Sometime in June I decided we definitely needed a real vacation this year not a bunch of “long” week-ends or weeks of staying home and “getting things done” in the apartment ….
Since I didn’t have time and nerve to plan a lot I tried to do a vacation that didn’t need any plans. We wanted to go to the sea and Adria sounded like a good choice. Rolland selected a few camp sites that sounded good, I bought a map, a travel guide and a small dictionnary, we packed the car and started.
Day One. Monday. We’re leaving Karlsruhe around noon. Much too late to drive to Rimini in one go. Very foggy on St. Gotthard but still much nicer than going through the tunnel. We decided to stay for a day at “Lago di Como”. Since my map was for our target area it didn’t – of course – cover the alpine lakes and therefore we had no idea where to find camp sites. My travel guide said in the north of the lake there would be a few, but the “autostrada” was passing the lake in the south and it sounded like too far to go up there, if only we had done it. We spent the better part of the evening looking for a camping around Como and Lecco (both pretty big cities). Finally we decided to follow a little road down the peninsula of Bellagio between the two “legs” of the lake. A very nice scenic road which I couldn’t enjoy because it was nearly 8p.m. and we had not seen any camp site for hours, despite seeing a few signs once in a while (we never found any of the camp sites the signs should have led to). Then we got lucky right on the coast of the lake we found a camping. To my dismay the site was pretty full and we would have camped on hard gravel and since we didn’t have a hammer with us (see Day Two!) we could never have put up the tent anyway (yes we own a tent that does not stand without a few tent pegs). So we drove on. Luckily there was another camp site just a few 100 meters down the road. It looked very nice with a lot of trees and right next to the lake … that one was also full, not even space on the gravel and when we asked if there were more campings down the road the woman said “No there aren’t any, you need to take the ferry to the northern coast!” It was getting dark and rainy outside and my mood sank further. We drove on hoping we would find the ferry at least. We seemed to drive forever and I was afraid we wouldn’t find any place to stay that night and had already resigned to taking the next hotel we’d pass, when we saw another sign that said “Camping turn right after 1km)” and this time the sign was correct, we found a nice campsite with enough space for our tent …. of course the moment we parked the car it started to rain. When our tent stood the rain stopped …. what a great omen for our vacation. We had asked for directions to a restaurant and walked there … the walk took longer than anticipated and I was already despairing again, that we would never find the pizzeria …. we found it right after I said: “If it’s not behind the next turn of the road we’ll go back and eat cookies!”
Day Two. We’re leaving Lago di Como around 10 a.m. and the first thing we needed was a hammer for putting up the tent next time since Rolland nearly destroyed his cup hammering the tent pegs into the ground with it. So we searched for an “Obi” or the likes. Rolland had seen one during our labyrinthine tour of Lecco and said he’d find it again. Well he didn’t and neither did I. So my dictionnary made it’s first and most famous appearance because it actually contained the word for a DYI-store (funny how it’s the same in English and Italian and different in German: Baumarkt!) … it’s a “Fai-Da-Te” …. after we knew what a Faidate was we saw them all over the place and it took us a very short time to finally find one and yes they did sell hammers. I also learned a lot of other interesting words from the dictionnary. After shopping at th Fai-Da-Te we went for the autostrada again and then drove for hours past Milano, Bologna and … short before Ravenna we decided to call it quits and start looking for a camp site there, the map showed about two dozen along the coast down to Rimini. We found one that looked acceptable after the second try, well the third but we didn’t find the place that should have been between the first and the third … we put up our tent, got out the chairs and other stuff and went for the beach. The sun was still hot at 5p.m. and we spent an hour or so roasting before we decided it was time to go shopping for food for our barbecue that night.
…. to be continued ….