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Saturday, 27 June 2009

Because there's something in the air



You may be surprised to read that Italy smells wonderful: Everywhere we have encountered amazing fragrances. At a campsite on the edge of the Dolomites there was a sweet perfume we could not identify at first; we tracked it down to the walnut tree laden with fruits. On the Gargano as we cycled in the heat of the afternoon, the roadside smell of lavender and rosemary would waft past us. Walking and camping in the woods the scent of pine is often strong and the beech woodland has a warm earthy smell. Sasso Marconi campsite had an aroma of mint in the warm evening air. In Gubbio we were pitched opposite a newly mown hay field. At the huge salt pans south of Manfredonia we could taste the salt in the air, more than smell it. The marvellous fragrance from the bakeries makes you want to go straight in and buy fresh bread and pastries and the sweet smell of ripe cherries, strawberries and tomatoes linger in the van after we have been shopping.

In the Dolomites we are reminded that one of the good things about camping is being in the open air and enjoying fresh smells after rain. At 1,200 m above sea level in Cortina D’Amprezzo the air is cool and the weather is unpredictable. However, the pink, craggy Dolomites are spectacular; looking like giant coral reefs and here Italy very gradually merges into Austria.
Our first morning here was spent completing chores: Carol fixed the cushion cover with the broken zip, while Anthony used his technical skills to mend the tap, which was mysteriously running when we flushed the loo. When asked what he’d done, he said he had no idea, he had simply taken it apart and put it back together again; this will be familiar to his ex-colleagues at the Uni.

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