The Great Escape: West to East 14 Comments


After nearly two weeks inland with hot and sticky city life, we longed for a beach. It was as simple as that. We wanted to walk down the sand with the ocean spray keeping us cool.  No more long sleeved shirts for church just swim wear and flip flops. To sit out watching the sunset as we lick our gelato whilst Mac n Tosh splash in the sea. So with that we departed from Rome and headed straight to the coast.

We hit the coast and so did half of Italy. We presented ourselves at a number of small sostas and campsites with semi squalid condition, but they were all full.  We drove further down the coast, trying other parking options and wild camping spots along the way, but without success.notes

At Borgo Sabotino we found a sosta right across the road from the beach. Yeah! Craig gracefully manoeuvred Vin on to No.1 parking spot, the last available one on site. He did so under the watchful eye of every Italian male on the site, no pressure eh? A parking spot the size of a postage stamp but we were grateful for anything after a day of searching. Once parked, everyone returned to their beach chairs for a snooze except the odd stray child who opted to use our motorhome as a leaning post.

We were clearly a tourist in an Italian sosta, and we confess we were on our guard for things being damaged but thankfully, nothing did. Well nearly, we spotted a leak. All the rocking and rolling on these roads shook one of the pipes loose but we ‘heard’ the whoosh of water before any damage was done. Craig managed to located the pipe and quickly fix it.

Our Bumble paid motorhome sosta Borgo Sabotino GPS position: for N041.410788, E012.860311

The sosta was fairly large and basic and we managed to ride out the weekend. I say ride out because it was far from our vision of idyllic beach life. During the day it was fine but come nighttime, the sosta was like something we’ve never experienced before and best described as a night market.  By 11pm everyone on the site was out to chat, eat, drink and the local meeting point, our motorhome. Our little postage stamp patch was under siege. Surrounded by 100’s of Italian’s all trying to get their point across. The shouting fest went on until sunrise by which time we were bog eyed and shattered. It so reminded me of our friends, Susan and her time in Italy.

The beach was beautiful but disappointing because dog weren’t allowed on. Also it was just sections upon sections of private beaches with the odd nightclub thrown in for good measure. We wandered along the beach side watching Italian life, then ventured into the sun warmed lanes that form the heart of Borgo Sabotino. It was blazing hot with temperatures hitting 44. Mac n Tosh dreamed of doggy paddles and we dreamed of peace. Lack of sleep, heat and frustration took its toll and we ended up having cross words. The first this trip and it didn’t feel good.

Our plans of driving down west coast of Italy were under question. If every place is as busy as this, every beach is private and no dogs allowed then summer is not going to be as planned. Shall we change our route? We had a look at our options and after 2 nights of zero sleep it didn’t much to convince ourselves to change course.  New plan of action…shoot over to the east coast, bumble down the south and then come back up the west course on our way home. Sorted.

Within twenty minutes of heading away from the coast the hustle and bustle was gone. It’s picturesque and soothingly quiet, but as we drive through the villages there are signs that all is not as expected. The majority of shops, supermarkets and fuel stations are closed. We are now at the start of Italian holiday season and it is not uncommon for the majority of businesses to close for 2/3 weeks during August. No supermarkets, no fuel stations, nada. This could be a challenge! Fingers crossed the large towns and cities have supermarkets that stay open.

We bumble over the interior hills and mountains with stunning valley views. The roads are very broken but the dumpy ride is compensated by gorgeous window views. Lush green fields, narrow twisting valleys and villages of stone walled houses squeezed along it. About half way between the west and east coast Craig spots an ideal wild camping spot and turns off the road. We head down the dirt track and over to the flat spot only to find a couple testing the suspension on their little fiat. Ooops sorry folks! We drove on.

The road ahead, over two hours’ drive from lovers lane took a while longer than planned due to a wild horse hold up. The Italians pipping their horn just scared the fouls and stressed the mothers. Maybe they were after a bit of horse meat? After all, horse meat is available in most supermarkets….not for us folks!

Eventually, we got on our way and found a pretty forest just outside Opi.  Surrounded by silent, wooded slopes and a clean, fast rushing stream. Life seems utterly restful here and with sunset looming the daily visitors are heading home. Mac n Tosh play ball on the grass, which they thoroughly enjoy. Running around after being cooped up or tied up brings all their energy right back. By nightfall there is not a soul in site just weird noises from deep within the woods. It sounded like wild boar, squealing and grunting like crazy. Needless to say we stopped inside as we didn’t fancy a close encounter with big, hairy pig. Later that evening we were blessed with a lovely firefly show. 100’s of little beetles flashing in and out the trees, it was just mesmerising. Sorry we forgot to take some photo’s.

Guess what, we had a wonderful nights kip, too.  Ahh peace!

Our Bumble wild camping spot Opi GPS position: for N041.778657, E013.856562

We wake to the sound of water and the smell of wood smoke. After a night here we no longer feel feel the pain of Italian holiday season, but instead protected from it. We are not particularly anxious to move away but later that morning a parking attendant informs us we can not park overnight. So we packed up and tooted over to the east coast, found the most amazing little sosta at Fossacesia right on the beach.

Our Bumble paid motorhome sosta Fossacesia GPS position: for N041.778657, E013.856562

At a cost of €10 per night with dogs allowed, showers, full services, a little beach bar and great Italian neighbours. Perfect, so we put our feet up for a week (yes a full week!) and chilled. Oh and as for food, no problem. Each day several little vans turned up selling fresh fruit and vegetable, bread, water melon and water.

Apart from eat, swim and sleep we didn’t do much. Mac n Tosh played hours and hours on the beach and they just loved it.  We managed to drag ourselves away for the odd bike ride down the coast to look at the Trabacco fishing nets, the local village and small abbey on the hill.

 


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14 thoughts on “The Great Escape: West to East

  • Ali

    Hi folks. Noqvi know you don’t do sites much but there is a lovely on at Peschici called village turistico camping found st http://www.parcodegliulivi.it

    It’s set amongst the olive groves and a Scottish real takes you to the beach and a lovely white washed town. Goog restaurant called restaurants di celestina at the top end. Lovely home cooked food.

    Stunning drive around the Gargano and a roadside stall at the top whete bought wild oregano and chilli and were given free melon.

    If you haven’t done it before the conical houses at Alberobelli and the Sosta with a lot all singing and dancing loo cleaner is close by. It’s called camper service nel Verde. Then we found free stops at Manfredonia and on Trebisacce beach.

    Stay further south as around Rimini is the pits and roads leading to the beaches ate all height restricted.

    Hope this May be of some help.

    Love Ali x

  • Tony Finch

    First arguement in 3 months! I am not sure me and my wife would last that long without a fall out given you are together 24/7. The only reason we do not travel for longer than 6 weeks is because we would drive each other mad.

  • Chris and Peter

    Too many people on holiday … Understand it’s difficult to find a quiet spot, certainly in Italy! But well it seems you found the right place! Enjoy the rest of your days!

  • Claire

    We had a similar experience in Italy wit huge crowds and its not nice. Glad you had a rethink and it turned out ok for you all. Looks like the dogs had an amazing time

  • Bob Hart

    Fossacesia sounds lovely and I hope you enjoy your week there.
    I haven’t looked into all of your trips and wondered if you had been to Greece and what the best way there would be? Perhaps you will continue further down into Italy and get a ferry across? Not sure of travelling through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia etc?
    Regards, Bob

  • Robert ellis

    Another interesting read & photos ,I bet you’re glad to be out of the hustle & bustle of the crowded beaches & cities & towns ,in Spain it was to humid & sticky,I was having 4/5 showers a day,that’s the beauty of being in Hotel you can shower anytime ,My mate Fred now knows why I prefer winter holidays ,Since we’ve come back ,he’s been very tired so he saw the Dr & he’s finished up having a full blood transfusion & tomorrow he goes in Hospital for some kind of iron injections ,he’s a bit panicky as I told him it would only 3 hrs to have his blood done & they kept him in all day ,I only told him that because he was or seemed frightened ,Lets get back to you hols ,find plenty of Dog Friendy Beeches for Mac n Tosh ,Keep Safe ,keep traveling & Enjoy Loads of Luv Pops xxx Everyone back home are OK xxx