After a thoroughly restless night, we enjoyed a minimal breakfast Italian style. For a country renowned for it's food, it's amazing how uncomfortable they seem with breakfast. This morning we were given a packet each of dried crispbread 'toast' and some condiments, and of course coffee. At least it was an appropriate time of day to order a cappuccino! The kids played in the small play area while I waited to check out, also wanting to keep an eye on our passports which were sticking out of a pigeonhole at the unmanned reception desk. I don't really understand why anyone needs to keep passports - take a photocopy or write down the info. While I waited, the kids were doted on my the hotel staff and received sugared croissants which supplemented the meagre breakfast.
Jason had decided to go south rather than north, and to the opposite coastline to a place called Paestum. Renowned for it's Greek temple remains and it's beaches, he had also manages to find a campsite open all year. So off we went, after an all too brief visit to Italy's playground of Gargano, but none of us were sad to say goodbye.
The day itself was spent driving across the country, with some minor detours onto backroads courtesy of Serena. There were some lovely hillside towns and as we travelled west the landscape became more mountainous. We arrived at the campsite late afternoon which was a nice change. The site was in a little township just outside Paestum, bordering a wide sandy beach. There were pine trees throughout the site, making it seem wooded and sheltered, and it was run by an amenable old man who spoke as though his voicebox had been replaced. We chose a space that literally backed onto the sand, although you had to walk along to the gateway, and was covered in matting. This was a huge boon for felix, who is constantly getting filthy crawling around in the dirt. We set up and raced onto the beach. And what a beach! Wide, long, soft sand, gentle water. Well done Jason! The kids were in their element, paddling, jumping waves, playing in the sand. Even felix was naked on the sand crawling in and out of the sea! Lovely to watch.
After a while, I went on the Italian supermarket hunt. I thought I did well, driving all the way back to one of the larger towns, asking for and following directions and locating said supermarket. Then came navigating around the store and searching for the requires items, both challenging in a foreign country. And lastly arriving back safely from the foraging after battling dusk on Italian roads, only to be asked what took me so long!
I found Jason holding felix in front of the tent while Emily greeted me and meg was crying inside. Jason told me she had fallen over (she and Emily had tripped over each other) just now on their return from the beach. When I webt in I found her lying on the mattress crying. When I picked her up she refuses to stand and was screaming so I sat her on the table and got the light to see her knee. To my (and then Jason's) concern, it was hugely swollen, red and hot to touch. Of course we immediately thought it might be dislocated or something and should be checked by a doctor. So everyone got bundled into the car and we set off to the closest hospital at Agropoli. Meg of course yelled and cried the whole way that she didn't want to go to hospital, poor poppet. On arrival, at least we went straight through but she was absolutely hysterical while they did the paperwork and tried to put ice on it. Then they needed to do x-rays on it and again she just thrashed and screamed. I had to hold the darling girl down forcibly. It's funny how different characters the kids are. Emily I would have been able to talk with and reason with at an even younger age. Meg, although her pain tolerance is higher, gets so emotional and irrational there's no talking to her. You just have to wait. Her experiences of hospitals and doctors has not endeared them to her, poor thing. After a lengthy wait, during which no one came to see or check on us, we were finally given the all clear by the night shift dr. He said it was a bad contusion and to rest it and ice it (ha - good luck!) but there was no break. Thank goodness. Surprisingly, the last doctor was the only staff member who spoke any English! It brought new understanding to being a patient while not speaking the language. And, though the care was sufficient, I wouldn't want to have anything go seriously wrong in that place!
So instead of the home cooked meal I had planned, it was takeaway pizza by torchlight after a very stressful evening.