Fortunately, unlike the paradise in the Eagles song, this paradise hasn’t been over-developed and ruined. We’re staying at the campsite with the best view we’ve ever had, from our pitch we can see over the tumbling roofs of the small village of Barrea and across the lake, around us are mountains topped with snow, it is beautiful. Strangely, we have this paradise to ourselves, even the Dutch haven’t found this fantastic spot. The only downside is the toilet blocks, they are specially designed to get no sun and consequently have their own micro-climate that is approaching freezing, so we shower quickly.
We are in the Abruzzo National Park and there are walking routes for everyone: Today we have walked up to the atmospheric Lago Vivo, we walked through beech woods with aquilega and primula flowering in the clearings and emerged to a carpet of wild crocus around the lake and a splendid view of the highest mountain in the park.
Driving in Italy has not been as traumatic as we were led to expect. Yes, they do drive as if attached to your towbar, but this may only be so you have no doubt that they want to overtake. On the mountain roads they do have a tendency to take the racing line down the middle of the road and you have to have the nerve to assume they won’t hit you and will move over. Many of the roads are in a very poor state and are hard work, others are a mastery of engineering, winding up mountains through tunnels and on roads hardly attached to anything stable.