The Italian job done, pt 1

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 29, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Thursday, July 2, 2009

I can best describe Italy as like having a gorgeous girlfriend with a personality problem, easy on the eye but hell to live with. I think we hate the place half as much as we love it, its such a labour to travel and experience the vast extremes of the country a times it hardly seems worth it, then just like said girlfriend it give you the puppy dog eyes and all is forgiven.

We are currently contemplating when we will actually leave, we have already been in Italy a lot longer than we had ever planned and sometimes wanted to be, but we are still here hanging on, we know we will probably not return I guess its hard to say goodbye.

I know we never want to return to Naples, I hate to put a place down but it really was hell on earth, driving back out of the costal resort we decided to head north along the coast to get closer to Rome. We drove through Napoli itself this time to take in the ruins at Herculanum along the way, the drive through was probably the worst experience in my life, the rest of Italy has truly turned its back on this region, for the first time we really felt like we wanted to pack it all in.

Normally when you drive through any area anywhere you start in the countryside, hit a small town which generally builds up to a city with defined town borders and areas getting busier and then less so along the way, well not here. The countryside outskirts are replaced with rubbish dumped on every available corner and once you hit the first town its hard to know when you have left it for the next, the area for about four hours is solid traffic and one long urban nightmare. I am sure the main town of Napoli may have charm if we had a chance of finding it, but this was as bad as it gets for a driving trip, if it was any closer to the border we would have gladly left Italy there and then, in fact if was closer to the border in the first place we would never have bothered with Italy at all.

But that was that, the worst was defiantly over, when the last traces off dumped rubbish and burnt out cars were behind as we hit the coastal road towards mount Aurunci, we found a great little coastal resort town where we treated Dad to a proper Italian meal for helping us with the cost of seeing Italy and the safety of proper camp sites. The place we settled on only looked like a little restaurant nothing special, we were hardly dressed for anything fancy anyway, we just wanted to de stress and enjoy some real Italian cooking. We got it spot on for a change and were really spoiled with proper delux Italian cooking and wine, suited waiters and fresh table cloths, the proper job and they didn't even look down at us in our scruffs, as I said Italy is easily forgiven.

So then it was a last dash along the coast to Rome, we did Rome last year and saw the driving from the pedestrians vie w, this wasn't something I really wanted to experience first hand, so we headed for the port town of Fiumicino, which for a town which hosts a major airport was really nice, we piled into the van for a free stop one last time and watched a perfect sunset on the bay. We took Dad on the short drive to the airport early next day, it was a fitting way to send him off.
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