Monday, September 24, 2007

Italia- Parte Due

D'Elba sunset

I figured there really had to be much more to Italy than tailing grindingly slow industrial freight in the rain so I got the hell out of Riccione. My plan, such that it was, was to cut across the mainland, go and see Assisi, mainly out of half-remembered art history lessons from school, then head towards this little island called Isola D'Elba that so far, a couple of people had mentioned. Frankly, I knew nothing about it other than it was a wee island that was supposed to be quite pretty and, God forbid, there might even be some sunshine. So once clear of the area around Riccione which was irritatingly inhabited by thousands of wanna-be racers on sports bikes, the road crept up into the hills to finally reveal some pretty darn nice views, something I had previously yet to experience in Italy, so I knew I was onto something. The sun finally made a late appearance and I ended up really enjoying the ride to Assisi. I had vague memories of old art history lessons about Renaissance paintings and some chap called Francis, but to be honest, it was just a bit to busy with tourists for my liking. Whilest there, I also had the misfortune of buying the dryest and blandest pannini ever created.

I had decided to see how far I got before sundown as I was in the mood for the sea side now that it was all nice and sunny. I made it as far as the port town of Piombino by 5.30pm and headed straight for the ferry office, and as it turned out, there was a boat leaving in half an hour so I just got myself a ticket and got in line with the other Saga-louts queuing up. The company that runs the ferrys to the Islands, Moby, have these very colourful boats almost like huge floating cartoons.

After an hour, we pull up alongside Portoferraio, the main town on D'Elba and I head over to Laconella on the south side of the island where I've been told there are campsites aplenty. I'm shocked when the first one I find is asking 25Euro for a pitch so move on to the next one which is 16Euro, still expensive but its nearly sunset and I don't really have the time to feck about. It seems nice though, quite rustic, very near the beaches and I even get to see a proper shooting star leaving a cool silvery trail while sitting on the beach later that night so its all good.

My beach for a few days

The next night, after going to the beach and then spending most of the day buggering about trying to find some email on the island, I'd just finished my dinner when Esther, a German woman starts talking to me about the bike. It turns out she's done a few bike trips herself to Scotland and Ireland. The next couple of days are really nice, just going to the beach in the mornings and swimming and trying to get a tan back so it looks like I've actually been somewhere, then in the afternoons, Esther drove us around the island checking out wee villages. Napoleon lived here for a bit, ooh quite some time ago, so we went to see his house but opted out of paying to see the inside. There was a really gorgeous village called Poggio that was almost impossible to take a bad picture though I did try.

Napoleon woz ere!

Esther at the wee mans house

A village called Poggio

While at the campsite, I also met a really friendly couple, also from Germany, Stephan and Karen, who kind enough to offer their hospitality if I was passing their way while going home. I couldn't help thing that it was slightly ironic that in Germany, I was hanging out with Enrico, an Italian, while in Italy, I met loads of Germans. I can only figure that Italy and Germany must do some kind of mass country swap during the summer months or something.

& Transalp

Stephans wife, Karen and me leaving D'Elba

1 comment:

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