Monthly Archives: May 2017

Time to hit the coast, The Cinque Terre, Italy.

We decide to head for the coast, it seems ages since we’ve seen the sea, in truth it was at Lazio in mid-March, but it seems longer. Enter “The Cinque Terre”, a group of 5 towns interconnected in style and culture, perched on the cliff-edge overlooking the Ligurian sea. Roamaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernaza and Monterosso al Mare, the roads are too tight for large vehicles, so 8m MoHo’s are strictly frowned upon, but we did see one brave Hymer having a go. The streets are not only narrow but steep too, so reminiscent of Robin Hoods Bay in Yorkshire and St. Ives, Cornwall, not somewhere I’d be having a go at reaching with our fearless and valiant “Charlie-bus”. The original purpose of these little costal towns was not only fishing, but also to shift wine grapes around locally, the hills are so steep roads inland were secondary and weren’t built till long after development of the towns.  Surrounded by incredibly steep rocky hills that took hundreds of years cut away the terracing, painstakingly removing rock and etching out the many levels, now the 5 towns have developed into delightful tourist attractions. The ‘normal’ way to see the 5 towns is to use the train that connects them, buy a day-ticket, off at each town and have a mooch about. We parked up at an official Aire in La Spezia, the next town along the coast, a large industrial busy port but the cheapest secure parking around at €6pn, a perfect launch-pad for us. One criticizm, I still don’t think it’s a good idea parking MoHo’s this close together, but it’ll do for 2 nights.

MoHo’s all lined up. By end of day the park was full. Only 1-2 metres between each van. Mmm?

Hugging the cliff, Corniglia.

Like-minded tourists fill the streets on a sunny afternoon.

Hope the hand-brake is on, the steep streets of Manarola


Time to zig-zag back into central Italy again, this time in search of an automobile legend, the  prancing horse of …Ferrari. The town of Modena is nestled between 2 towns more famous than it, Parma and Bolongna, but (in my view) much less important, it’s home and birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. His home was the first car workshop, is still owned by the Ferrari family, now a museum. At €15 to get in, it’s not a cheap way to spend a couple of hours, but if you like reciprocating fuel burning lumps of art mounted into sexy, fast noisy, expensive modes of transport, this is the place to be.

Engines through the years

Interesting fact: In 1902 there were only 3 cars registered in Modena, 15 in Parma, driving regulations were non-existent, so 3 cars in Modena evolved to dive on the left, the 15 cars of Parma…on the right…what could possibly go wrong?

Wouldn’t it be greatt to have a go?

The was sun finally forecast to come out, (it’s rained every day for a while) the wash-bag was looking overweight & we were about ready for a chill-ax on a campsite, so we set controls for lake Garda. After two days of watching the tyres slowly sink into the mud, the rain stopped. The next few days were spent zipping around the edge of the lake on Frankie, burning a full tank of fuel per day, almost a record, but the towns of Desenzano, Salo & Sirmione are superb for strolling around, as if we are tourists…we even had a meal out…get us!

Look at us…’eating out’ and it’s not a Weatherspoons.

Charlie’s Sleeping spots:
Lucca, Sosta €14pn n43.84007 e10.48805 Quiet, FON WiFi
Spazia, Sosta-€6pn all services. slow WiFi. bit noisy (200+vans) at times but close to Ciquue Terre & cheap. 2 nights.n44.10402, e9.85919
Taverna, Modena-Pizzeria allows MoHo’s to park in the car park. No purchase required. Free. Quiet. No other services.n44.577, e10.96535
Mantura, Just a car park, n45.15252, e10.79898
Camping Zocco, Large modern campsite. Quiet out of season. €17 ACSI. On the edge of Garda. 8 nights. n45.5388, e10.55732