Day 208 to 211 – Marina di Caulonia

The weather has been mostly sunny with temperatures in the mid teens. On Thursday we drove back into the National Park and parked high up where we could see the Mediterranean on both sides of Italy’s foot. We ate lunch in the van as it was cold at that height, with Meg running around outside.

something was up – Meg was barking. I got out of the van to see a drove of about a dozen pigs, several quite young, rooting there way along the roadside.

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They looked domestic, but that was a puzzle – what would domestic piggies be doing wondering about at over 3000 feet in the mountains?

Later, after a walk, we met and chatted to some Carabinieri, they suggested boar. They didn’t look like boar to us. They also told us about a “family” of about 20 wolves in the sector where we were.

We saw very few other people, but we did meet two other pairs of Carabinieri who both checked our identity. And possibly two further pairs, though they may have been the same. It could be said that the hills were swarming with Carabinieri. They were probably on wolf protection duties as local farmers will illegally hunt, kill and display wolves in villages. That then suggests that the piggies we saw were wolf fodder. But that is odd as the wolf population is healthy and stable, and there is no reason to feed the wolves. A more sinister possibility is that the piggies were released by farmers to lure the wolves into a trap. Of course, the most simple explanation is that they were just escaped domestic pigs.

On Friday morning we had a phone call. Clare’s father had a fall and had broken his hip. We spent the morning debating what to do. Options included us all driving back to the UK – Google maps suggest Calais is just 22 hours away; two drives of about 12 hours. In the end we found a more sensible solution. On Sunday we drive back to Catania. Clare takes a direct EasyJet flight to Manchester then hires a car and goes on to her father near Ashbourne. I return with our two boys and Meg to the house in Calabernado and sit tight for a week with the secure large garden. Clare returns the following Sunday from Manchester.

Prices are surprisingly reasonable. Clare’s flight is £80 return, car hire £50. The house is €25 per night plus €50, thus eight nights is €250.

We will stay in the house on the Sunday of Clare’s return to Sicily, then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have a leisurely drive to Brindisi and our ferry to Greece.

As for Clare’s dad, he has had a hip replacement operation and is recovering well albeit in considerable discomfort.

Islam, our Bangladeshi host on our campsite had taken pity on us and has given the boys a crate of oranges.

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Tonight we watched the sunset.

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And Meg has come into season and has a persistent following of stray suitors who she is flirting with outrageously. I’m glad the garden in Calabernardo is secure.

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