This is the continuation of our camping holiday in Italy (see previous post).
So there we were, tents pitched, cars and trailers parked up for the night in the car park, and everything set and ready to enjoy three weeks camping. There was however, one thing missing. The camaraderie!
It wasn’t missing because in the six hours we had been there we had managed to fall out, because we hadn’t. It was simply because we weren’t all together. The banter between the men as each prepared their evening meal could not take place because of the distance between pitches. Admittedly, Welsh Weeble and I had to get quite cosy round our respective camp kitchens because we were squeezed onto one pitch, but PC Bob was in a completely different lane. The ladies were unable to share a pre dinner drink and nibbles whilst the men cooked. Although the small persons were happy enough exploring the site.
Once dinner was out of the way, however, we all congregated at PC Bob and Wife Upon The Wicked Stage’s tent as they had the most room and spent the evening moaning about our lack of togetherness!
The following morning, being an early riser, I was to experience an unusual phenomenon. While we were setting up camp the previous afternoon, we hadn’t really taken in all our surroundings, and it was only first thing in the morning that I realised we had been allocated a pitch which was deep inside the, I’d like to say enchanted forest but alas cannot, deep inside the damp, dark, dismal, dense deciduous thicket. I was sitting, quietly, outside the tent. Book in one hand; mug of tea in the other and was wearing a fleece! I was perturbed. I had not come all this way to sit in temperatures lower than those back home!
I could visibly see my breath in the cold damp air. 😦
However, a little stroll up the lane towards the shower block or down the lane to the edge of the lake, took us out of our mini climate and in to the real Italian heat. The change was quite dramatic. The temperature increased by a double figure amount. The light levels were as different as night and day.
There was another upside and downside to this mini climate. In fact there were at least two, but I’ll come back to one of them.
The first was that for those lucky enough to be asleep, the coolness of the morning meant they could enjoy their sleep with out slowly roasting inside the tent. For those. like me, who don’t sleep, it just meant the start to the day with all the family seemed to get later and later.
Meanwhile, it was our first full day on the camp site, which could only mean one thing. Shopping! Not browsing round souvenir shops but food shopping. So each family set off to find the best supermarket in the area. I had prepared in advance by locating one in a nearby town and had loaded the coordinates onto my sat nav. Now we would see whether my sat nav could come into its own and get us to where we wanted to go without any glitches. Amazingly, Welsh Weeble decided to follow us!
And SALLY didn’t let us down, thirty minutes later we were at the supermarket. No issues what-so-ever!
Whilst we were shopping, the Italian sun turned into rain. We headed back to the camp thinking we would be alright as the canopy created by the dense trees would protect us. After all, the rain wasn’t too heavy.
Famous last words!
As we approached the site, the rain started to become quite heavy. Also, the wind was picking up. Unfortunately for us, the time had just crept beyond the gate closure hour, so we had to leave the vehicles in the car park and run to the tent – not easy with bag loads of heavy shopping. Actually, we left the heavy bags in the car, and just took the fresh food to the tent. As we reached the tent, we were greeted with a large branch sticking out of the top of Welsh Weeble’s tent. The rain and wind had become so strong they had combined to dislodge a branch from the trees and it had fallen straight through the top of the tent.
The two of us lashed together a cover from an unused groundsheet whilst the ladies mopped out the tent. And as the afternoon went on, it was clear this storm was not passing. We spent the entire afternoon preventing rain from entering the tents. We tried to create dry areas but it was just not possible.
As the evening approached we decided that cooking was quite simply out of the question, so GAY Cabs and I went to the onsite pizzeria. We had to walk down our lane and along the edge of the lake to reach it. It was raining quite heavily, but was still warm, so we were both in shorts and flip flops/sandals.
However, neither of us, nor anyone on the entire site, was prepared for what was to come next. Whilst we were waiting for the pizzeria to open, the rain intensified to the point where you could barely see ten feet in front of you. The wind reached speeds unprecedented in the area. The rain started to fall across the site almost horizontally.
I’ve experienced heavy tropical style rain many times, but it has usually been for short periods. This rain fell at this rate for at least an hour, and with pizzas now ready, GAY Cabs and I had no real choice but to run as fast as we could back to the tents. I say run, there had been so much rain that it was no longer possible to see where the edge of the lake met the camp site. All the lanes led from the top of the camp site to the water’s edge. However, the lanes were now rivers flowing to the lake and the part of the camp site round the edge of the lake was now the lake.
We had to wade through water which was at least seven inches deep. It simply wasn’t possible to see any grass or groundsheets. The flow of water down the lanes was incredible. We some how made it to our lane and as we turned we felt like salmon swimming against the current to make our way up the lane.
We couldn’t help wondering whether the tents would still be standing.
In fact, were the families still there, or had they been washed away?
Would we be able to make it up the lane?
Would the pizzas still be edible?
Find out next time … (here)