The best bit about wild camping is the freeness. Free to wander off the beaten track and find a place with a stunning view for the night. Free then to build our own fires and cook on them. Free to pee in the bushes. Free from the little microculture of campsites with their rules and their people. But best of all free of charges.
The last time we booked into a campsite was a fortnight ago in Alberbello where we stayed for Vonny’s birthday amidst the Trulli of Puglia. Since then we’ve been shown round a couple of abandoned farms to get used to terms of negotiation for when we find the place we know we want to buy. Stopped off to see one of the many sweet towns built around ancient cave dwellings. Nipped up to the Castel del Monte 12th century octagonal masterpiece. Passed through Minervino which had the best vibe. Kipped in a lorry park paying a short fat bloke with a big torch a few euros for our protection. After being impressed by the largest medieval fortress in Europe at Lucerno we headed deep into the Gorganno mountains and baked out first cake in the motorhome for Vonny’s delayed tea party. We’ve also bought sugared almonds from the home of confetti at the original factory in Sulmento (I’m sure Von and Ellie will tell you more about later). We’ve seen the little old ladies dressed in traditional black in Sconno, where we took a walk in the hills and bathed in a fresh mountain stream fountain trough, usually used by flocks of sheep passing to drink.
This week in Campotosto has been so relaxing. As each day heats up we take a plunge for a swim and cover our bodies with the silty mud washed down from the various mountainous tributaries that feed this lake, man made in 1939 because it was over farmed of peat. The mineral rich mud instantaneously rejuvenates your skin. I reckon a tub of it would set you back £50 in London. And another £50 for someone to spread it on you. More freeness. Love it. In the afternoons we’ve taken a couple of long bike rides, the first return trip of 23km to the town. A bench mark for the kids. Now they know how far they can ride and just how good your body feels when you finish exercise like that. Evenings are spent gathering vast quantities of wood (and tea smelling grass packed dried cow poop) for the fire on which we cook then watch until it eventually dies out late into the night. Last night we gorged on a huge bbq of meat and salad and the essential toasted marshmallows and realised (thanks to Joshua’s playing with fire experiments) that if you burn the end of your marshmallow stick in acts like a sparkler on Bonfire night and you can make all kinds of patterns in the darkness when you whiz it round fast.
Next we’re off to Tuscany to see our dearest friends from London Anna and Simon, Anoushka and Hatti currently holidaying in Cortona. Hopefully popping into Assisi and Perugia on the way. It’s a tough life this. And one I’m getting quite attached to already.