Relieved and Cleaned in Giardini Naxos

The roadside sign for Eden Camping! It's got quite a bit of competition around here to be fair, hence the need for an 8' high notice.

Dave the motorhome is facing a cloud-covered Mount Etna, safely parked up among other motorhomes at Eden Parking, Giardini-Naxos, Sicily. We’re unsure how much it actually costs to stay here, as the official sign at the gate says €6 per night between October and May, while a soggy paper one seems to say it’s €10 a night. Go figure. We’ll suss it out and post the actual price in a later blog but if it is only €6 (and it was when we were here before Xmas), then it’s a bargain.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who wrote to us about Charlie, yesterday was powerfully grim, like a sickening slap. He’s fine it seems, completely unaffected by the poison and consequential induced vomiting and Vitamin K injection. The awful thing about rat poison is the fact it only takes affect after 3 to 5 days. It has to work that way as rats tend to nibble at bit of food, then wait to see if they get ill before eating more of it. We were lucky to see Charlie eating the stuff, to recognise what it was from the label, to see an uneaten package (so we could tell how much he’d had), to get him to throw it up and to have a really accommodating campsite owner who got us to the first vets to open up again in the afternoon. He’s had his Vitamin K drops from the pharmacy and, touch wood, should be perfectly OK, watch this space.

Charlie this afternoon. Blissfully oblivious of his brush with death.
Charlie this afternoon. Blissfully oblivious of his brush with death.

The weather cleared overnight, offering a tantalising glimpse of the snow-covered slopes of Etna this morning. As far as we can tell from t’Interweb, it’s on the verge of more red-glow, pumice-flinging activity. The peak stayed capped off with cloud though, and we saw nothing before the mist completely closed in during the early afternoon. Our German neighbour Peter brought round a glass of pumice stones to show us which had fallen here over the past couple of weeks, Each stone is about the size of the end of your thumb, bubble-blown like a over-done Aero, thrown about 20 miles from the crater to the campsite.

Use these bins outside the site between 8am and 8pm, and get a €300 fine!
Peter also pointed this out to us. Use these bins outside the site between 6am and 8pm, and get a €300 fine! Weird, we guess it’s to stop them holding smelly waste all day in summer. The municipal police drove past as I chucked in a bag of waste during the illegal hours, not stopping to collect our €300 though, phew.

As the sun shone, we munched on pastries laced with Nutella bought from a wee van which visits the site with bread and goodies at about half 8. Fortified, it didn’t take much inspection to note Dave was looking decidedly grubby among the immaculate motorhomes surrounding us. We pulled our fingers out, me washing off the Tunisian mud from the outside and Ju sweeping out and washing away the sand and dirt from inside. Charlie wandered about finding whichever spot looked just-cleaned and lolling about in it. He’s been seriously pampered today.

It may look like Ju's in a women's prison camp, but this place is actually a fabulous haven.
It may look like Ju’s in a women’s prison camp, but this place is actually a fabulous haven. Each pitch has its own little sink.

Once the wash-a-thon was over, I took Charlie to the stony beach nearby for an unwanted walk (he’s gotten into a rhythm of no morning walk, then kipping while we drive and a look-around walk in the afternoon, breaking this rhythm is not acceptable!). As I got back another Ape van drove past out of the site piled high with oranges, lemons and some bobbly looking fruit. Yet another Ape was parked up in front of Dave, with Ju buying a couple of fish from an icy bucket plonked in the back.

He saw off two tails and a head before we decided that might just be enough!

We ate the fish cooked in foil with sliced lemon given to us by our other neighbours, an Italian couple, who speak only Italian but somehow Ju managed to have a full blown conversation with them. They produced a couple of small buckets of pecan and hazel nuts, which we think were found on nearby trees, and proceeded to pile them high into our hands. Ju attempted to hand over Tunisian dates in thanks, but they were waved off as more nuts came in our direction  On first landing in this little campsite, it has the feel of maybe being a clique, but it’s not. We were even invited for a communal lunch again, as we were for Xmas day, but we’d already got the fish. Some folks clearly over-winter here, but the character of the place is of genuine, open friendliness, interest and and helpfulness, we love it, who wouldn’t?

The roadside sign for Eden Camping! It's got quite a bit of competition around here to be fair, hence the need for an 8' high notice.
The roadside sign for Eden Camping! It’s got quite a bit of competition around here to be fair, hence the need for an 8′ high notice.

As the morning left us, so did the sun. Rain started to splat on Dave’s roof, washing was quickly grabbed from outside and we holed up in here. We made it out for an afternoon wander around the fishing harbour area, stretching Charlie’s legs, before getting back just as the thunder and lightening started again. We can’t complain, another revelation from Peter was provided on his USB stick – photos of 3cm wide hail stones crashing through skylights of vans parked in southern Sicily a week or two back – big enough to knock you senseless. Our gas heating is on now full as the light’s failing outside, a glass of Lidl’s Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur is poured and the pooch is softly snoring. All is good with the world. Happy Friday night folks.

Sicilians would look out from this window for the approach of Tunisian pirates in times gone by. How things change.
Sicilians would look out from this lava-framed window for the approach of Tunisian pirates in times gone by. How things change.


P.S. Ju’s plan to get our 2013 ACSI cards delivered here has come good! For anyone thinking of camping in Europe outside of the main July/August season, this is a fabulous scheme, easily paying for itself in a few nights.

ACSI! Beats those flipping Camping Cheques hands down.
ACSI! Beats those flipping Camping Cheques hands down.




  1. we picked up our ACSI stuff from home (we flew home in Feb for a week)and we use them all the time, saves some money. Acsi 16 sosta 18+++euros, no contest. In Camping Luminoso at the moment we have our own private bathroom very nice.The sea washed the wall away last night but calming down now.

    • Hi guys! Jeeze, washed the wall away! Take it easy folks, stay in one piece, looking forward to meeting up, sounds like we’re on a similar route. I’ve got my Rough Guide Greece book out already, southern Italy has been mentally skipped as I recall sun-washed weeks away on Greek islands! Cheers, stay in touch and see you soon, Jay and Ju

  2. hi Both I`m glad Charlie is ok had us worried for a while.I see from your picture you have your CampingCard Acsi. we were thinking of buying too do we need two cards ? and do we need club ID membership cards.Keep up the good work and we enjoyed all three videos.we are out for the first time this year a few days in Warwick where our daughter has just completed her first half marathon.

    • Hi David

      Charlie seems to be OK, he had us worried too but we caught it early. We tried camping cheques when we first set off, but struggled to find places open when we wanted to use them – we met up with a few people with ACSI cards and bought one. We saved more on our first site stop than the it cost. You only need one discount card and it’s good for your van and the people in it. With the card you get two books and a map showing where all the sites are and their details (and all important GPS co-ordinates!). The card is generally for use out of season and the book lists the dates that it is accepted at each site, July and August the number of sites taking it are scarce, but we have found a few in more obscure places around Europe!

      They offer an ID card too which you can use to leave at reception instead of your passport. I think it might give other things too but not sure. We had one last year as it was free, but never used it. If the passport is at reception it’s one less thing for me to carry!

      Enjoy Warwick – we used to work near there and have visited the Castle – lovely place.


  3. Thanks for your reply . Warwick castle was great and we got in free because our daughter ran in the Marathon.

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