11th October 2016. Diano Marina, Italy.

We went into the village to see whether there was a bakery or whether the café was open for breakfast.  Initially it looked like the café was closed but Darren noticed people walking around inside so we went in.  It appeared to be the hub of village life, there was a group of ladies and their dogs at one table chattering away, the lady who’d chatted to us the previous day was part of the group, she was busy giving a man a piece of her mind before she ushered him out of the door and shut it behind him, from the smiles I think they were mucking around, it was like watching a group of teenage girls ‘picking’ on a lad.  They were all having a great time.

We still haven’t got used to ordering coffee, we had a croissant filled with marmalade, which was yummy and although I asked for caffe lungo we ended up with espresso, which was very nice but didn’t go very far!  We sat and ‘people watched’ and noticed that a lot of the locals came in and stood at the counter to drink their coffee.  One man ordered water in a glass with his espresso and knocked that back after he’d finished his coffee.  My American friend Stacia always has a glass of water with her coffee, I keep meaning to do the same.  The tables were well spread out although people were just turning round and shouting across the room to their friends.  I think we were a topic of conversation, there was certainly a lot of blatant staring going on.  There was a pool table in the corner of the café it was rather close to the wall on one side so that must make for an interesting game!

After breakfast we went to see whether the shop on the other side of the street sold local wine but it turned out to be a tiny newsagents so we gave up on the quest for local wine, walked back to the van and drove back down the mountain going through the same squeezy area in the village and round the same nasty bends.  Woo hoo! What fun!

We drove along the motorway for the rest of the journey to Diano Marina which took us through lots of tunnels and over a lot of bridges and meant we passed lots of different styles of sound baffles, which was great entertainment because I love seeing tunnels, bridges and sound baffles.

As we drove into Diano Marina our SAT NAV decided to pull a stunt on us.

The area was VERY busy, the SAT NAV told us to turn right off the main road and right again.

The first road was full of people and cars and as we turned right again and drove towards a bridge I noticed a market was in full swing in the street on the other side of the bridge and it became a bit confusing when we noticed another small lane running up to our road from beside the bridge.

However we soon discovered, in retrospect, that part of the journey had been a doddle.   Our nightmare began when we drove across the bridge and following the SAT NAV’s directions began to turn left.  That’s when we came face to face with a TEENY bridge that was barely wide enough and high enough for a car to get through and there beside it was a sign giving the dimensions!  How very helpful!

The only thing to do was reverse back over the busy bridge because the right hand turn was closed with the market.

As Darren started to reverse the van slowly backwards a man ran up and knocked on the window.  He said he was a policeman (in plain clothes it would seem) and he asked us where we were going.  I showed him the address and he gave us directions to it telling us to turn right by the station then wandered off shouting and gesticulating at the cars in front of us who were hooting away!  Errmmm!  Thank you???

A very kind stall holder came to our rescue, he stood on the corner of the bridge and directed Darren back, telling him when a car was coming up the road next to us which Darren had to back the van into.

We nicknamed it the Road to Purgatory which was rather apt we later discovered.

The SAT NAV was very keen to send us round that way again even after we drove off.  We never did find the route the policeman gave us we think perhaps he meant turn right over the railway line which we hadn’t done.  We found a motorhome sign and followed that to the other site in Diano Marina.

The campsite was huge, we’re not fans of huge sites so we decided to try to find the original one we’d been heading for.  We pulled over and looked at the map on Darren’s tablet then followed that route, nervously, over a dried up river bed and up a road where we saw another motorhome sign.

We were trying to make up our minds whether we’d finally found the sosta we were looking for so Darren pulled over to let  a car pass and the driver very kindly gestured to us and drove slowly to show us the route into the sosta.

We got a big surprise when we arrived, the photo in the book showed a view over a vineyard towards the sea with a big white house on one side and a few motorhomes tucked away at the bottom of the photo.  We’ve decided that is a VERY old photo indeed because the vines have long since gone, the terraces are now motorhome pitches and the white house is uninhabited and definitely not white any more!

However it was nice and quiet, a lot of the motorhomes there were closed up.

Darren came back from reception with a nice little surprise.  When he’d paid he was given a little bag with two white espresso cups in it, that was a lovely gift.

We wandered into town, got horribly lost so it took far longer than the 20 minutes it was supposed to take, in fact we ended up walking to the town next door but we found a promenade with a bench in the sun beside the beach where Darren caught up on some business calls and emails then we went to the ice cream shop where horror of horrors the man told us he didn’t have any ice cream, it was being delivered tomorrow!

We gave up on the idea of ice cream and went to a bar where we had a small glass of lager and a chunk of plain ciabatta and tomato topped ciabatta, very nice.

We were wandering around the town when old ‘eagle eye’ spotted an ice cream shop so we bought some and sat in the sun eating our Italian ice cream, it was very tasty.

We made a point of going back to the little bridge so we could take some photos and discovered that on the side of the road where the market had been there were two signs, the name of the road (which ironically was Filippo Purgatorio) and another sign which said in small writing (in English) that there’s a market there every Tuesday!

After that we tried to find a pizza shop but none of them were open until the evening and by the time we’d walked back to the sosta (having got lost again!) my feet were killing me so we decided to eat in again, in fact I cooked the chocolate flavoured pasta that our son Austyn bought us from Carluccios, it seemed right to eat it in Italy.

I Googled the area in the evening and found a beautiful looking town next to ours so we decided to stay another night and cycle there in the morning.

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