Thunder and lightning, good food, great times!

The lightning struck at about 2am. The deafening snap woke me up. Now wide awake in my tent and waiting for the next strike, I was temporarily blinded by the bright light and instant crack right next to me. I reinflated my punctured air mattress to provide some insulation from the soil below and lay there waiting for the storm to pass, rain and wind smashing against the tent. We survived the night with little sleep.

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An epic sunset from one of the few campsites which we were lucky to find open. Storm brewing…

The locals claim it has been the wettest year since records began and the olive crop is a disaster. We spent two nights with Dominic and René on their olive grove near Diano San Pietro and had the chance to dry out, forage the local hills and eat some great chow all with a splash of their own homegrown olive oil and herbs from the garden. Such great times and an epic welcome to Italy.

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Dominic right at home in the forest.

Some of the roads along the coastal cliffs were closed due to rockfalls so at times we were forced to backtrack and take alternative routes which meant some epic climbs, beautiful views and sharing the road with professional cyclists doing their off season training. Campsites were mostly closed. Some for the season and others shut by the police for safety reasons so options were limited.

Warmshowers and Couchsurfing came to the party. We stayed with Felicia, Arne and Perla, the latter two being aspiring cyclists and the other has an exercise bike in the lounge. Arne was preparing for a trip to Egypt. He reckons that sunglasses are a fashion accessory and he asked for some advice as to whether he should pack swimming or diving goggles to keep out the desert dust. Arne, if you’re reading this please send us a photo and we’ll do a special report about your trip.

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Great to catch up with an old friend Yvonne in Ventimiglia. 94, very fit, wise as ever and an epic sense of humour.

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