Saturday, August 13, 2011

The cost of Italy.

It is quite a shame to sail in a country with so much to visit as Italy and to not spend any time doing so. That's pretty much what we did and the reason is very simple; the cost! Upon our arrival we stopped in a small town in Sicily where we could anchor but the waves where untenable and we had to leave shortly the following morning. We then crossed the Strait of Messina, which separate the "boot" of Italy with Sicily and were heading for some islands north of Sicily. Unfortunately the wind didn't allow us to sail in that direction and we had to turn east toward a small town called Bagnara Calabra where anchoring was not possible and we had to take a slip at the marina there. This is where we realized that Italians have completely lost their mind on how much things should cost. The so called marina, which was nothing more than a slip in a harbor, had no facilities to speak of and in a real world we should have paid about 15-20 Euros per night. Well they were asking 100 Euros!! This is $145.00 per night for a slip in a crappy harbor not a luxurious room in a 5 stars hotel! Weather was very bad and we had no choice but to stay. I argued with the guys in charge and managed to get it down to 75 Euros per night but this still was completely out of the realm of reasonability. Anchorages being quite limited in Italy it became very clear to us that we had to leave this country as fast as we could before we were forced into bankruptcy.

Even though our stay in Italy was very brief we still had the chance to see a few things worth mentioning. The first picture shows a boat used for swordfish fishing that we crossed in the Strait of Messina. Let's just say that I really wouldn't like to be the guy at the top of the mast! While waiting in the most expensive marina of our trip for a proper weather window we walked in Bagnara Calabra for shopping for food and to try an authentic Italian pizza. The first one was quite fruitful as if marinas were out of price food was either reasonable or cheap. We found the biggest red pepper we had ever seen and delicatessen was fairly cheap at least compared to what we pay in Canada. Cheese especially was very cheap and we could get our hand on a kilo of parmesan for 8 Euros and a brick of Swiss cheese for the same price. Cheese fondues here we are! As for the pizza we've never been able to find any. The problem is that people around here close their businesses between noon and an undetermined time late in the afternoon. So both days we went to the village around noon just to find all restaurants closed. Other than that we are moving west to reach the Baleares Islands in Spain where we know things are expensive but many anchorages are still possible in what many consider the most beautiful place in the Mediterranean.