Saturday 11th June.
We survived the ferry trip with no slips and falls. In fact we slept through most of the crossing as we boarded at 11.30pm and arrived at Ancona yesterday at 2.30pm. Off the ferry, through the town and on to the motorway. We usually avoid motorways but we need to be in St Etienne to see our daughter as soon as we can and the Italian toll roads aren't too expensive and at least the road surface is ok, unlike a lot of Italian A and B roads. Another reason we don't usually use toll roads is the entrance to the toll booths is really narrow, I have but a few inches either side. So far we've had no mishaps, other than clouting the wing mirror a couple of times but yesterday disaster struck, well the van was struck actually, a bump on the plastic just in front of the habitation door, grrr! It's not too bad, nothing a bit of fibreglass repair won't sort out but it's irritating. 125 miles later and we were in Castel San Pietro Terme in a free car park (44.39795 11.59341) with spaces for motorhomes overlooking some tidy allotments. I wonder if ours back in England looks anything like these.
We walked up to the town in the late afternoon and bought a spinach and cheese bake from the bakers for supper, very nice it was too. This morning we walked back up and explored a little more, it really is a lovely little town. We did some food shopping and everybody we met was kind and pleasant and forgave our non existent Italian as we pointed at meat balls and given the advice to add no salt when cooking. Chicken and zucchini burgers? Don't add salt to those either! An exhibition of paintings and sculpture where the artist spoke no English but called a couple of passers by over to translate but they didn't speak English either. No matter, we conveyed our thoughts on the beauty and originality of his work.
The parish church in Castel San Pietro Terme:
This morning we headed off for Piacenza, using the toll roads again but avoiding any further damage to the van. Nice big free car park, (45.05032 9.68613) opposite the police station (we like parking near police stations for the extra security we feel it gives us) and after frying up our meatballs, with no extra salt, we strolled down the pedestrianised streets with the other Saturday strollers. We window shopped, and shopped, and then came to the main square -