Sentinels of the Past

It seems like there is nothing that would surprise these gnarled yet stately trees who have witnessed thousands of campers since the Dionysus campsite opened over thirty years ago.

At its peak, the campsite was regularly host to 800 occupants. Now the advent of the all inclusive cut price holiday has drawn people away from camping.

The plus side is more space for those of us who still camp. And the people you meet are true travellers. Like the French couple in their late seventies. Travelled with their tents on their backs. He had life theories that were a complete philosophy. He refused to be called a philosopher. When I asked him why he replied because he did not write a book.

When I asked him why he did not write he replied because he experiences things and that is enough. Put me in my place.

The trees also do not make any commentary. Yet they have seen aeons of change around them. In their younger years, conquest by Venetians, Turks, English. Planted by Corfiots in return for an ample purse so that the lamps of Venice could shine throughout the dark nights of winter, lit by olive oil. Now they stand immense and bear witness silently. Shading travellers from the intense summer heat of July and August.

My home for three months on and off. The only sound at night besides the owl hooting continuously was the sound of an olive dropping on the caravan roof.


Every twentyfour hours 14

Tuesday morning and I get ready to go for 6am.  I opened one side of the gates. At this the attendant came out and said he would do the gates.

-‘can I see your payment receipt?’

‘ why would you want that?  and was as uncooperative as possible.

‘You have paid only until midnight.’

‘ I paid for one night and stayed for one night’

He walked away and opened the other gate.

Thankully that was the end of it. Whoever thought of charging from midnight to midnight was a complete genius. Turns out it was a greedy woman.

There is a road called the SS16 running the length of the east coast, parallel with the Autostrada. Incidentally, there is also a train which is frequent and stops all the way down the coast. A great option to see Italy. Remember it is a narrow country and Rome is not far away on the other side, over the Appenines.

I opted for the SS16 hoping to see some scenery along the way and of course avoid the massive trucks. I was rewarded with a picturesque drive alongside the sea with fields of sunflowers or borders of cornflowers on the other side.

I chose a campsite called Camping Fano and made for it. When I was within 2 minutes of the front gates, I came across an accident so I had to pass by. The traffic got blocked up for about an hour then I drove back to the campsite. I had rung earlier and had got a good response so although I passed other campsites and was tempted to book in along the way, I stuck with my original plan.

My hunch proved correct. This is a huge campsite, very popular with Italians who come here for the weekend and also for their entire summer holidays. I was met by David who walked around with me so I could choose the site I liked best. The train rushes past here and is incredibly loud so I opted for a site in the middle of a lot of caravans, a bit further from the train, but a stones throw from the sea. I wondered how my caravan would fit in but nothing was too much trouble. The motor mover was called for and David personally put in position.

Fifteen minutes later, I was called over for coffee with Lily across the way. David stayed for the coffee and I was made feel like one of the family. We got over my lousy Italian and the warmth coming from Lily was enough to break any language barriers.

I am about three meters from the beach and the first thing I did after basically setting up the caravan was to go for a swim. How gloriously luxurious to float around on the salty water after all the travelling.  I was so happy to have found a heavenly place with such welcoming people.

This a busy bustling site has built in quiet times from 1 to 2.30 every day.- (Orario de Silenzio) The 25 metre swimming pool has full time lifeguard and the shop is well stocked with everything from huge lumps of Parmigiano and Prosciutto to fresh bread and bottles of water, so that there is hardly any need to leave the campsite during your holiday.

Entertainment is staged at the bar every night although it is all in Italian. I was introduced to everyone who had any English. They described me as bravissima for the ‘sola’ drive I had done.

I think I will stay here for a few days.