Tuesday, March 30, 2010

25 years ago in Europe: We meet the Italian police

It's when things go wrong on a trip that you have the most fun, isn't it? Well, maybe not the most fun, but you certainly have the best stories to tell afterwards. See this photo - that's my Mum shepherding my sister and I into a carabinieri car - yep, the Italian police. You might well wonder how this situation came about.

So, we set out from Pompeii, via Salerno, headed for Brindisi to catch a ferry to Greece. But, oops, it was May Day - we got stuck in the middle of some kind of march and got hours behind schedule. We were running low on petrol, and we had no cash - well, no lira, anyway. And this is really before the days when credit cards were normal.

In an attempt to find a solution (how to change money, how to find a petrol station that was open) we'd left our van parked somewhere in the town of Potenza, and gone on foot up the hill for help. We ended up asking the local carabinieri for assistance and they changed our US$50 themselves (presumably making a tidy profit) and then drove us back to our campervan (we had a hard time finding it!), and finally escorted us to an open petrol station. These guys were real characters - not the kind of police I'd want to rely on if we were in serious trouble - and I remember being pretty shocked at the casual way they tossed a gun aside just before I sat down on it. That's Italy.

Part of the 25 years ago in Europe series.


  1. That´s a real funny story!! Goodness weren´t they casual with the gun?

  2. Ooh yes, very casual indeed! I was quite shocked (and no doubt my mother was even more concerned!) But we survived and have a funny story to tell.


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