Buying gas wasn’t supposed to be this difficult. I thought I researched the topic thoroughly before deciding how to manage it – and Campingaz refillable cylinders I thought were the answer. Once empty, they could be exchanged for full ones at hundreds of locations across Europe.
Our first problem was that Scandinavia and the Baltic States don’t do Butane, and now, in Italy, dealers have either run out of it for the winter, don’t exist or are remote.
Using Campingaz’s interactive map, I soon discovered that there were no official dealers of refill bottles around Foggia, and I wouldn’t know how to go about finding an unofficial dealer. There are however three dealers in the Naples area, and that is where we were headed. One dealer was on our direct route – just 2 minutes off the autostrada. As we approached, Clare took the prudent step of phoning: yes, they were open; yes, they did stock it; no, they had none in stock for the winter.
Stockist no 2 had no phone number, so we drove there. We found a butane supplier, but not the right one. They sort of took us under their wing and helped us. Apparently the stockist we were after doesn’t exist – the address on the website just doesn’t make sense. However, they phoned ahead to stocked no3 in some remote corner of the region, and yes, they did have the gas.
We went there – to a chandlers at the very tip of a peninsula to the east of Naples. 19 Euros for a refill, and 71 Euros for a whole new bottle. We bought one of each, so we now have 2 full bottles and 1 nearly empty one. Each bottle lasts us 3-4 weeks, so we could be carrying as much as three months gas at a time – ridiculous, but at least we are less likely to panic again when low. It wasn’t meant to be like this.
Of course, it was now late, and we hadn’t yet got to our campsite. I was really looking forward to this one, in the crater of a long extinct volcano, but with sulphurous springs. It has excellent reviews, and comes with personal recommendations. We rang at the bell, and a man came to tell us they were closed for maintenance.
We found another campsite – a grubby place with filthy washrooms, but, to the delight of Ben and Jack, mandarin trees laden with ripe fruit, and, to the delight of Clare, an open outdoor pool heated to 40 degrees. This is not an ACSI registered site, and it is not cheap – 30 Euros.
Tomorrow we move again.
Breakfast under the orange trees