Billy the Bus's Blog

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Big Billy Trip 5, Dalai Lama to Arenzano

ROUTE - Camping Dalai Lama to Arenzano, Italy
Distance- 227km (1,445km total)

IMG_1592As anyone who knows her can testify, Freya goes gooey at the site of a cat. As we woke up and started about our day's business up in heavens of the French Alps, Freya stumbled across two very young kittens, scampering about the campsite. We'd laid our towels out to dry in the morning sun, and the kitties had decided to use them as their new play thing. It was quite adorable. Freya was most disappointed that the cats were of the scaredy variety, and ran away when she got within three metres. No playing was to be had, but they were dead cute to watch!

IMG_1589We pretty much owned the Dalai Lama campsite that morning, and felt very privelaged to have such an awesome location all to ourselves. We had to say goodbye to it though, to plod down into Italy through more tunnels and along more toll motorways. We made a decision not to aim for Lake Garda, but to drive South to the mediterreanean coast, in the hope of nicer weather and some time lying on beaches.

IMG_1651It was a good decision - the weather was getting hotter and hotter as we left the mountains and drove South, and my truckers' tan was doing well out the right hand window. By the time we arrived at Savona (having circumnavigated Turin on their equivalent of the M25), I pretty much jumped out of Billy straight into the sea. It was brilliantly refreshing.

After our little respite, we started our latest game of driving around aimlessly, searching for a campsite. There were none listed in our book anywhere nearby, but we figured we'd just drive along the coast road until we stumbled across one. As before, we found a lot of closed ones, and eventually found one just past the town of Arenzano, about halfway between Savona and Genova.

If Alan Rogers had reviewed this site, he would have said something like: "Sandwiched between the motorway, the coastal road, and the railway, this 2* site is fairly shabby and cramped. Its friendly multi-lingual staff will show you how the microchip system works, and where to find the fishy-smelling grey pebble beach". It wasn't brill, but it did the job.

IMG_1644The beach held a treat though. Previously, when we were swimming in Savona, we noticed we were swimming amongst huge shoals of tiny little blue fish. They kept their distance, moving hypnotically, a bit like they were iron filings and our limbs were huge magnets. But there were millions of the little fellas. Now, as the tide was turning, these same little fish were all being washed up along our skanky bit of campsite beach.

A man was collecting them in a carrier bag to take home. We asked him if they were good to eat, and he made lots of appropriate Italian gestures that suggested they were. He also mimed to us how the crabs come in the morning, and by 8am all these washed up dead fish were gone, and how this happened each and every day. The circle of life, you might say.

IMG_1670So I collected up a few of these little fishy morsels for myself, and took them back to Billy to cook in some butter in a frying pan. They were quite tasty, but with a bitter aftertaste, that may have been the fish, or may have been the slightly old thyme and oregano I added to the mix. Either way, it was an exciting adventure to have, before going out for pizza, and coming home to go to sleep.

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