We had packed the day before, so were ready to leave early. It was just as well we had, it was raining when we woke and the tent awning would have been unpleasant to pack.
Our sat nav is set up to give us three route options: fastest, cheapest (least fuel) and shortest. Nearly always two of the options are the same, or nearly the same, route, with the orange route (shortest) being different. Not on this occasion: the three routes were all very different, with just a few minutes time difference between red (fastest) and blue (cheapest). We chose the cheapest route.
The sat nav took us back into Italy and past a VW garage. We stopped and they confirmed that our battery wasn’t fully charging. However, to replace under warranty, yes, that’s right, to replace under warranty, they would need the van with the battery in-situ for about 24 hours. Apparently they need to follow a certain protocol which involves leaving the battery charging for 8 hours, and then running certain diagnostic tests to understand why the battery is not fully charging. We were not prepared to leave the van with them for 24 hours, so we went on our way.
To start with we were on good free autostrada, this soon became a mountain pass, and as we climbed and the rain continued I began to regret not asking for snow chains in the VW showroom, but the rain persisted and the snow held off as the temperature fell.
The road to Rome was long, over 4 hours according to the Sat Nav, delayed by 90 minutes at the VW garage and a further 45 at a supermarket. It was 6.30pm when we finally arrived at our campsite, raining heavily and cold. We were tired. I went to reception and was told by the receptionist that they were closed. I didn’t have the wit to find out what ‘closed’ meant, it could have meant a variety of things, but I suspect it meant “I’m off home in 30 minutes and I just cannot be bothered to get out into the cold and wet to show you to your pitch.” Why would a receptionist be there if the site was closed for the season.
There are three ACSI registered campsites around Rome open year round and offering the Camping Card off season discount. We drove to the second on our list, closer to town, but lower consumer reviews. We asked for a chalet for four plus dog, and they had one 54 Euros plus 10 for the dog. We were beyond caring over the price, and took it. A single large room with four beds and a bathroom. No fridge or even a kettle. We had to eat in the campsite restaurant – another 40 Euros. But we all slept well.