Umbria, Le Marche, Emilia-Romagna and San Marino.

(25th June to 1st July)

After driving through the Montepulciano mountains which concluded our Tuscany tour we ventured into Umbria.  When looking at the map we choose Lake Trasimento as an interesting place to visit and used the lakeside stop over at Castiglione del Lago as a base.  Here, the lake’s water was pleasantly cooling against the strong heat and humidity however it was not the heat that made us uncomfortable but the mosquitoes – there were loads of them!!  We only managed one night due to this and decided that we need to be closer to the sea in an attempt to beat the heat as there was not a breath of wind in the Trasimento valley.

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Our view of Lake Trasimento

The search for sea breeze took us directly east to the Le Marche coast where we attempted to use the free stop over at Falconara Marittima, however on arrival the local vicinity of the GPS co-ordinates did not look too inviting (in fact we could not find the actual car park – we wonder if it has closed?).  We finally arrived at Senigallia late afternoon and were pleasantly surprised.  It seems a favourite with Italian tourists and boasts and great long straight beach complete with an impressive compact old town.  Here on the beach we met young Engineer Luigi and over a few beers in a beach side bar he quizzed us about the Brexit.  Thanks Luigi for translating the commentary in the Italian newspapers for us, it is interesting to hear ‘Europe’s’ reaction.  We hope all goes well with your new job.

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Sharon finally wears out the aqua green 3 Euro flip flops she bought in Vila Real, Portugal.  A new pair of blue and silver flip flops were purchased in Senigallia for 1.99 Euros.

After two good nights at Senigallia we were Rimini bound.  This was one of the few ‘milestones’ like Granada and Servile that we highlighted as a place we would like to visit on the tour.   The reasons for this are a little vague, as I did not know too much about the city apart from it’s reputation as been a bit of a trend setter and an important place on the Italian club scene map – I quite like a party!!

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Typical Italian road.  Bone shakers.

However, enroute, disaster struck.  Finally, the Italian roads had started to take a toll on the van and leaving Pesaro I had the sneaking sensation that we had a puncture.  A road side stop proved this with the culprit razor blade sticking out of right hand rear tyre which I had picked up near a kerbside whilst dodging the potholes.  We got directions to the nearest tyre depot, which luckily was only 3 km away, but on arrival it was closed for siesta.  After locating the jack and releasing the spare tyre from underneath the van I embarked on a spare change on the garage’s forecourt only to find that the spare’s tyre walls were very badly perished (the date showed the tyre was 11 years old) and I was hesitant to fit this on a 3500 Kg camper.   Once the garage opened we were informed that getting hold of the correct tyre would be difficult and they offered to drop on ‘something similar’ for 150 euros.  After some debate (the tyre was not the right one and far too much money) we left on the badly perished spare in hope we could find something better in Rimini which was 30 kms up the road.    To cut a long story short, after trying several tyre places around Rimini, we arrived at the camper stop at around 6pm with two new tyres (Pirelli of course, we are in Italy!) and 250 euros lighter.

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The garage ended up moving all the wheels around to get the two new tyres on the front.

The plan was to watch both the Italy Spain and the England Iceland football games in Rimini on that evening.  We did manage to catch the second half of the Italian game in the first bar we walked into and I think I might need to ‘rethink’ my previous observations regarding Italy’s passion for the cup.  When the Italians scored the 2nd goal the whole bar went completely mental and a minute later when the game ended the TVs were turned off and the local crew of bar regulars fired up the DJ turntables and a full on party ensued.  It was under these conditions Sharon and I had to peek at the England game that they put on silent for us one hour later.  To be honest, the England game was that pathetic we were pleased to have another diversion of music, dancing and banter with the lively locals until the early hours.

Rimini is a great place no doubt, our highlight was the ‘Rimini shopping night’ where the old town opened up all the shops, put on about 20 live music acts dotted around the town and had open food stands cooking anything from pizza to massive steaks – it was packed with Rimenese enjoying themselves.

One random event I would like to record is meeting Mario and his partner who were from Brescia.  They were touring in a classic Fiat motorhome that had the ‘swan neck’ at the back, which is very strange.  We got talking and in my excitement I managed to invite them around for an evening meal – we had a lot of fun and quite a lot of wine.  Thanks Mario for the home made Brescian wine and salami – we are still enjoying it!  Also thanks for being polite about my cooking!

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Mario’s 1983 Fiat, with upstairs bedroom at the back. Rimini

After Rimini we did a two country day by visiting and stopping over in San Marino.  We visited the medieval hill topped ‘Citta’ via the cable car and found it to be pretty stunning (UNESCO site) but was slightly alarmed by the ‘bad taste’ that was been sold in the shops (wine bottles with topless and full frontal bottomless women on the labels, beer bottles with Hitler mug shots and shop fronts dedicated to air rifles, large hunting knives and Samurai swords– weird).

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Stunning views from the top of ‘Citta San Marino’

On a motorhoming practical note, we did wonder whether the fuel would be cheaper in San Marino and it is, by about 10 cents per litre when compared to Italy so we used the opportunity to fill up.

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Cool old Iveco A class, Senigallia camper stop.

 

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