Free camping and free electricity!

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Day 9 (by Francy)

I wake up freezing and frustrated! My head is cold and my nose feels like a piece of ice. We had 2 degrees last night and weren’t able to heat. I just want to leave this place, turn on the car heating and drive as far south as possible.
Indeed we are packing up rather quickly and start driving south along the beach.

We still avoid the “autostrada”, or highway, as we enjoy driving through smaller and bigger towns. Unfortunately the region “Le Marche” doesn’t quite fulfil our expectations. As we drive through beach towns such as Rimini, Pesaro, Fano and Senigallia, we are not impressed at all. Much of Le Marche’s coast is lined with rather depressing high-rise hotels and apartment buildings, partly old and dirty. The beach is wide but has a rather brownish colour and especially in Rimini is made unsightly by hundreds of, what seem to be, change rooms! Yes, on the beach! Because of these hundreds of colourful box-shaped change rooms, you can hardly even see the beach from the esplanade. The train line also runs along the beach in pretty much all of Le Marche, giving it an industrial kind of look. The buildings being run down, the unattractive beach and the industrial suburbs make us change our mind and we decide to head inland towards the mountains.

I give it another try and seek out a free campsite supposedly with electricity, toilets, water and grey water disposal drains. The road inland leads us through the kind of Italy we hoped for: green hills, fields, pretty farm houses and small medieval hill towns with clock towers, fortresses and massive stone walls. In the distance we see the 20 snow-capped peaks in the Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini. The change of scenery works like magic on us.

After an hour and many wrong turns, we reach the small and pretty town of Culmorano. The campsite is supposed to be near the sporting fields at the outskirts of the town. We drive through town slowly and at the end we find the sporting fields and a small car park. No electricity, no toilets, no water. I’m disappointed and scared I’ll have to freeze again tonight. Not even a waste water drain?! ‘This is strange’, I think, when Logan says: “There were some kind of sporting fields in the beginning of town too.” My hopes are raised and I beg for it to be the place described in my Board Atlas.
Driving past a basketball field and a playground, we suddenly see a sign “Campervans this way”. Secretly hidden we find a small car park surrounded by bush, trees and high grass. An amazing view over the rolling hills and another small town lies in front of us. After an intense search around the toilet house, we find an electricity socket and after connecting the lead, we are super excited about the green switch at the fridge and a warm blow out of the heater. Free electricity?!? Really??? I thought we’d need to pay at least 50cents a night but it actually is free! A look at the toilets keeps the excitement limited but since this will obviously be our home for a few nights, I grab the cleaning liquid and start scrubbing down one of the toilets. After the dirty part is done, I’m feeling pretty good about our new “home”. How lucky are we tonight, to stay in such a beautiful and solitary spot for free and we can even heat our van! We spend the evening with researching the area in Lonely Planet’s Italy guidebook and find quite a few things to do, such as Europe’s largest cave and hiking around Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini where there are even supposed to be wolfs, bears and wild cats!

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