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ian81
07-02-2011, 12:51
For those looking for an alternative to Portugal next winter you could try Sicily.

We are 2/3 way round the island -day temperatures have been between 11 an 24 and at nightly rarely drops below 5. Some rainy days but mostly sunny like today -parked in a small fishing village overlooking Etna. Some sites are open but it is easy to park and water readily available.

Broadband internet via a 'key' (on mobile networks) 20 per month.

David & Ann
07-02-2011, 14:03
Hi Ian, What is the ferry cost from the main land to the Island. Single and the return on an open ticket.?

John H
07-02-2011, 16:42
Can certainly vouch for the fact that Sicily is a great place to over-winter. We spent two months there over Xmas about five years ago and had a fantastic time. The ferries go from Reggio to Messina, take about 20 minutes and are continously operating so there is no need to book. I think it cost about 30 euros return for us and the motorhome but it may be a little more now. If you go, don't forget to drive up Mount Etna - fabulous.

ian81
09-02-2011, 10:54
...ferry cost was about 75 -open return for up to 9m.
Talking to a German couple here they did Genoa / Palermo for 370 return. so probably cheaper to do that and avoid costs of motoring down and back.
We decided against that as we are going to do Puglia after crossing back to the mainland next week.

grath
10-02-2011, 16:42
...ferry cost was about 75 -open return for up to 9m.
Talking to a German couple here they did Genoa / Palermo for 370 return. so probably cheaper to do that and avoid costs of motoring down and back.
We decided against that as we are going to do Puglia after crossing back to the mainland next week.

I went via Reggio to Mesina with a truck, some big hills on the way down from Roma and overnighted under Etna on the way to Gela and did the whole south coast road back to Messina
I then went across to Puglia for a reload and the white houses with their round roofs look great.
Have a great time.:cool:

vanmandan
20-11-2011, 16:10
I'm wintering in Sicily this year instead of Greece.(it might sink !)
Took the ferry one way from Genoa to Palermo, 7.5m. van & me cost e132.
Minoan wanted e500 for the Venice - Patras ferry.
from what I hear , prices generally have skyrocketed in Greece.
My 1st trip to Sicily & am mighty impressed. Friendly people , beautiful scenery.
Wildcamping definately NOT a problem.
Have found this website very handy :
Review of Sicilian campsites Spring 2007 (http://www.langdale-associates.com/sicily_2007/postscript/campsites.htm)
Prices very reasonable, i.e. vodka e4.49 ....e10 in Greece.
deisel e1.57 , LPG readily available.
.... & the grub ain't too shabby !!!
(possible understatement of the year. )
Having a lovely time , wish you were here.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
(sing along , if you're old enough to remember the Roy Rodgers theme song.)
Carry on camping, VanManDan.

barnybg
27-11-2011, 15:45
Great,Keep us informed,as i have been watching the European weather from my base/house in Bulgaria,and although i love it here,it gets cold from now on,and the bug (travelling distant shores beckon)
Being in Bulgaria the milelage or kms is huge for me to attempt Spain (weather not so good anyway) or Marocco,but surprisingly Italy has come up trumps so far,being still around 20c !! and i guess (like you ) think the further ' down' you travel,like sicily the better the weather,whats the temp there at mo ?
For me,it would be approx a 10 hour drivetothe Greek ferry to cross to Italy,down on the bottomof the ' foot' not sure of the milage then to the next ferry to sicily.
Please pass on any news or info,as i may attempt this trip next winter (if the weather there stays enjoyable )for me Dec till March would be ideal.

ian81
27-11-2011, 18:02
Hi Barny

This year we are wintering just south of you in Greece. Arrived 4 days ago -weather sunny -drops to just above freezing at night.

barnybg
28-11-2011, 06:18
Hi Ian,what part of Greece ? Kavala or further over ? whats the temp there in day time,as its around 10c here and approx 0c at night but soon to snow and drop further.
I usually holiday in them areas in May.

ian81
28-11-2011, 07:24
Hi Barny

East of Kavala currently at Fanari. Sunny days up to 12 deg. Will spend a few days around here before heading back to Kavala and then down to Halkilides.

Athens for Christmas, then island of Euboea followed by a couple of months in the Peloponnese.

BearHug
28-11-2011, 08:03
Hi Ian,

Great place, friendly & some fantastic scenery.
You will not regret doing it.

We were there this time last year, arriving back in the UK to the snow, wondering why we came back?
Have a look at our blog here, it maybe helpful:

Vera & Brian Follow the Sun (http://verabrianfollowthesungodra.blogspot.com/)

Cheers
Brian

barnybg
28-11-2011, 09:04
Check out Nia Ariklitsa if your near there,theres a Lidl's there,also the next village along (cant remember name ) but as you leave Ariklitsa up and over the steep hill,garden centre on right,further down on left,is the turning for small port and boat yard,where fishing trawlers and a ferry moor up,anyhow theres a toilet block there,where you can empty,also a fresh water tap,to fill camper...
I never use the motorways as theres so much on the small coast roads,and you end upmissing somany fantastic hidden places.
If you use LPG ,you can fill up at Xanthi,as there are so many Bulgarians travelling the new opened border (Xanthi- Zlatograd) that the petrol stations in that town now stock LPG at the pump (not all ).
This is the border crossing i now use,as the camper i had converted to run on LPG (as ALL Bulgaria uses LPG ) so much cheaper for me to come into Greece that way,than all the way round via Alexandropoli/Svilengrad ,as i have yet to find LPG any where else in that part of Greece.
The route/road to/from Bulgaria Xanthi/Zlatograd is a long uphill zigzag road,with just enough room for two way traffic,lorries or large vehicles are not allowed across this pass.my 6 berth motorhome was just under the limit/size.
Please let me know of the weather and where you are at the time,just how far 'down' into Greece,misses the bad weather,i might pack up and drive down before the snow hits ELHOVO (Bulgaria) :)

Northerner
28-11-2011, 14:50
We're going to either southern Spain or the Algarve for a month in January/February. I can generally avoid mountains for this trip so previously I've never had a problem with snow. Looking at the route from Calais to Italy, which I've done in summer, I wonder what the potential problems might be when crossing Austria for instance?

I can second Sicily being a very interesting place. I went some years ago on a mountain-walking holiday and it was super. We stayed near Taormina and climbed Etna and also visited Syracuse and the catacombs. Fascinating.

I could be quite tempted to go to Sicily instead of Spain if I knew that I won't have to buy winter tyres or chains!

grath
28-11-2011, 14:54
Me too, I would love to return with a M/H rather than when I was time limited with the Artic.
It's a bloody long way down through Italy though, with a few big hills:scared:
Watch out for the drivers, I found that they would sit behind my trailer and only overtake on blind bends:scared::scared::lol-053:

ian81
28-11-2011, 17:21
Check out Nia Ariklitsa if your near there,theres a Lidl's there,also the next village along (cant remember name ) but as you leave Ariklitsa up and over the steep hill,garden centre on right,further down on left,is the turning for small port and boat yard,where fishing trawlers and a ferry moor up,anyhow theres a toilet block there,where you can empty,also a fresh water tap,to fill camper...
:)

Hi Barny

Was there and stopped overnight no probs 3 nights ago.

As to Sicily for those worried about snow -drive to south of France and take the mway to Genoa and get the boat down. Probably cheaper to sail than drive.

Northerner
28-11-2011, 17:46
Hi Barny

Was there and stopped overnight no probs 3 nights ago.

As to Sicily for those worried about snow -drive to south of France and take the mway to Genoa and get the boat down. Probably cheaper to sail than drive.

Regretfully my wife won't have it! Last year we went Portsmouth Santander in early January and it was so rough the furniture in the cabin was falling over. We had eighteen hours of violent seasickness and I've promised her that there'll be no more long sailings.

It's also occurred to me that the obvious route is through Germany and Austria. In Germany in winter the law stipulates that you must have winter tyres (at least I think it does). Although you may not be stopped and your tyres checked, if you had an accident I wonder how your insurance would be affected? I'm hoping that someone will come along soon and tell me what the conditions are likely to be if I went from Calais to Sicily.

barnybg
28-11-2011, 17:57
Northerner,try reading ...............magbaz travels or vera and brian follow the sun travelers with motorhomes that make interesting reading,although not perfectly accurate (as no one is ) or you miss things,never the less brilliant to help you plan or explore before hand,i only wish they regulary posted the weather/temp .

John H
28-11-2011, 18:06
The most direct route from Calais to Reggio (where you get the short ferry to Sicily) is about 1500 miles. To avoid the mountains, go via Province and take the coast road into Italy - distance about 1600 miles. We did it (in reverse) in February/March without any problems but you can never say for sure that you won't get snow even on the low route.

grath
28-11-2011, 19:16
The direct route that I went with the truck was Calais via Chambrey, Frejus Tunnel, Turin, Rome, and then down to Reggio.
I used Frejus as the truck was carrying petro chemicals for the refineria at Gela.
This I think is quicker than going via Ventimilia on the coast road.
If you like tunnels, the coast rd is for you. I tried to count them once but gave up as just too many.

grath
29-11-2011, 07:47
Regretfully my wife won't have it! Last year we went Portsmouth Santander in early January and it was so rough the furniture in the cabin was falling over. We had eighteen hours of violent seasickness and I've promised her that there'll be no more

This reminds me of when we were going to Turkey, untill Kath watched the film Midnight Express. Took me ages to get her to change her mind:scared:
Regarding ferries. Ben on quite a few rough ones during my trucking years. 24 hrs from Pompi to Cherbourg. We were supposed to dock at Caen but after several aborted attempts the skipper gave up. Others include through Biscay and another was Caen to Pompi when some of the chains broke that secure the trailers down, resulting in the trucks sliding around and banging into each other. This was on a freighter and you could see it happening on the top open deck.:scared:
Another involved ambulances at the arrival port driving up the ramp to collect passengers who had been seriously sea sick.:scared:
Luckily, I am a good sailor:boat::boat:
What experiences and memories:lol-053:

grath
29-11-2011, 08:05
Ian81
Hi looks like you are having a great time over there:wave:
I have a question. have you any experiences of Mafia activities? I am guessing that you wouldn't and they don't get involved with tourists, unlike the commercial trucks.
When I went there with a truck, I teamed up with another two UK trucks only a few miles before the ferry port at Reggio and we drove into the port together.
Two guys dressed with the ferry company name on T shirts and base ball caps were waiting near to the booking office and guided us to a parking location directly outside the office door and then they asked for our papers.
They escorted us into the office and after we had paid cash for the ferry they then demanded money from all three of us for their help which was negligible except for walking alongside us.

They wanted what equated to 90 of EACH of us and obviously this resulted in a row as we refused. This was going on in the booking office and all staff were very clearly aware what was going on and asked us if we wanted the Calibinari (spelling) police to be called. What would be the point as with them not hiding their demand it was obviously quite normal and just another Mafia extortion activity.
Anyway, we decided that it was better to give a little rather than none and then we could sleep happily when we were on the island without any worries of their brothers paying us a visit while we slept. Don;t forget, we would be on our own as we were going our separate ways.
We negotiated it down to what equated to 11 each which we did consider a result.
On my way back home, I was in a service area just north of Rome and I was talking to an Italian trucker, he asked where I had been. After telling him, he told me that it was quite normal and we had done well. he wouldn't even go near the place.
But that was quite a long time ago and I expect that things may have changed.
An experience that I will never forget.

BearHug
29-11-2011, 08:24
Grath,

It still goes on!
It happened to us earlier in the year. We arrived confused where to go to book the ferry & out popped a casually dressed guy guiding us where to park & where to buy the ticket.
He then asked for 10's for his help. I jumped out the cab, bought a ticket from the kiosk, ignored him & drove off to the loading area.
Fortunately for us he pounced on another arrival.
Luckily no consequences.

grath
29-11-2011, 08:41
Thanks for that, at the time we thought they were official with them dressed in the ferry companies colours and very blatantly not hiding their activities from the ferry company.
maybe we were a little green, I don't really think so as we were all used to the runners and helpers at border crossings as for years with customs it was a normal activity.
Maybe they had just refined it into perfection.
Were yours dressed in ferry company colours with all the logo's?
I think with a truck it is a little different, maybe more serious due to the cargo value and o/n parking security or lack of.
Thanks for the info

BearHug
29-11-2011, 09:10
Graph,

No, the guy that approached us was dressed casually with no apparent company link.
Maybe just trying it on? We had pulled up next to the ticket office.
We played the English card, 'sorry don't understand' & walked up to the counter.

John H
29-11-2011, 09:40
I know this is nothing to do with Sicily but it relates to the current discussion about attempted scams. We were driving from Romania to Bulgaria and about a couple of miles before the border we were flagged down by two blokes wearing what seemed to us to be police uniforms (although it was in the open country and I couldn't see any sign of a police car or any other means by which they might have got there). They claimed I was not displaying the correct vignette in the window and the fine was 1,000 euros. I laughed and told them I always check the rules of the road whenever I enter a new country and they were wrong. After a couple of exchanges, the "fine" came down to 100 euros! Now I knew for sure that it was a scam (they might have been police but if they were they were corrupt police). As I drove off they shouted that I would find it more expensive if I waited to be "fined" at the border. Needless to say, I got through without anyone questioning what I was or was not displaying in the window.

The moral? Even if they are in uniform (and indeed even if they are police/customs/whatever) it doesn't mean you should trust them without checking. If you haven't looked up the rules beforehand but suspect a scam, then say to them that you'll happily pay the fine/penalty/charge but you want to speak to their superior first, so if they'll accompany you to the police station/customs shed/whatever you will pay whatever is owed. You'll be surprised how fast fake policemen can run!

vwalan
29-11-2011, 10:06
hi, this sort of thing is frequent in spain and morocco . they can be real police or guardia but they do try it on . never pay on the spot fines with out going to a local police station. never let your passport or driving licence out of your hands either . its yours not theres . show it but dont hand it over. there are corupt police every where . here as well. never let them bully you.

grath
29-11-2011, 10:16
Yes had them in Spain myself and refused to pay. Had me at the side of the road for ages insisting one thing or another was wrong, went through everything, but that time I knew that every little detail was in order. Luckily this M/C cop got an urgent message and had to go. I expected him to start smashing headlights.
Also very unusual to have one on his own as normally in pairs.
Over the years I have had what seems like hundreds of pulls, checks for this, checks for that. I always had the orange hazardous plates up and when these are up, you very rarely pass a check without having a tug.
Then they want everything. 2 weeks tacho's, cmr, passport. all veh docs, all the safety equipment. France is just as bad if not worse as we are English, you know what I mean.
The Red caps are the honest ones in Spain, you are either right or wrong with them, just like the Germans.
Good fun int it!

edit.
Just remembered another genuine one
Had me at the side of the road for about 1 hour at Vivonne on the N10 just south of Potiers (France). Intent on fining me as I had the orange plates up while carrying empty tanks. He could not understand that the empty tanks were dangerous although they had inflammable residue and lots and lots of fumes.
In the I asked Kath to come out and flash her eye lids at him! (this was a while ago) lol
It worked, but he insisted on me removing the orange plates. WE compromised and I put a cross through them.
On our merry way and removed the crosses a couple of miles up the road.
Even had one check about one mile before a M/w split and lo and behold, another a couple of miles after the split. Full monty checks, both!!!

grath
29-11-2011, 10:50
Another genuine one.
Driving from Caen and on entering Sees the town with two spires there was a M/C cop standing by the traffic light control box, opposite the railway station if anybody know it.
As I approached, he turned the lights to red and there was no way I could have stopped a fully freighted truck, so I just ignored it and drove through.
He soon caught me up and that cost me 90 francs. Not a lot you can do, ok some would say refuse and go to the cop shop, but when you are on a tight schedule its not really worth the hassle, and in anyway, you would not win!
One hour delay can cost an extra day by the time you have done a full run as some deliveries would then be carried over to the next day.


SORRY SORRY SORRY we/I seem to have hijacked the Sicily SORRY SORRY

vanmandan
02-12-2011, 11:37
Presently 22C here on the south coast .....
loads of folk swimming & sunbathing.
no point in listing wildcamping spots here ....
they're everywhere !!!!!!
I'm parked up at Camping Scarabeo for a couple
of months. 7euros a night + .25 per kw elec.
small wifi charge.... I went for 15euros for 100hrs,
Scarabeo Camping (http://www.scarabeocamping.it/eng/index.html)
super helpful owners.
& they have pizza & lasagne on tap.
I'm directly facing our private beach 100yds away.
What's not to love ??
I'm the only Brit here, loads of Krauts & Dutch......
so if you're down this way.....stop in for a beer.

ipcel
09-01-2012, 19:10
What's the weather like today in Sicily?
On our way down from Matera where we may as well have been back home in the lakes, cold and wet.

alanval
20-12-2012, 17:10
On Sicily just now..Ferry cost 98 euro return to Messina from Villia S Glovanni. Done the Mount Etna .Lot of snow on way up stayed overnight in the car park 10 euro ... We were the only people there.. Went up to Enna Tried to get to the other end of the town could`nt get past through the road .Lovely churches there... But absolutely freezing cold.The weather has been really cold even had hail last night at Sciacca. The people are lovely very friendly.But the towns and villages are horrendous to drive through.No problem wild camping no one interested in you... Not seen any British vans at all about 3 Italian and 1 Dutch about as many as we saw in Greece,I think from Slovenia through to Greece we saw about 5 Motorhome`s spoke to one English couple in a car ...Some beautiful places to see here really interesting place.... I did think the temperature would have been higher. however we have enjoyed it ..Lot of Campsites closed for the winter, some look like they have been closed for a long time..The Sostas we had most don`t exist or are closed found a few that were open.... Val

alun145
26-02-2013, 19:16
Hi I tried looking up the Ferry from Genoa to Palmero, the prices were around 619 return (out mid March ...back mid April) tries via booking agency ... Is this a correct / best price?? Seems a lot more than in the quote... Any advice greatly appreciated. Cheers
I'm wintering in Sicily this year instead of Greece.(it might sink !)
Took the ferry one way from Genoa to Palermo, 7.5m. van & me cost e132.
Minoan wanted e500 for the Venice - Patras ferry.
from what I hear , prices generally have skyrocketed in Greece.
My 1st trip to Sicily & am mighty impressed. Friendly people , beautiful scenery.
Wildcamping definately NOT a problem.
Have found this website very handy :
Review of Sicilian campsites Spring 2007 (http://www.langdale-associates.com/sicily_2007/postscript/campsites.htm)
Prices very reasonable, i.e. vodka e4.49 ....e10 in Greece.
deisel e1.57 , LPG readily available.
.... & the grub ain't too shabby !!!
(possible understatement of the year. )
Having a lovely time , wish you were here.
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
(sing along , if you're old enough to remember the Roy Rodgers theme song.)
Carry on camping, VanManDan.


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