had a look on line to find a lets get out of here and found a comment on Trip-adviser regarding a narrow gauge railway running around Mount Etna at 2200ft … Ok he said .. We like railways so off we toddled after downloading the timetable .. Up and up and up yet again to a village called Radazzo to find the train didn’t run on a Sunday .. Never mind .. Strolled into town lot of ancientness and back for a supper of Chinese chicken fried rice .. All made from scratch .. And very yummy .. A goods nights sleep outside the station to await tomorrow and our train ride

20140602-191847.jpg
Up early but all is still quiet .. Mmmm .. Train due at 8-15am .. 8-15 came and went … Holiday Sir ..no trains today ..grrrr wasn’t the words used .. Never mind .. We will drive around Etna .. Cloudy ..a spot of rain .. But she did us proud as shortly after leaving out of the mist and cloud she came with a few puffs of smoke and ash all over Hettys windscreen …

Walzed off down to a village called Bronte once owned my our very own Lord Nelson given to him for some heroic deed or other .. Bet you didn’t know that!!!
Where next … Siracusa said I .. Sounds nice but didn’t know anything about its history .. Sea port ..
Its wonderful .. After a good drive on modern roads under very long tunnels .. One was 2800 m ..now that’s long for a person who hates enclosed spaces …me…we arrived in good spirits parked without to much screaming and shouting on the quay side and walked around on the sea wall before heading into the allies to find Duomo Sq and The Duomo itself ..

20140602-192214.jpg
So breath taking we paid to go inside . And weren’t disappointed .. Enchanting .. Ancient .. Haven’t enough superlative to tell you how lovely it is .. I could have spent days in Siracusa but as our parking was for two hours out of the old city we came to this quiet little harbour 10 miles away .

20140602-192354.jpg

20140602-192028.jpg

ENOUGH !!!!

20140602-091246.jpg

The time always comes in an adventure when enough is enough
We try to be a little avente-guarde by not using camp sites unless it’s necessary for washing machines or some other chore … We wild camp that means sleeping in car parks.. Beachsides …harbours and suchlike …yesterday’s pre dawn market traders were a nuisance but last nights revellers took the gold medal for noise …midnight scooter racing .. 1am car racing with boom box .. A 4am football match and sobbing women .. J said she was hit in the face with the football ..I slept through all this commotion but J didn’t and is knackered ..looking bleary eyed and disheveled as his hair and beard have taken on a tramp like appearance as I havnt nagged at him to have either cut since we left home 🙂 it’s his adventure as well and being a retired person he can look hippified if he chooses .
My enthusiasm for any more Roman Greek or Neolithic finds ..for narrow village lanes to tight for Hetty and hill towns with hairpin bends and for up and up and up and … for Parma ham and Gorgazola is at zero  …I had a longing for corn beef hash and roasted dumplings ….but we don’t have the time for a weeks rest on a quiet beach as we still have The Amalfi coast .. Vesuvius and Pompeii .. Rome ..Portofino and the Terre Cinze to do and MALTA …it’s an impossibility either in time or € .. Something will have to be put on hold ..!!’