Tuesday 29th July.
We are parked up this evening in a Sosta on the outskirts of Sanremo. To be fair it is actually a massive gravel car park, there are about twenty motorhomes here but it could probably accommodate ten times that number. Water is available if you care to negotiate a steep bank and the narrow lanes bisecting the baseball ground (?) from the athletic ground and the football pitch. All this luxury for €15 per 24 hours but it's quiet enough and the sea is only a stones throw away so although it is still hot there is a refreshing breeze. We arrived here yesterday after a short drive from Cervo and like many of our stops recently we only intended stopping the one day but we are still here. We walked into Sanremo today and it's a lovely city with some beautiful old large buildings and some luxurious looking hotels. The beach stretches the width of the town and today it was packed. There are small strips of public, free beaches between those strips owned by hotels or restaurants where they charge €18 per day for an umbrella and a couple of recliners a couple of feet away from your neighbours in all directions. Not really our idea of fun but each to their own eh?
We are parked here next to a South African couple with a 10 metre 1996 UK Flair motorhome, it's actually 11 metres with the racks on the back containing 5 push bikes and a motorcycle. They park the beast up in Spain during the winter and then come over and drive all over Europe for four months during the summer. It seems a little on the large size to me but they seem happy enough with it and the 12mpg it returns. They've been over the Pyrenees and the Alps in it doing eleven point turns on some of the hairpins! I suppose when you become used to driving and living in something that large it becomes hard to downsize. They're a pleasant couple and have given us a few tips on places to stay on the Côte d'Azur, I reckon if they could get the beast in we shouldn't have too much trouble with our van which looks like a baby parked next to theirs.
So, this is definitely our last day in Italy. To be perfectly honest my plan when we landed in Venice was to drive as quickly as we could to France. I'd heard how expensive Italy was and I wanted no part of it. I now have to apologise to Italy, we've had a great time here and it's not as expensive as we thought, unless you buy diesel, of course, which we haven't had to do. We'll be on fumes by the time we get to France but I baulked at paying €1.85 a litre here. Vicenza and Verona were especially lovely and we enjoyed our few days by Lake Iseo. Hopefully we'll come back to Italy in the future and explore more of this country. The people we've met have seemed a little more reserved than, say, Spanish or, especially, Greek folk but everybody has been welcoming and polite.
Tomorrow we set off for St Laurent-Du-Var just the other side of Nice. There are two Camperstop locations there but they only hold a total of twelve vans so we're going to have a couple of back-up locations further inland if we can't get in there.
Wednesday 30th July.
We are parked up this afternoon on an Aire in Saint-Laurent-du-Var. We left Italy and Sanremo this morning and drove the coast road to where we are now, passing Monaco and driving through Nice. This is a tiny Aire with space for just eight motorhomes and we managed to squeeze into the last space. About ten minutes after we arrived another van turned up that we had passed a half hour earlier whilst driving through Nice. A bit of shuffling around and he's found a space for the night too but if anyone else turns up they're going to be unlucky.
There are English folk on this site too!! The first we've met for ages. I've just been chatting to a couple from Leeds who are planning to drive clockwise around the Italian coastline and are thinking of then going on to Greece. When they heard we had just come back from a seven week tour of Greece they bombarded me with questions which I was only too happy to answer.
Not too much to report from where we are now although the view of Monaco from the hills above was spectacular as was the view of the yacht harbour in Beaulieu-sur-Mare:
The drive through the centre of Nice was also fun, managed to take a quick pic of the Hotel Le Negresco whilst at some traffic lights.
Absolutely no chance of parking anywhere on the coast today. We've decided to move inland tomorrow toward Provence. It's great driving along the coast and seeing the sights but we are only seeing them from the cab of the van. There's never anywhere to park so we are just driving from spot to spot which is a bit daft really so we think by heading inland it'll all be a bit more relaxing and we'll swop the Côte d'Azur for Provence.