Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Indie Travel Challenge - A Girlie Moment & A Fishing Rod

My submission for Week 9 of the Indie Travel Challenge, via BootsnAll - la bella italia!
Week 9 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about la bella Italia.
There’s plenty for travelers to love in Italy, but it can definitely be more challenging to get off the proverbial beaten path – it’s popular, remember, so you’re not going to be the only person visiting. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible to have an indie travel experience in Italy – far from it – it just means you might have to work a little harder to do so. And that’s exactly the kind of extra effort that can sometimes lead to the greatest travel rewards.
What’s the best indie travel experience you’ve had in Italy? Or, if you’ve never been, what’s the place you’d like to go in Italy more than any other (and why)? More generally, what do you do when you visit popular places in order to have an indie travel experience?

Two years' ago we gave up the day jobs, sold the house, and headed off to travel Italy in an old VW Campervan called Rosemary.  I think its fair to say we truly got off the beaten path.  This is one excerpt from my diary, as we were wild camping on the banks of Lago di Bomba, Abruzzo that shows just the rewards that can be had:  

Saturday 29 May 2010, Lago di Bomba

Rather nice day today, just messing around doing nothing.  Well, actually, that's not quite true.  We just didn't go anywhere.

Long lazy morning which starting with KP slumbering whilst I sat by the lake in the early morning sun, drinking coffee and watching the residents of the aquamarine waters go about their morning business. The fish are HUGE!  And so many of them. 

Lago di Bomba, Abruzzo, Italy

I was originally drawn to the lake to check out a rather frenzied splashing and caught sight of something quite large and brown moving stealthily through the water.  Was I about to be treated to another sighting of an otter in the wild?  When the splashing in the reeds and the large, long brown body appeared again, I realised it was the biggest monster fish I had ever seen!  Wow.  Gulp.  I've been swimming in these waters, I hope it doesn't bite.  I hope it has a fish phobia of swimmers.

Making the most of the quiet, tranquil time I had a rare girlie moment and tended to my, by now, rather shabby toe nails. Bit of a shape and a trim and a chipping off of the last of the nail varnish (no nail varnish remover, so my finger nail had to do), and they were almost as good as new.  I'd bought some scarlet nail polish in Pescara yesterday, so that went on next. Actually, I didn't mean to buy scarlet.  I think there must've been a strange lighting in the shop, as I thought I was buying a slightly less hussy-like burgundy.  So here I now find myself, a rather disheveled traveller trying (and clearly failing) to forge a beatnik hippy image, but with scarlet hussy toe nails.  (Must try harder at beatnik hippy image.)

KP came and joined me for a bit, admired my toe nails and watched the lakeside activity for a while, before wandering back to do last night's washing up and make breakfast.  Scrambled eggs and fresh salmon.  Big yum scrum.  However, it was very clear that a deep-seated yearning for a fishing rod, that has slowly been growing within him, has now become a deep emotional need. 

Jaqs & kayak

I got a load of washing done and hung out under the trees and then went and borrowed a couple of kayaks from our new friend, Alberto.  What a great way to spend the day.  It took me a while to get used to it, but once we got going I actually really enjoyed it.  We seemed to be out for ages and ages and went all the way to the dam, but turned around when we saw the outlets as we didn't fancy being sucked through to the other side. 

When we got back, KP went in before me to get the camera for a bit of a photo shoot so I paddled round the corner for a bit whilst I waited for him.  And, guess what?!  I found a fishing rod!!!  And what a beauty it was too.  All carbon fibre, long, red and willowy, complete with golden reel and line!  Fantastic.  It was just floating in the middle of the lake.  

I had a quick scour around with very guilty eyes.   No-one about.  Quick, put it in the kayak!  But it was stuck.  Line's caught.  Darn it.  I paddled back to KP who was, by now, waiting on the bank with the camera, and told him to quickly get a knife.  Said hunting knife was duly delivered and tied to bikini.  I paddled back to the fishing rod, rather fancying myself as Lara Croft.  I rescued the rod, took it to KP and eased my conscience by promising to try and find the rightful owner through Alberto.  

Jaqs & fishing rod

It truly was a beauty.  KP's face was an absolute picture, eyes all a sparkle and misting over with emotion.  At last.  He has a fishing rod. 

So KP spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning and polishing his rod.  Then the heavens opened and our beautiful sunny day was no more.  We holed up in Rosemary, battened down the hatches, books and maps everywhere as we plotted and planned our onward route.

Once the rain had stopped, we chatted with Alberto for a bit, took Rosemary out to stretch her legs (or wheels), picked up some fresh bread, came back, made supper outside and watched the fireflies twinkling and sparkling all around.

A good day.  Tomorrow we move on
KP, a strummin & a chillin

The full diary of the trip, entitled "Going Camp at 50", can be found amongst my Facebook notes: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?sk=notes


  1. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

  2. Glad you liked it! It was certainly a good day, and a life-changing trip that I'd do again and again and again :-)