OUR TRAVELS

PART SIX

Campy parked in Toscana Village Camping, Montopoli, Toscana, Italia!

Follow that, you may well say again after Part Five below – however, in a way, this time we didn’t – at first, at least!

We had it in mind to go from Domaine Dalmeran to Frej├║s, nearer to the Italian border to wait for as long as necessary for us to be able to cross into Italy following all Covid Protocols, of course. So, off we went.

It was a good campsite, though rather sodden after unusually heavy rainfall, 10 minutes from the town on Scoots. It was pleasant, there was a lovely beach, but the weather, contrary to how we’d expected, was really cold – I guess living in SE Spain for so long has weakened our resistance to cold weather!

Fortunately, we soon learned that all we needed for entry into Italy was a negative Covid test and an address to which we were travelling. We fancied Tuscany (who wouldn’t?!) so we booked into Toscana Village, Montopoli, receiving confirmation, should we need it at any police stops etc. The local chemist was performing official Covid Tests – we booked one each and soon were on our way.

It’s a fair distance from the French/Italy border to Toscana, so we knew we would have to ‘wild-camp’ en route, but if it’s good enough for the truckers, it was good enough for us! In honesty, it wouldn’t be my first choice, staying overnight at a motorway station, but we were really pleasantly surprised. It was perfectly safe, all facilities were open, everybody was Covid conscious, sanitisers, masks etc – and, a shock to us at that stage, the restaurant was perfectly ok to visit for dinner if we’d wanted (we didn’t, as we had a dish already cooked and ready to re-heat in Campy), and breakfast, which we did – trying a couple of different coffees until we got it right for our tastes!

Actually it was quite tempting to dawdle over breky, something of a tribute to the service stations here in Italy, but we needed to move on. Our cooking and central heating when required is from GPL gas, which isn’t always so easy to find – however it is quite popular here, so we filled up with gas and diesel and hit the road!

When we arrived at Toscana Village, the weather was rainy, chilly too, and yet it was really quite beautiful. A fitting start for what turned out to be another brilliant experience, up there with the others mentioned below!

There was an Irishman, a Scotsman and an Englishman, as the old joke has it!

On our third night we were invited to a pit-fire BBQ. Apparently, it was Irishman Tony’s (on the right), turn to host this small weekly event, which included, the much travelled Kitch, the lovely lady in charge of campsite cleaning and Scotsman Wil, co-founder of Caravans in the Sun ( https://www.caravansinthesun.com/), who is two years into his 5 year plan, helping the owners of the site promote their business, as well as his, of course! Wil had been very helpful re a number of issues – internet, electricity etc when we’d first arrived, and always with a smile! A mention here also for Andrew, who wasn’t at the BBQ, but who had also been so helpful and friendly!

And talking of smiles, Tony’s is irrepressible – so typical of the Irish! We brought some wine, though Tony insisted we also try his supply, from the local winery and bottled without labels (often a major plus!). The conversation got around to football as we ate the pre-ordered pizzas and I happened to mention(!) that’s I’d been involved with Liverpool FC in the 90s, when Tony almost fell off his chair – he’s been a Reds supporter all his life!

Wil, who supports some obscure Scottish team, Hibs?! Oh dear, he won’t like that, has also watched Liverpool on several occasions, so we rambled on about the great matches, ex and current players and so on. Conscious of trying to bring Kitch and Claire into the conversation I decided that a change of direction was needed and was given the chance when ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (Gerry Marsdon, LFC anthem) was brought up – odd, though it sounds, considering Claire’s classical music training, opera aria singing etc.

It seems all Italians love Classical Music/Opera and when I told the assembled quorum of Claire’s beautiful soprano voice and singing experience they insisted on hearing some. After a few drinks and half a pizza, Claire wasn’t so keen on singing there and then, but wait, says I, we have videos! The silence that ensued as I played some videos of Claire, for example busking as below in Avignon and Benic├íssim and others, was only broken by the sound of jaws dropping in awe!

Wil, always a business man, realised straight away what an attraction Claire would be for Toscana Village in the summer season – would she be interested in working the July/August season for them, singing at the beautifully lit pool and restaurant a couple of times a week?!

So, after just three nights in Italy, the opportunity that we’d hoped might present itself, did so – the following day a deal was struck.

Like Kitch, Tony and Wil, we are really looking forward to returning to Toscana Village, under the Tuscan Sun, towards the end of June!

Ciao, for now!