There's a Snake in my Italian Boot
We’ve had one of those weeks where remembering what happened yesterday is a mystery.
There’s a slight danger with living in a van that this can happen. It’s probably what many desire. However, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of goals and progress tracking. Leslie has an issue with seeing a lack of progression, so a week that isn’t analyzed can be a problem.
It can bring you down. Alternatively, it can be what the doctor ordered if the week prior was a big one, but more often than not, that quiet week can spiral in to weeks.
We headed back north to Sperlonga, a coastal town in the south of Lazio. There was an initial thought to ‘see-out’ our remaining 4 weeks in this little safe-haven. Leslie got itchy, though.
So here we are in Puglia, a region that takes up the heel of Italy’s boot, and is also classified as orange. We’ve realized these restrictions are extremely lax and we're going after new horizons. We (sadly) don’t see many people, and due to us hugging the coast and avoiding built up areas, the police couldn’t care less about us.
Winter is finally creeping into our Italian experience. It’s still relatively mild, but the problem lies with cloud cover. Now, Leslie is writing this on a crystal clear day, but it hasn’t been like that too much as of recent. Cloudy days are more common, and coupled with the low lying winter sun, our solar panels are really struggling to keep up with the demand.
It has made us appreciate the sun when it comes out. We now plan around the weather, where we once had the complete luxury to expect a clear sky the next day, and we were always right.
The sun rises at a tolerable 7am, but it does feel as though we have to get things done in the morning or all of a sudden it’s 3pm and the light turns golden, before setting soon after 4pm. We’ve been in a very strong routine of 6.30am rises with a 10.30pm bedtime which helps us to maximize the daylight, too.
While dancing around the weather, we’ve had the pleasure of checking out a few interesting spots along the way as we drove from Termoli down past Lecce (about 450km driving).
Our first stop was Gargano national park.
Gargano park was beautifully quiet and, well, beautiful. The region of Puglia could be described similarly, with low season and Covid plaguing it. Gargano offered some picturesque coastlines, fabulous lakes and a lot of isolation. We could have skipped it, but that would have been a mistake for sure. We ended up staying in the area for about 4 days. There were no Lidl’s, and on one night, no reception, but the scenery definitely made up for it.
We’re down as far as Otranto
Well, a little bit further (at a stunning cliffside parking space) and it’s been a delight. Again, the weather has cooled down unfortunately, and we have a lot of clouds and rain coming our way so we’re booking ourselves into a campsite to have electricity (and a shower…) for a few days. Leslie has a backlog of editing to do so it kind of works out well.
The heel of Italy’s boot has been a good decision to visit. The coronavirus map has loosened restrictions in Calabria and Sicily, which were the priority regions, but it’s fine. Italy has something to offer in every region, it seems. When we think of Italy, the north is usually at the forefront of our minds, so it’s been amazing to see ‘the forgotten south’. Judging by how nice our time in Italy has been, it won’t be forgotten (at least by us!)
The only disappointment has been the amount of rubbish. It’s actually hard to escape, which is pretty sad. Most beaches have a certain amount of plastic on them, be it from people littering, or the ocean returning what we gave it (and rightfully so). It has been noticeable and can be bad enough to move to another campsite once or twice. It’s a shame, but also a problem we can fix by picking up a handful ourselves.
Looking at the calendar
We have under three weeks left before coming home. We also plan on being on the outskirts of Naples by the 14th or so to shoot a project for the company. This means that after a week in the campsite, we will have the bones of a week to mosey our way up Italy on a 500km journey. Hopefully we’ll check out some nice finds along the way.
Until then, we hope everyone is somewhat excited about the end to their year and we congratulate everybody for making it this far.
What a shitshow.