PC631 Time to thank all those people who helped me in 2011 Travel : Italy
Thanking SICILY
- After a couple of days I hitched over to Catania in the east of the island to go to the CLEM meetup. Discovered city Italians are quite cliquey, but Siobhan the Irish teacher & her husband gave me a lift.

- At Syracuse I found that nice Italy has now become ugly through overtourism and overcrowded with tourists, 90% of Tourists Affected with this cancer of taking photos all the time. We had a CS meetup with a German couple, & locals : David the podcaster, Salvedori and Leonardo.

- Not only expensive, but transport is stuffed up on Sundays. Continued the circuit of Sicily. In Modica the computer wiped my memory stick, but CSer Vincente showed me around a local festival.

- Continued the circuit back to the west, transport still tricky but countryside hitching quite kind, and the strange thing of no one selling or checking train tickets on Sundays.

- Completing the circuit back to Palermo. At the campsite Lother and Annemarie would always invite me for coffee.

- Met up with Dave the Englishman who emigrated there 20 years ago, he's Palermo's main man We had a couple of good CS meetups with people like CS superhost Filiptek

- Next I continued the Sicily circuit picking a route through the castles of the centre. Leonforte. Over 2 weeks I came around the back of Mount Etna and up to the North east Corner of the Island .. Kind people in Villafranca Castle for Cultural week. Strangely most CSers didn't want to meet up. I finally figured it out : CS is supposed to be a cultural exchange site and it's against the rules to use it for dating, but Italian culture has a different attitude towards rules. So most Italian CSers see CS as a dating site, so it's generally easy for women to get hostings, but very diffcult for men or couples.

Southern Italy
- The only place I could see worth visiting in the south was Consenza a untouristed medieval town. People are particulary friendly - I met Giovanni (Italian who used to live in Manchester), I met Francesco Martorana a street actor with a doctrate, Joy from Scotland a teacher/CSer. Since the week before Easter is culture week in Italy I got to visit the ruins at Paestrum, Salerno, Pompei, Herculeum and Naples Museum for free modern Italy isn't up to much, but you wonder at the sheer skill and sophistication of these guys 2000 years ago.

- The Sparticus camping in front of the Pompei ruins was very reasonable so I hung out there for 2 weeks, meeting some other travellers like Jurga from Czech Republic and in naples another Polish man and they are both travelling like me. Saying "Italy is so expensive, walking and freecamping is the way to go"... I Walked up Mount Vesuvius with Jurga.. It's mostly dead so it wasn't as impressive as other volcanoes I have seen. By now I had a dead memory card, dead MP3 player and my new phone died

Walking the Appian Way a Roman Road

- Over Easter I visted all the places on the Bay of Naples and then started walking the Appian Way a Roman Road leading from Rome towards Brindisi and Jerusalem, like the Camino Santiago walking it is a good way of appreciating the country and the history. In the end I decided the best way of finding work was to start walking the Via Appia to Rome that way I would meet people and maybe find work opportunities. My idea was to stop off at some English schools on route, but with Italian systems that was much more diffcult than in other countries. But walking was keeping down costs with no transport or accommodation fees to pay ... One thing is you have to camp away from forests near roads (In the South Italians more often use the woods for sex than for hiking.)

- The walk brought me through some interesting areas that I wouldn't otherwise seen and into contact with interesting people. I discovered some real gems, historic sites, culture and friendly people ...those dumb tourists who read the Lonely planet (90 pages on Lazio of which 80 pages are on Rome) are really missing out ..they should get to places like Terecima, Sermoneta (with it's artist community), those untouristed fortified medieval hill towns. and places like Sabaudia the Fascist architecture towns of Mussolini , which CSer Marco and his father hosted me. I have to thank Marco for the top tips he gave me of places to visit in Lazio. Then I got an email saying that Vilma was coming over to Rome in 4 weeks so I formed the plan that I would walk to Rome go to the CS Thursday meetup, then go to the CS farm camp then do something like visit some of the places Marco recommended before meeting up & traveling with her.

- I happened to come into Sermoneta on an artists festival day and met a lot of kind people there : like Massimo the organiser and Francesco the piano composer

- Monday - the very good museum in Latina Museo Storico Piana delle Orme Wow way better than most Italian museums. Norma with it's gigantic pre-Roman walls to Cori with similar walls and temples. Through Velletri and suddenly I am above the volcano lakes of Nemi and Albano ...passing Genzano, Anccia, Albano Laziale . To another place with a Popes palace .. Castelo Gandalfo.

- Downhill and suddenly I was 20Km away from Rome and on the old preserved Via Appia Antica .I met a Dutch tourist who very kindly shares his water. He asks where I am staying. I tell him that I'll camp soon and then walk into Rome on Thursday to go to the CS meeting...He say's "But today is Thursday" ..damm somehow I lost a day !
- It's 4pm We start walking together the 10Km into Rome .. so I ended up walking it all in 1 day past lots of Roman Villas and monuments to get to the Rome CS meeting.

- There are 4 blogs ... this one travel and then I eventually edit and filter off material into
Current 502 Ideas and Opinions Blog, ideas index 2, Irrational World Blog .. but editing can get delayed a long time.

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