CHAPTER 6 - A well over due trip out to Patience.
09 December 2021
It is over a year since we set foot on Patience. I am pleased to say that it was not the dreaded Covid that kept us from sailing, but the arrival of Brecon Vaghan Rivett, born July 29th 2021. The bundle of loveliness who has stolen the hearts of the whole family.
Deciding that I could perhaps drag myself away from being the 'smitten Granma' (for a bit), Ricky and I agreed we needed a trip out to the boat to check her over, so we grabbed a cheap Ryan Air flight to Italy. Initial thoughts as we looked at Patience tied up on our marina mooring, with ripped dinghy cover, snapped internet antenna and holey, completely wrecked cockpit cover was "Oh dear." Boats do not like being left in a concrete marina in the scorching Southern Italy sunshine. Patience looked rather sad and grubby. That said, positives are; the ropes had held fast, inside there was no damp, we had heating and hot water, furthermore the batteries still had charge in them! Despite the broken antenna, the internet still worked and a quick swab of the decks, meant Patience looked pretty clean and dandy again.
As we booked a hire car from the airport for a week, we decided to do some exploring inland.
Our first trip out was to try to find the ghost town of Roghudi Vecchio. The town sits on a rocky cliff high above the Amendolea river. The occupants finally left in the 1970's, because it kept flooding. Looking at the huge dried out river bed below and learning that the town, built around 1050 by the Greeks, sits 530 meters above sea level, we wondered how this could be possible?
It was a two and a half hour drive to the town. This included a white knuckle drive up and over mountains, where we met a herd of goats with magnificent twisted horns. The one in the picture looked very surprised to see us. Perhaps he knew we would be dodging rocks from mini land falls, steering clear of gaps in the safety barriers and trying not to look at the sheer drop down the mountain side as locals came driving at crazy speeds towards us! Despite the glorious sunshine, we even hit patches of snow that had remained hidden in the shade. We prayed that the little Fiat Panda hire car would survive the un even roads. Roads that would challenge even The Stig and Top Gear team!
The trip was worth it though, the deserted town was fascinating. The whole place was a curiosity, brilliantly designed, secured to the rock, inhabited for so so many years, yet now abandoned? It felt eerie walking through the empty, narrow streets and deserted town square. The empty church, seemingly un touched by the floods, still had an alter, so consequently had a presence about it. Many of the wooden doors of the houses were left open, so we were able to go inside. This gave us a glimpse into the simple life of the residence who fled 50 years ago, as they still contained furniture and some personal belongings. As for as the Greeks who originally settled there? Why did they and how did they live? I shall need to do some research to answer that one...