Tuesday, 15 May 2007

8th May - Parma

8th May
Bergamo to Parma

Arrival in Parma 48339km

I'd collected Bruce from Bergamo airport late last night. I arrived there slightly early, so sat in the car park and waited for his flight to land at midnight. When I went back in to the terminal building around ten past, he was actually walking towards me, but I didn't see him straight away, since I wasn't expecting his flight to be through baggage collection yet. That, and he'd cropped his hair off, so I was expecting to see a mohawk and instead got a number 1....

We headed back to the camper stop and sat chatting until about 2am, which is well past my bedtime on this trip!

The car park / camper stop in Bergamo was already full at 8am and I began to gorry that we were going to end up hemmed in, so when the car in front moved out, I grabbed my chance to get us out of that spot and go fill up the water tank.

We left around 11am and travelled down mostly non-main roads towards Parma. So 'non-main' in fact that one of them wasn't even surfaced! I don't know what that Maisy one is thinking sometimes......

WE found the camper stop in Parma without too much bother, although it's kind of hidden in a car park next to a sports centre. Basically, it's just 7 dedicated motorhome spaces marked out in the car park plus a service point for emptying tanks and filling with water, but it serves it's purpose fine. One thing I've noticed so far is that the Italian camper stops aren't as well developed as the French ones I came across, in that the French ones generally have a separate parking area purely for motorhomes. Anyway, they are still ok, and free which is always an added bonus.

We did a small bit of grocery shopping to get some stuff in for lunch, at the shopping centre just across the road, Centro Torri, then aferwards headed in on foot to find Parma city centre, which was about 3km away. It was basically a straight line in towards town and we found it no bother.

I was very impressed by Parma. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but what we found was a city with lots of trees and nicely spread out on both sides of a river. It has quite a 'studenty' feel to it and lots of people were hanging out in cafes in the late afternoon sunshine. The weather was glorious. I reckon it must have been in the high 20's in the afternoon, but with a nice breeze to just take the edge off. We walked around the periphery of the centre, then cutting back in through the middle streets and branching off into some of the side streets. We stopped off at a small tapas bar and had some drinks and do a spot of people watching.

They have trolleybuses in Parma, which make hardly any noise, but you need to be careful or you could quite easily get run over!

Later, we ate dinner in a nice restaurant in one of the Piazzas. The food was ok - not breathtaking by any stretch of the imagination, and a slight let-down prehaps from what I had expected of Italian cuisine. It was fairly reasonably priced though.

By the time we were heading back to the van, darkness had descended, but it was still pleasantly warm and quite comfortable still in shorts and t-shirts.

Tomorrow the plan is to head for Pisa.

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