Of Ants and Rainstorms

Today I’d like to share a post that I wrote last week from Fiuggi, Italy. We didn’t have wifi at our campsite there, but boy did we enjoy our time. We went there directly from Venice. Why were we in this famous spa town? Not for the water!

Rather because it is right near Acuto, Italy. A beautiful hill town about an hour outside of Rome, and also the place where Andrew’s great-grandpa grew up. We spent six days camping in Fiuggi and were able to visit both Acuto and Rome. It was really pleasant to have a home base to do day trips from, and we would certainly recommend the campground Eurocamping 2000 which had hot showers and a pool!

What follows is an account of our first night there, in no way indicative of the beautiful weather that we enjoyed for the rest of our visit!

Written on our 2nd day in Fiuggi:

We pitched our tent on top of an anthill. In our defense, it was raining and we’d just completed a long day of travel to the town of Fiuggi. We’d started the day in Venice, from there to Rome, then a train to Anagni, and finally a bus to Fiuggi. From there it was a short walk to our campsite just outside of town, but luckily close to the bus depot.

All was well, we had some trouble explaining in our broken Italian that we’d like to stay with our tent for six nights, and no we didn’t have a car. Luckily, the young man at the desk knew some English, so between the three of us we worked it out. As we walked away from office towards the tent area, the heavens opened up.

We increased our pace. At this point in our trip, Andrew and I have pitching our tent down to a science. We hurriedly chose a spot under a sheltering deciduous tree with broad leaves and after erecting the tent, threw our backpacks inside.

Expecting sunshine, we didn’t bring the sort of camping gear that we would normally bring for Washington. We had very lightweight sleeping bags and not even a tarp. That was the most hilarious thing. Any other time, we would have been well-prepared. But when you’re carrying your home on your back for 5 weeks, you leave everything behind that isn’t absolutely necessary.

As we discussed whether we should just find a hostel for the rest of the week, Andrew pointed out the ants all over the ground under the tree and crawling up our tent. When we glanced in the tent we could see that the sleeping mats we’d thrown down were already quite damp, and more water was dripping in. That decided it. We would just stay for one night. We booked it through the rain to the office to register for the evening.

Andrew told the very nice guy at the front desk that we would probably only stay for one night. He was confused, “because of the weather.” I tried to say in Italian, but it probably came out a garbled mess. “Ah, but we have a gazebo,” he replied. He explained to us that we could pitch our tent under the gazebo for the night and his friend even offered to drive us down to it. Bless both these young men, a thousand times over is all I can say.

After we moved our tent into the gazebo, which usually functions as the camp common area, we were feeling considerably more positive about the whole thing. And we got inside just in time. Thunder rumbled through the campsite and monsoon-like sheets of rain came pouring down (see video), creating small rivers down the paths of the campsites. All of this was considerably more entertaining now that we were  high and dry. There was even a television.

We settled down for the night and woke up to a sunny day. According to the weather report last night, it should stay sunny for the rest of the week. Andrew has already made friends with several of our neighbors and I have befriended the lady next door. So we are feeling considerably more settled.

Also, it is beautiful here! (Especially when it’s not raining through your sieve-like tent) On the bus ride in we could see all sorts of farms and vineyards. We are in a more mountainous area and the vistas are amazing. Tomorrow we hope to go to Acuto. As I write this, I am listening to the gentle hum of cicadas and Andrew is taking part in the traditional afternoon reposo.

One last thing. I’m pretty sure that Italy is home to my all time favorite conversational gesture. I’ve mostly seen ladies do it, but that’s probably because I mostly start conversations with women. They kiss their hand and wave to you at the end of the conversation. It is the sweetest, nicest feeling ever. I love it. Do you think I could get away with it in the states?

This entry was published on August 6, 2012 at 9:25 am. It’s filed under Travel, Whether Whatever Weather and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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