Italy: lots to love, lots to hate
The van is both our home and our transport. At times I think it is a blessing and at other times a hinderance. We found ourselves in Cava De Tireni, a town on route to the Amalfi coast. Roadworks were prolific, and eventually we found ourselves navigating down a very narrow street, abruptly and rather suddenly a 2.5 ton limit sign appeared. My only option was to turn down one of the little side roads (even narrower than the one we were currently on) and pray! My prayers went unanswered and in moments I found myself at a junction filled with scaffolding, leaving a very tight squeeze for our wide van. I thought I had got through ok, but an impatient Italian on my tail was adding to the pressure, and just as I breathed out for the first time in what seemed like an eternity I heard the noise everyone dreads – a nasty long scratching sound followed by a sharp crack. There was no time to stop and check out the damage though with people tooting behind us. It turned out to be our vent for the gas which juts out very slightly and caught on some railings. We are left with a damaged vent, scrape along the side (luckily mostly superficial) and a rather less confident driver.
The day did not improve much. After vetoing Cava De Tireni as a stop we opted to make our way into the mountains which back onto the Amalfi coast. Motorhomes are only allowed to drive along the Amalfi coast from midnight to 6 am. This means your only option is to visit from either Salerno or Sorrento during day by bus, scooter or boat. Salerno is an ugly monstrosity and we definitely did not want to stop there. The mountains looked like a good stopover on the way to Sorrento. After a 45 minute drive around some very tight hair pin bends all we got to see was the view back towards Naples and Mt Vesuvius. The agriturismo camper stop was shut for the whole of October.
Another regroup and we thought we would just go to the coast. We ended up in Piano de Sorrento where most of the campsites are shut now as it is no longer summer. This would not have been a problem except that a railway line traverses the town and though there are a couple of high bridges, most are not suitable for vehicles like ours. In typical Italian style the road markings were shocking. You never know if a low bridge is coming up until you are right upon it, with no room to turn back the other way. At one point a sign saying “trucks this way” sent us the wrong way down a one way street! After an hour of similar battles in the crazy Italian traffic we decided to cut our losses and head towards Pompei.