Left Tortoreto Lido and spent the majority of the day driving with the plan to stop if anywhere caught our eye. Much of this part of the SS16 coast road was mainly residential/industrial and with the weather not being great we didn’t fancy stopping for a beach day…
After passing Ortona we decided to search for a stop to have a shower and empty our toilet and found somewhere preferable in Lesina. On arrival we were greeted by friendly staff and there were spaces available so we parked up and got chatting to our new neighbour (a German bloke travelling Europe in his motorhome) and met the other neighbour too – a little stray dog we soon attached ourselves to!
We also met a guy from Coventry who now lives in Lesina and told us a few things about the area in addition to the issue of stray dogs here 😦 Most evenings he goes for a walk and two dogs he has befriended follow him round!
Our radiator fan in the van had become a bit of a problem and wasn’t turning on properly… Luckily Tris got to have a look at it on the site before it chucked it down. We had planned on having a look round in the evening (the guy from Coventry gave us a couple of places to check out) but unfortunately it turned pretty grim outside so we had a night in.
Weather had improved by the morning and an added bonus was a free chocolate doughnut each from the camperstop owner (it’s the small things!). Settled up – only €12 for the night with facilities included and in a great spot near the town and lake too.(www.lesinaturismo.altervista.org)
Drove through the town and managed to find a hardware store where Tris managed to buy a switch (hand gestures helped to get what we needed!) to create a “chicken switch” for the radiator fan. Not only would this make the fan work it would allow us to have more control over the vans temperature.
After taking the SP40 into Park Gargano and then driving on the SP41 between Lago di Varona and the Adriatic Sea we found a great little spot past a place called Rodi; next to the beach on the SS89 road. Spent the afternoon in the sun – Tris fitting the switch and Zo sunbathed (and occasionally made a drink – gotta keep these working men happy!).
After the fan was tested once more before clearing up,we left on a search for a spot for the night. Took some crazy roads near Peschici – steep with hairpin bends and a spectacular view of the white-washed houses that hang on the cliffs.
We took the SP52 towards Vieste; beautiful coastline but unfortunately it’s taken up with many hotels and campsites (all of which were very quiet at this time of year – bit like a ghost town!). Drove through Vieste where some sort of festival was being prepared for- people everywhere, decorations all through the town and funfair rides set up!
Taking the SP53 out of Vieste we still had no luck finding a free wild-camping spot until we stumbled upon an absolutely beautiful spot on the SP54. Upon the top of a cliff, looking out to turquoise sea and a few trees to keep the van out of direct view – perfect. Photographs don’t do this place justice…
Watched the sunset before dinner and afterwards we gazed at the moons reflection on the water – no light pollution here so you could see every star as well.
With such a beautiful place we couldn’t leave without watching the sun come up as well..! An early start just before 5:30am but was definitely worth it! Made some drinks and sat watching the sun come up over the ocean and fishermen setting out for the day.
Left our little spot around 8am (could’ve stayed forever!) and carried on the SP54 – stunning road which overlooked the sea and had some great little bends to test the van out… However the van wasn’t loving the journey as much as us… Reverse gear had already been giving us a bit of trouble and the problem was now starting to affect the other gears too. A couple of times Tris had struggled to change gear (deer running out of us didn’t help either but was an incredible moment!) so we decided to pull over in Mattinata after 4th gear got stuck…
We decided to post the issue on the VW T25 (T3) Club on Facebook – if you own one of these vans the people in this group are incredibly helpful! (www.facebook.com/groups/6420509300/) We also contacted ‘Marck’ who had contacted us a couple of weeks back inviting us to a VW festival in the north of Italy – he seemed pretty nice and we decided as he actually lived in the country we might be able to find some suppliers through him if anything needed replacing.
We got out of 4th gear and took the SS89 to Manfredonia where we spent the afternoon at another commercial centre – Tris had some emails/work to sort, the oil needed checking plus we could keep an eye on responses regarding our gear issue! We befriended a few more stray dogs in the carpark whilst having some lunch in the sun (Tris even made them a bowl out of an old plastic bottle – softy!)
We heard back from a few people on Facebook as well as Marck and after some messaging back and fourth he’d very kindly ordered the parts to his house (around 400 miles away). Our original “plan” had been to get as far south as possible, however with this problem becoming worse, we thought the only feasible option was to take it slow and steady,be careful with gear changes; stop in a city/town where the Mille Miglia passes through and then get to Marcks, fix the problem and enjoy the VW fest problem free!