Antichi Casali

A view of the camperstop as campers were arriving.  By the time they were all there it was wall to wall campers.

A view of the camperstop as campers were arriving. By the time they were all there it was wall to wall campers.

When we arrived in Rome one of our goals was to find an inexpensive campground because apparently everything in Rome is expensive. The campgrounds that were open were all pretty expensive and some of them were way far out – on the water – or full. We decided to stay at a camperstop which is oftentimes no more than a gravel parking lot with electricity, water and dumping. Sometimes they have wifi and a bathouse but the basis for them is they provide the minimal services needed for a camper. That’t perfect for us and they are inexpensive. We found one in Rome that had wifi as well. It was a noisy parking lot where people stored their campers but it was fine with us. The wifi was probably the best we had come across on our entire trip which made Madison very happy. The problem was the owners thought we were too big and would use too much electricity. After two nights they finally decided we could stay but they would charge us for two spots even though there was no other camper there. We felt very unwelcomed and not happy about being charged double so we used the wifi to investigate alternatives. Turns out there were several camperstops around Rome so Kay and I went driving to see them. We knew that they all probably got full over the Christmas holiday so we were anxious to have a spot prior to the onslaught of campers.

We drove to a small town just on the eastern outskirts of Rome, Lunghezza. It was easy to find and easy to get to. We spoke with one of the people in charge – a very nice woman named Sabrina. She spoke a little English and we were able to show her a picture of our rig and explain what we were looking for. It was like we were her family! She welcomed us, showed us where we could stay, invited us to Christmas dinner and was wonderfully hospitable. Kay and I went back to the other camperstop, packed up the kids and the camper and immediately relocated to Antichi Casali. The wifi was sketchy at best but the hospitality was just what we needed. Madison was furious with us for about 24 hours but she got over it.

Our hosts for Bingo night and at the camperstop!

Our hosts for Bingo night and at the camperstop!

This camperstop is operated by a camping club and one particular family seems to be in charge. They have a large party tent permanently set up with tables and chairs, an extensive sound system and dance floor, fooseball and a bar area. Every night between Christmas and the Epiphany they had nightly activities planned and invited us to participate. The day after Christmas they specifically invited us to Bingo night and we said we’d come. We went to the tent about 9 pm but nothing was going on yet so we went back to the camper. We decided to go to bed but that was not to be. About 9:30 there was a knock on our door with people telling us that Bingo was starting. Kay and I went to Bingo night and were the guests of honor. They had us sit at the front table and introduced us to the entire crowd. I didn’t know they were doing this – they were speaking Italian – and I kept looking around to see who they were clapping for. it was quite funny. When Bingo started they called out the numbers in Italian and then the DJ would say the numbers in English just for us. The Bingo card was not like any I had ever seen so I never knew if we actually had a Bingo or not.

A Bingo card unlike any I have ever seen!

A Bingo card unlike any I have ever seen!

I kept hoping they would let me win but that didn’t happen, and I really like to win. There was one man who won four times! People came over and rubbed his back for good luck and they finally gave him a bench to sit on instead of just a chair in order to accomodate all his prizes. There was much laughing all night long and people were very kind to us. After two long rounds we did say goodnight and got to bed about midnight (which is quite late for us!) The next night was karoke and I told them we would not be participating in that. But, about 10 pm there was a knock on our door inviting us to come over. We were already in bed so we got out of that even though we could hear every performance from our bedroom. Movie night is coming up but tonight is a New Year’s Eve party with music and fireworks.

As usual, we needed to fill our propane tank again so we prepared to go out and do that. We asked the guys from the campground where we could go and they wanted to see our tank and our adaptor. After about 10 minutes of fiddling with our adaptors and looking at the tank they said to wait and they went to get something from the office. They drove over with their car, opened the trunk and worked to hook up our tank to their car, which runs on LPG. What they did was hook up our tank to their LPG nozzle. Then they drove to the gas station and had the tank filled as if they were just getting their car filled up, then they brought it back to us. Again, the kindness of strangers gets us through this trip. They wouldn’t take anything for their help (we did pay for the gas). We want to get them a nice gift to give them before we leave – we’re thinking a bottle of Jack Daniels – they seem to enjoy whiskey as we saw during Bingo night.

For the time being we are staying in Rome at this camperstop. We’re actually kinda trapped here. When we arrived they parked us in the back and since then the lot has filled up with about 65 campers. There no way we can get out even if we wanted. That’s fine with us. We’re slowing down and seeing Rome. We’ve been out 4 or 5 times into the city and have several more outings planned. It’s wonderful to be in a comfortable place where we are so welcomed. And with the loud music playing every night I know all the words to YMCA, Mamma Mia, I Will Survive, etc… you name a party song and I probably know it!

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Posted on December 31, 2013, in adventure, European travel, family travel, fireworks, Italy, Kindness of Strangers, Rome, RV travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. That’s another great story! Trapped and hearing YMCA et al every night would be a little slice of purgatory for me,( it’ll be playing in your head for a month) but what a nice, friendly group of people. Maybe less wifi and more human contact is a blessing in disguise, but don’t tell Madison I said that.

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