Day 3 — Pietra Bismantova and La Spezia

The Plan (the whole Plan)
Day 3 : Thu 24 May : Florence for the day

We decided (no matter what the plan says) to start with a relaxing day in the countryside.  But first, a wander around Parma to find some maps and guidebooks, get Rupert's phone fixed, do some shopping (and marvel at just how cheap the wine was) and to take in some sights.

Piazza Garibaldi in sunshine.  Rupert argues with a mobile phone salesman in the background.

We discovered that Giuseppe Garibaldi was also celebrating Milan's victory over Liverpool.

Everyone else in the area was banging on about it as well...

So then we saddled Fred up once more, stuck to winding local roads, and wandered around looking for somewhere pretty.

Well, there's plenty of pretty stuff.  After a stop for fuel that was rather prolonged as we gazed in bafflement at the pump to see how it worked (we eventually worked out that you have to feed banknotes into a separate machine before it will give you diesel) we had lunch on a peak called Pietra Bismantova.

There's a lot of it.  You can't get it all in.

This place is a combination of a monastic retreat and a rock-climber's paradise.  Regular readers of our adventures will know about Mark's habit of taking pictures from the edges of precipices - well this time we decided to go one better and have a picnic on a small vertiginous overhanging rock.  You can't really tell from the picture how far we had to fall...

Picnic at hanging rock...

We ventured further out towards the coast after lunch.  Another detour was managed as David tried to go the correct way at one junction but the other three of us all shouted the wrong directions at him until he meekly complied.  Also, TomTom doesn't much like mountain roads with hairpin bends as he can't tell which way you're going, and .. well, anyway, we sorted things out in the end and headed for the seaside at La Spezia.

Steering clear of La Spezia itself (it looked a bit industrial for our bucolic day out) we found a beach at Lerici, where we did some plodging.

Patrick and Mark take a picture of David taking a picture.  Rupert is merely a klutz.

And that's about it.  Oh, but one more thing.  In the traditional manner of English tourists, we found a new use for the bidet.  No, not that...  We used it to chill the wine we'd bought earlier.  Neat, eh?

Okay, we know - we're disgusting.  Hey, we never promised anything else, did we?