Sunday, January 04, 2009

Trip to Rome - part 1

OK, well, this may be long. But several of you have been asking me for an account of our recent trip to Rome (the long-awaited!) and some pictures, so here is our log, compiled mostly from Becky and Claire's notes taken on the spot and transcribed here for our collective log. The first marker on the map is home. The second is the Hôtel des volcans just north of Clermont-Ferrand and the third is Serge's hotel on the south coast, not far from Antibes (Ste Maxime is not marked on this scale map).

Day One: Wednesday 24/12 — We loaded up the two cars and left at about 16:30. We'd planned to leave earlier (of course) but...

We decided to take the C3 and the C4 since there were eight of us going and the new C8 never got here in time. Serge offered the use of his camper so we thought we'd leave the C3 with him for the week and proceed on with the camper and the C4.

We made this first leg of the trip in perfect timing and in three hours we were pulling into the Hotel des volcans in Champs — without even leaving the motorway. The restaurant was closed for the night, of course — no one but us would have even asked! So we got our two rooms (the girls in one: Nathalie, Rebecca, Claire, and Christine and Christopher and Olivier with Mum and I in the other) then we all got together upstairs at four tables and dined on all the goodies Claire and Nat had baked (quiches, rillons, and clementines, etc) for the occasion and had a great time!

Day Two: Thursday 25/12 — After wishing each other a merry Christmas and having a great breakfast at the hotel, we drove all day making it to Serge's hotel that evening. We went out for an evening meal together but found everything closed so in the end we picked up some take-away pizza in Draguignan and brought it home to eat together. That night we found he'd turned the heating a bit too high and we had to open the windows a crack to keep from roasting! Here's a cozy shot Nat took of us all together that evening.

Day Three: Friday 26/12 — Today we were determined to have lunch in Italy, we knew not where — our original plan being to sleep in Pisa tonight. After going over all the details of the camper it was past noon before we were able to push off. We left the C3 with Serge for his use while we continued on with the C4 (and its GPS) leading the way and the camper following along.

Winds were dangerously strong on the France-Italy motoway between Nice and Genova and we were constantly being warned that high-sided vehicles should take the next exit. So after getting as much distance as we could we finally came off at San Remo and drove painstakingly through the city on the coastal road which slowed us down enormously.

By the time we'd gotten to Imperia we were wondering how we'd spend the night and looking for a site we could park in as well as a place to eat. Just then we chanced to see a camper park down off to our left! We turned in and found a dozen other campers plugged in to electricity and enjoying their evening. We decided to do the same!

But this is not at all what happened! The camper would not get plugged in and though we got half a dozen Italians to help us it never worked. So we had to use the electricity of the camper being careful not to use it too much.

Day Four: Saturday 27/12 — The next morning Daddy, Mommy, and I (Claire) went to try and get some groceries in Imperia. We left without supposing that the whole town was almost only one-way streets... After much wearisome traveling we found a "paneteria"(bakery) where we got some bread...and milk! We also went to a bar and got a coffee for Daddy, a"cappuchino" for Mommy, and a hot chocolate for myself. The coffee was very small (about a sip of it), the "cappuchino" was nothing but foam, and the hot chocolate was so thick it could be eaten rather than drunk!

Anyway we hurried back to the camper and had a late breakfast before starting off toward Pisa. There was still a goodly amount of wind though not nearly as much as yesterday. For this reason we could not get on to the autoroute and kept on the coastal road all day. We barely got anywhere at all. We ended up only at Genova looking for a camp-site (which we never found).

Finally, we thought: we don't need to pay 10€ to park why don't we just park by the side of the road and sleep there? So that's what we did. We decided to find a restaurant with a decent parking lot nearby and a little past Genova we found a spot with a little restaurant across the road outside a town called Sori and decided that would do. Then we all got out of the cars and went to a restaurant. This restaurant was so Italian that it didn't even sell pizza!

This was why we had to order a whole bunch of things without knowing what it was. We later came to know they were called bruschette and were like two pizzas stuck face-down together. Luckily, everything was good! There was a sea turtle (tartaruga) there in an aquarium with some fish. We had a really good time. Below is a photo of us waiting for the food and not knowing quite what to expect...

Now, on to part 2 ...

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!! Good job, Claire! And whomever else helped with the journalism. I must confess I haven't read it all yet but thought I'd comment and get back to more reading at a later date! Thanks for the wonderful history lesson and photos... I'm looking forward to finishing it...

    Love to all!