Van to SanRemo & No Go Monaco

A second significant ant invasion forced us to shout “We’re soft babies, get me out of here!” and cut short our stay at Barco Reale one day early. The second invasion was realised after one climbed from my cleavage and waved at me, as if to say “You think this is bad, look over to your kitchen”. Millions of the little blighters, every single inch of the caravan, except for the bed funnily, maybe after five weeks on tour even the ants won’t go there.

Options were limited, we head for France but the geography and lack of sites on our ACSI campsite app force us directly to the coast road from Genova towards France and only two or three campsites we felt remotely suitable. The one we are aiming for is about twenty miles from Monaco, and guess what is happening in Monaco today? Yep, that’s it, the Monaco Grand Prix, so we assume we will arrive, unbooked, to see a campsite totally full of caravans flying Ferrari flags.

First we needed fuel, oops, it’s Sunday and all the garages in Europe seem to flip into fully auto ‘credit card only’ mode. No problem, until we tried to follow the Italian language on screen and decided to leave with our tank empty rather than risk paying for everyone on the forecourt. Looks like a motorway fill up at €1.70 per litre!!!! The Boss calculated the consumption to the exact inch and shouted “Stop” to the pump attendant at the exact moment, and no, he wasn’t getting a tip for cleaning the windscreen. The scenery on this drive was quite stunning at times and it was a shame to drive past Levanto, a potential stop, where we could have visited Cinque Terre, one for another year.

Having already paid €8 after ‘cocking up’ near Genova and exiting the motorway when we didn’t want to, we exited the motorway a second time at Ventimiglia and gave our ticket to the booth, €33 he says as he browses his mobile phone, Blimey, we are using the road not adopting it, then, “No, No, No, More, More, More” as he finally lifts his head from the phone and sees the caravan that is following us, “€56”, The Boss fainted at the wheel. 

Amazingly, there was a couple of spaces at Camping Vallecrosia and a very pleasant welcome too, we set off for pitch 55, crikey these Italian sites are narrow, after waiting for a Motorhome who was proper struggling to exit we took our turn at two 90° left turns, first one, OK, second one, not OK, the rear of the caravan is just touching the bumper of a car, the Volvo is inches from a fence and the near side corner still looks too tight. The Boss jumps out, unhooks the caravan and we pull it around and recouple. We can’t find the owner of the car, damage is no more than very fine scratches but we report it to reception in case owner complains. Great start.

After the wonderful towns and cities of the last site we have decided on ‘downtime’ for this stage, just as a bloke with a scouse accent walks by and offers us free train tickets from Monaco back to the town, apparently not stamped in the general chaos as crowds left the Grand Prix, so looks like another day trip looms. Today, however, we concentrate on a shopping trip for groceries and then lying in the sun for as long as we could bear the scorching heat. A cracking view, if only I could stay out in it as long as I used to be able to. 

As we sat drinking wine in the evening we discussed our options for the following day, both agreeing that a trip to Monaco was not high on our wish list and another easy day actually sounded better. The Boss took that to mean ‘get the tandem out’ and decided we would ride to San Remo.

We are dripping in sweat, we haven’t even got on the tandem, we have simply locked the caravan door and put the panniers on, it’s about 35°C and not quite mid-day, we are clearly mad. To be truthful, the breeze from riding helped cool us down slightly as we rode down the promenade and cycle path of Vallecrosia, then Vallecrosia ran out of flat traffic free stuff, we shared the next five miles over a big winding hill with trucks, cars and scooters, all shaving the hairs off our shoulders as they passed us, then chased down a long descent at full speed by a coach that must have auditioned for ‘The Italian Job’.
We came to the fabulous Pista Ciclabile della Riviera Ligure cycle path towards San Remo, (this is the bit where The Boss steps in with his cycling knowledge) and the 1.75km Capo Nero Tunnel that was bedecked with banners celebrating winners and odd facts about the famous Milan to San Remo one day cycle race, a better use of an old railway line you would be hard to find. The cycle path carried on past the harbour, full of millionaire yachts, and provided beautiful views stretching along the coast and the beaches and bars between. 

Honeysuckle grows wild for miles (I’m back now – flowery girly stuff) and the heady scent seems to go unnoticed on male nostrils, until I give him a poke in the back and tell him to sniff up.  Completely unappreciative we pedal on. 

After about twelve miles we turned about, did a quick lap inland of San Remo then headed back in search of refreshment.
Aperol Spritz has been our Italian refreshment of choice, ample reward for a twenty five mile ride as we relax in a beach bar watching the Med in the deepest shades of blue. Monaco can wait for another trip, we are realising fifty days can’t even scratch the surface for a European Tour.

Our final night spent chasing mossies around the caravan wasn’t quite the sleep we’d planned before entering the final couple of weeks of our trip. 

Link to Vallecrosia Camping site review HERE

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