After a week of fending off wasps and rats while camping in an otherwise beautiful pitch overlooking the sea in San Remo we decided to take a break and move into a hotel for a week while we did our italian language course. One week is obviously too short a time to learn a language but that was all that our budget and little brains could manage. Thanks to the help of our patient teacher, Danni, as well as numerous espresso drinks, we can now pick our way through the basics when listening or reading Italian.
The excitement of driving Ollie from the campsite to a parking spot in town (a whopping 3 km’s in distance) was obviously too much for our poor delicate camper van to take, causing Ollie to promptly vomit up liters of green radiator fluid on the road. That was some time ago and even Uncle Hugh’s emergency duct tape couldn’t fix the problem. Some of you have kindly suggested that we keep a spares kit on board; sadly even the most basic parts for this camper seem scarce. For example, Marco the local mechanic said, “There is only ONE radiator hose of this type left in ALL of Italy and it will take six days to get to San Remo”.
As we were were beached once again, we decided to use this “downtime” to decamp to a wonderful apartment in the tiny Cinque Terre coastal town of Manorola. It was a whole day of train travel from San Remo via Genova but we arrived safe and sound and it was most definitely worth it.
The Cinque Terre National Park consists of five beautiful coastal villages with tiny pastel colored houses clinging to the rock faces of a steep and dramatic coast. All cars have been banned from the villages, so the only way to travel between the towns is on foot, by train or by boat (if the seas aren’t too stormy).
During our stay we took a long boat ride from Monterosso to Porto Venere which gave us the chance to view all the villages from the sea. The girls also took part in a cooking course involving a guided shop for ingredients in the local market of La Spezia, followed by preparation of a four course meal in the kitchen of a local restaurant.
We were sad to leave Cinque Terre and our mood wasn’t helped by a train strike at the station in Genova, which added many hours and a crowded bus journey to the trip home. The good news was that we returned to our last night in San Remo and a repaired Ollie thanks to Marco and Antonella.