The weather turned and dark clouds loomed as we set off from Cinque Terre. We managed to outride the rain clouds all the way to Codiponte (click here for our 2015 blog). Then with an almighty roar the heavens opened and down came the rain. We pulled on to the carpark and battened down the hatches. In between the thunder, lightening and pelting rain we heard a tap on the window. We peered outside and a voice says “hiya, you from England?”.
The rest of day we spent chatting with John from Bedford. A genuinely nice guy who is taking 3 months time out to see Europe. Travelling alone in his self converted ex police van he is certainly making the most of his time. John had managed to achieve some of his life time dreams like visiting Amsterdam and snowboarding on real snow. A few van issues along the way like clutch problem on the Amalfi didn’t stop him in the slightest.
Little did we know another small hiccup awaited his return…a flat tyre. The wheel was jammed solid and no way the nut would release. By the time they downed tools it was getting dark, so we invite John in for dinner and a glass of plonk…and we chatted for several more hours. The next day, he nipped over the road to a small garage, which they fixed in a jiffy.
Our Bumble free wildcamping at Codiponte GPS position: for N044.193753, E010.151822
In the morning, the storm clouds lurked around but the rain held off. Time to tour Tuscany. We are north of Lucca along the Serchio River in the Garfagnana region. The twists and turns of the Italian road system winds us through heavily wooded sections. The mountainous area is peppered with Romanesque churches and medieval villages. With every bend in the road a new hill top or church spire. We stopped at a few villages along the route to stretch our legs or if your Mac n Tosh, cock a leg.
The eastern slopes of the Alpi Apuane is now a natural park protecting the wildlife. Picnic spots and lay-bys are surrounded in wild flowers and green shrubs. As you step outside of your motorhome all that you can hear are birds tweeting. We read one of the information signs…over a quarter of the plants known to Italy grow here and more than 165 species of birds including peregrine falcons and golden eagles.
Our pace of driving is slow to match our mindset. Chilled and enjoying a relaxed pace of life in the motorhome is our new approach. We soak up the views and point out sites along the way.
More church towers and castles dot the rugged Lunigiana region, which means ‘Land of the Moon’. Lunigiana is named after the port of Luni so called because of the moon like marble shipped from here in Roman times. Talking of the moon, we look up and spot a slither of the moon in the sky. He’s out early! With that we also spot the castle…”is that The Castle?” Craig shouts. “It sure looks like it, shall we?” I reply with a giddy tone. And off we go!
This is one of our favourite elevated Tuscany views. You can see for miles with rolling green hills, foothills covered in olive trees and all against a backdrop of the bare Apuan Alps. Above us is a 16th century castle built by the Dukes of Malaspina to protect against bandits.
Mac n Tosh decide to run around like crazy and rip shreds out of an abandoned football. We sit and admire the view. Perfect timing, as the late afternoon sun pops out from behind the clouds. Time for a power snooze that lasted seconds. Mac n Tosh fancied a game of chase the goats down the hill. And they wonder why we don’t give them freedom to roam!
Our Bumble free wildcamping at Verricule GPS position: N044.179870, E010.335901