Civitavecchia / Orbetello

Look at the picture to see what would have expected us if everything had turned out the way we planned it. August 13th really was an unsatisfying day. Our plan was to spend a couple of great days in the Tuscany. The beautiful postcards of this area made us want to explore it. While in all other places it was no problem at all of getting a spot on a campsite with a two people tent, this one presented a huge challenge on our patience.

Orbetello; I don’t really remember seeing this
Orbetello; I don’t really remember seeing this

We got off the train in Orbetello which was, supposedly, a very nice town in the heart of the Tuscany. It was a small train station. There was a stand that sold tobacco and travel guides. The woman behind the counter gave us a brochure that listed all campsites around that area. We checked the bus schedule, it seemed there were half a dozen busses a day. We had enough time before the next bus would leave so we called a campsite to check if spots were still available. [Later on, we were told that this was a mistake] They didn’t have any spot left, not even for two people and a small tent. We called the next site on the list, same thing. Next one - exactly the same. Our telephone card was all used up when we had called about half of the campsites in the brochure. I went to buy another card from the woman at the stand. When I tried to use that card it didn’t work. I told the woman but she just said there was nothing she could do, I should contact customer service. We used our last change to call the remaining campsites. All full.

We couldn’t believe this. It was getting late in the day and we didn’t have any place to stay. There were two Dutch guys with a cell phone. They thought they could handle everything with that phone but they ran into the same problem. We decided to take the train to Civitavecchia. We didn’t know anything about that city but we hoped they’d have a campsite. The next train came late because of some track problems. When we arrived in Civitavecchia, everything was already closed. No tourist information, nobody who could help us. We checked our interrail guide to see what it said about Civitavecchia. It said: “Civitavecchia is quite ugly, an industrial city, and not really worth visiting unless you want to take the ferry to one of the islands.” That didn’t sound good at all. We found a map of the city. There was exactly one campsite at the very other end of the city. That day, only one bus was left that went there and we would have had to wait for another two hours. A decision had to be made. Take the bus to that campsite, risking that it’s full again. Take the ferry to an island. Do something completely different.

We sat there for a while, trying to think. Finally, we came to a decision. The ferry wouldn’t have been an option. It was not included in our ticket so it would have been expensive, and we didn’t know where we would have gotten off that day. The campsite was too far away and we didn’t want to stay in this “ugly” city. We decided to get on the train again and go all the way to Rome. We wouldn’t stay in Rome, however, but take another train (the night train) to Brindisi.

The tracks weren’t fixed yet. Again, the train was late so we arrived in Rome at about 9pm. There were lots of people trying to attract tourists to campsites. We refused and sat down somewhere as our train to Brindisi was going to leave at 11pm. There we were, sitting on the dirty floor of the huge train station in Rome for two hours, watching people come and go. The train eventually arrived and we were about to have our worst night, right after our worst day, on our way to Brindisi.