Finding Sostas in the Mountains

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11/03/18 – 12/03/18

Apologies for the lack of photos.

One thing we have learned from our time in Italy is that free motorhome facilities are generally found inland. So when our toilet light came on (it indicates that we only have 7 litres of toilet space remaining) during a middle-of-the-night wee we thought we’d better head for the hills.

We did look for something closer to the coast but in the end we made an inland journey to a sosta in Latronico, we fancied a bit of mountain time as well as needing to empty.

Latronico is not far from the A3, the toll free major road that runs down to the toe of Italy, so it was easy to reach, with only the last section causing any problems; the sat nav tried to direct us down cobbled alleys and we also declined to take the direction indicated in the centre of town (a tight right turn that we weren’t sure we would make). In the end it was quite easy to drive straight up through the lower village (as opposed to the older village which perches on the hill above) and then turn right to get to the sosta.

Here we emptied our toilet and waste water but found that there was no fresh water. A short walk around the village turned up a working water fountain that we used to top up a little before we left. Also we had free electricity at 16 WHOLE AMPS, this was a complete shock to us and we immediately plugged in everything that needed charging. Even on campsites the usual supply is somewhere between 3 and 6 amps which doesn’t usually allow us to do more than run the heater. The website for the village shows that it is keen to attract tourists and new residents and I assume that having a motorhome sosta is part of this (it also says they reserve the right to charge €5 per night, which is fair enough,but no one was collecting at this time of year) . I suppose that attracting ex pats and second home owners is one way of replenishing the population and fortunes of these inland towns even if you don’t attract year round residents.

By the time we got here we didn’t feel like doing much, the sun was shining on us and we were feeling lethargic so we decided to chill out, bumble around doing some chores and watch some more rugby. Above us the broad fin of Monte Alpi looked down with disapproval, making us feel guilty for our laziness. As the afternoon progressed the cloud started to gather over the summit of the mountain and we realised that we were unlikely to be walking the ridge the following day.

Next morning we woke to sunshine and scattered cloud, but above the mountain we could see more cloud gathering. Our energy levels were back up and I took a walk into the village to pick up some lunch. There was a nice ‘Forno’ in town selling bread, but also different types of pizza and focaccia by the slice. For a bit of a change I picked us up a couple of slices each of an anchovy studded focaccia, a potato topped pizza and a roasted pepper and courgette pizza. With lunch taken care of I wandered back through the village. It was a very friendly place, in Italy I have found some places can be wary of strangers, but here the members of the village ‘old boys club’ (the older men who seem to spend a lot of time sitting around chatting) gave me a cheery buongiorno and a chap delivering wood seemed very interesting in why we were visiting but took the conversation beyond the very meagre limits of my Italian, later Paul teased me about being ‘picked up’. It seemed that everyone was ‘on message’ with Latronico’s marketing objectives.

We had decided on a bike ride rather than a mountain climb, so headed up from the sosta into the foothills meandering roughly westwards along roads and tracks and then diving down through a forest to meet the main road. The forest track started out looking pretty good but was heavily boggy in places, particularly at the hairpin ends. We ended up cutting off the corners and taking a more direct route downhill between primrose studded banks and deep drifts of fallen leaves. We saw multiple deer hoof prints but must have been too loud and colourful to catch sight of them.

When we reached the road the weather was still good and we decided to make our way to the reservoir Lago di Cogliandrino as a place that might be a little more scenic for lunch. Needless to say, as soon as we got there the heavens opened and thunder, lightening and hail surrounded us. Luckily there were some little roofed structures near the dam that gave us some shelter as we sat and chewed on our tasty breads.  We thought we’d wait until the showers passed, but it was looking more and more dark and gloomy so it was a case of moving on as quickly as possible. Cycling in hail is painful. It manages to get through the vents in your cycle helmet to hit your head and if one doesn’t have the thickest of hair (Paul) it can be quite ouchy.

We took the quickest route back to Bertie – the main road. This may have been a mistake, it wasn’t that busy but the roads were running with water and every car that went past created a bow wave. It didn’t stop raining all the way back, our bikes were clean but our clothes were sopping wet. It was a case of stripping off as quickly as possible and getting into something dry. For Paul this was his dressing gown (the second time I’ve been jealous that he’s had it).

Once back in the warm and dry, with the heater running thanks to our free electricity, we agreed that it had been a great and exciting bike ride. The fact that I may have wanted to cry each time a car went past has been consigned to memory.






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