“Just One Cornetto: London to Sicily in a Small Motorhome” by Keith Mashiter is a good read for people who love Italy and travelogues. The first chapter hooks you and you avidly read on. The author and his wife Gail, follow in Dickens’ footsteps as they move around Italy, from the Alps, via Sicily and into Calabria and down and around the “toe” of Italy. The journey from London isn’t described, but there is a brief mention of the drive back through France, so the title is a little misleading.
One wonders how they actually coped being holed up in a “small motorhome” for several months, but suppose they got out and about despite the bad winter weather.
There are some mouth-watering moments as the food they eat is mentioned, although perhaps there isn’t as much description as there could be. However, the book was not meant to be a gastronomic one.
The descriptions of the places they visited are very evocative, and Mr. Mashiter certainly understands the use of adjectives, bringing scenes vividly to life.
The intrepid travelers were warned by Aldo, the ninety-year old ex-wild boar hunter that “Beyond Rome, Italy is another country.” This was in Radicofani and Aldo, although he can no longer hunt, gets the heads of boars to boil. After doing that he removes the tusks and mounts them for the young generation of hunters. Aldo is just one of the more interesting characters they meet on their travels.
I loved the sentence a “police car drove the wrong way down the road, just to show that he could.” This, for me, sums up what happens in Italy and occurred en route to Naples.
The campervan narrowly escaped being damaged one windy night in a campsite in Noto when a tree branch fell, and they suffer from anxiety after reading the dire warnings to be found in guide books, but nothing overly dramatic happens to them.
The book takes us through Sicily and up Mount Etna, whose slopes are described as “what I imagine a South Wales slagheap would be like.” Unfortunately, in a way, there aren’t many of those left in that region!
If you like reading this type of book, then you will love it. Buy a Kindle book for only £2.98 from amazon.com, or the book for £8.99.