A great thing about our travels is the flexibility – we have a plan, sometimes we stick to it, we often adapt it and sometimes we change it completely. Our leaving Manfredonia (see Part Nine) was just such an occasion.
We’d planned to go to Gallipoli, further down the Adriatic and in the ‘heel’ of the boot of Italy. We’d read that there was quite a lot to see, the town was interesting and that there was at least one campsite open during the Winter. However, second thoughts, for a number of reasons (though mostly because it would be a particularly long drive to Sicilia which we wanted to visit. to see what it would be like for next Winter) decided us to go back across Italy to the Med coast once again, though further south than we’d been before. We ventured beyond Napoli, land of the original Pizzas!
I’d never heard of Paestum – once run by the Greeks, whose presence we were to find out is marked by three of the best-preserved temples anywhere – but it was on the way to Sicilia, sort of, and hopefully a little warmer.
Well, it was warmer – but not at night time!
Camping Villaggio Dei Pini is right on the beach at Capaccio Paestum and it was such a wonderful location we stayed for about 4 or 5 weeks – so this is the first of two blogs about our time there. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, the owner, a touch stern-faced, to be honest, took our details, as well as our temperatures, and told us we could choose any available pitch.
There were three only taken and the one that we really fancied was free – bingo, we were set up in a short time and went straight the beach, but a few metres away! Idyllic just about sums it up!
The following day we went to retrieve our passports from the office where we met the great young guy, Daniel, who became our friend in no time! Speaking German, Italian, English and Spanish – he’s worth his weight in gold at Villaggio Dei Pini, for that reason alone. However, that’s not all that makes him such a great guy to have at reception – he’s so friendly and willing to help. Add to this that he is a musician, playing the guitar, as well as an ex-professional footballer (having played pro footy in Uraguay, Italy and Switzerland!) and a lover all natural foods and, wait for it – wine!
He’s half German, half Uruguayan and his lovely wife is Italian – their sweet little girl, Celeste, therefore a mixture of the lot! And – when we arrived, Ana was over 8 months pregnant, so a small family about to become a little larger!
Also, we were delighted to meet Fri (pronounced Free) and Lalla – fellow travellers staying on the campsite, who were such good fun, with Fri another guitarist!
We all hit it off perfectly – one of the greatest pleasures of camping!
Claire and I were also invited to Daniel, Ana, and Celeste’s nearby apartment where we watched Daniel make homemade fresh pasta, also using Ana’s mother’s home grown and pressed tomato sauce and home grown and pressed olive oil. We chatted and played with Celeste and had a lovely time. One highlight was when I told our new friends that Claire is an Classical/Opera singer – and, I managed to convince her that she should give a little ‘taste’ of her wonderful singing.
Celeste, following the conversation, but probably expecting just a little sing song, was looking at Claire when she started on an opera aria, from memory, and seeing the little girl’s jaw drop with her eyes wide in astonishment, was priceless! Indeed, so moved was she, that she asked to leave the table and dance with beautiful balletic movement, following her year or so of ballet dancing classes. What a wonderful night!
Another great benefit of ‘our’ beach was the fact that, although deserted of people, there was a good amount of driftwood. This, coupled with the fact that the campsite had plenty of Pine Trees (it’s in the name!), spelt Beach Bonfire BBQ to me!
We went to see the amazing temples, though Covid restrictions stopped us from visiting, but they are plainly, magnificently visible from the road. We also went to the nearby town of Agropoli on Scoots, which enabled us to climb the narrow and steep road to the deserted, but well preserved medieval castle, where we were enchanted by the occupied dwellings which surround it, many of them built at the same time!
So, we were lucky yet again – and there’s more: (don’t miss Part Eleven, where I take up a new hobby; we, inevitably, I guess, visit a winery; and when our lovely daughter Rosanna comes out to play!)
Thanks for reading!