Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bologna, Italy

Camping Citta di Bologna
By Claire
We have been checking weather reports whenever we have the chance. It's totally dependent on whether or not we have a WiFi connection. Some campgrounds make it very easy and free. Others make you pay by the hour or for several hours and make it difficult to get connected. We're in one of those at the moment. But, no matter. It is raining steadily, just as the weather page reported and we are doing exactly as we planned: kicking back, relaxing, doing laundry by machine, reading, writing the blog, and watching more of "Rome".

It is supposed to rain lightly in the AM tomorrow, so since it is a Friday (again? they come up so often!) we will leave in the morning to beat the weekend crowd in Florence. There is only one good campground available and it is within walking distance of the city so we want to get a spot. If the rain stops, we plan to check out the city in reconnaissance mode and hope to be able to get tickets for Chuck to the Uffizi and the Accademia. The weekend is scheduled to be warm and sunny and in the seventies. This being my third visit, I plan to do some walking in the back streets and see where they take me.

It's been interesting being in Italy. We saw a guy pulled over for speeding (we assume) by two cops. One did the paperwork while the other stood around holding a compact machine gun. It amused us because in France they say that the cops are everywhere, you just can't see them. In Italy, we have seen them everywhere so I guess they are everywhere. We see them standing on the roads behind a tripod holding a radar gun. We saw two of them the other day; one in the polizia vehicle, the other getting money from the ATM.

On the ferry to Venice the other day I really enjoyed watching a young girl of about 15 playing with her younger sister, about 10 years old. They were cuddling, and giggling and teasing. Pretty soon the brother, about 12, already sprouting a mustache, joined in and they were hugging and kissing each other on the cheeks and just having a great time together.

Susanna has really had some difficulties with driving in Italy. It was a bear getting to Venice and a bear getting out. When I programmed her to leave she wanted to know if I wanted to avoid toll roads and ferries. No to avoiding toll roads, yes to avoiding ferries. Her response? "There are no alternative routes without ferries". I checked the "details" of the route and it showed us on the Adriatico; I assume on a ferry. We decided to just drive out the way we came in, on a road, and then try again. There were a number of new roads so maybe that was the problem. We think she just doesn't like Italy. We do! We also love the toll roads. We made the decision some time ago to go with the Autostrada. It is faster, saving us fuel and heartache, or is it heartburn? We also like the Autogrills at the rest stops. Always a clean bathroom and we can even grocery shop or buy bread or sandwiches or whatever is our fancy. It's off the Autostrada that is the challenge. Chuck has really been amazing. We've had some hairy decision making at times. Susanna isn't always so good at counting out the number of exits in a rotary. She'll say, "in 250 meters, take the rotary, third exit". It's not always clear which "exits" she is counting. Sometimes it's a dead end, which we would not count. We're going around the rotary a couple of times and figuring it out. It certainly keeps our brains active.

It's also always nice to stop. Arriving at a campground is such a relief. We made it! The services available are just amazing to us. We currently have a bar, restaurant, laundry room, Wifi (however difficult to log on), and the cleanest, most modern bathrooms I've ever seen. I felt bad walking in yesterday with my wet, dirty shoes onto the spotless, gleaming floor. This is also a "hotel camping". There are brick bungelows with nice rooms available. We have talked about possibly doing a trip like this in the future, renting a tiny car and staying at campground "hotels". Much, much cheaper than regular city hotels. So far, all of them have had great transportation into the cities. The only drawback, the packing and unpacking.

We had hot oatmeal this morning for the first time. I had to guess at the proportions since my measuring cup is in deciliters and the directions are in Italian, of course. I went with what I thought I remembered from home and it worked out although I could have doubled it. I added a diced up apple which steamed along with the oatmeal and we put bananas on top. Yum! This really is the life.


Pat in Santa Cruz said...

You look so cozy and comfy in your camper. I can almost hear the rain.
So...."Cops - filmed on location in Italy" :-)
Sorry about Susanna...sounds like she's really trying.
Did you take the first Venice photo on your posting. It's amazing.
Enjoy Florence!

Chuck and Claire said...

About that first photo of Venice, nope, got it from Google Images. Let's keep this just between us.