View from the rock Falesia delle Silenzio

Finale Ligure and Italian Espresso

Originally it was meant to be a short trip to the UK. But when I already travel to Europe from Asia on an ineffective and cost-intensive level, why should I not spend one or two months in Europe? Eventually I received an offer which I could not refuse. Traveling with the camping bus for one month and climbing in Europe! A dream came true, as I’ve been speculating for a long time to buy a bus myself. Beginning of November I war driving with Alina towards the Mediterranean. Lotte, the baptismal name of her bus, was packed with camping gear, climbing equipment and blankets. The weather in Europe was mixed and rainy, but we tried to find our happiness in Italy. So we drove to one of the most famous climbing areas in Europe.

Already since the 60’s, Finale Ligure, with its limestone cliffs on the Mediterranean coast, fascinated countless climbers from all over the world. Finale Ligure consists of the localities Finale Marina, Finalpia, Finalborgo and Varigotti. In Finalborgo, however, we felt the most comfortable. The place had a small historical town center without any car traffic, small streets with shops and restaurants and several outdoor and climbing gear shops. On rainy days we liked to go the Italian cafes for a “Cafe solo”.

Finale Ligure experienced a boom in the 1970s and 1980s. Alessandro Grillo is one of the climbing pioneers of the region. At the age of 13 he started his climbing career. Around 1968, he and his friend Gianni Calcagno began to explore the rocks of their homeland and make the climbing accessible to the world. Other pioneers are Vittorio Simonetti, Gian Luigi and Eugenio Vaccari. It is said that they did so with mountain boots. The popularity of the area continued to rise. Over the years they and other climbers have opened up many new rocks and set routes. In the meantime there are over 2000 routes on more than 25 rocks. The popularity also led to the fact that many routes are now very polished – to our disadvantage. The rock, however, offers plenty of variety with countless slabs, ridges, pockets and sinter-like structures. Before we could get bored at all, our fingers and arms would have been tired or the rain would have hit us.

That is the unlucky part of our trip. There was way too much rain! Unfortunately all over Europe, so it seemed illogical to escape to the Verdun Gorge in France or to Siruana in Spain. Instead, we drove for 2 days to the Cote d’Azur and to Monaco. The rain followed us though. Therefore, we decided to drive back to Germany after three weeks.

Many may think traveling with the camping bus and camping in the wild is dangerous. We were not blue-eyed. In the run-up, we were concerned with security measures against burglary and theft. But ultimately, you can not protect yourself against all eventualities and we decided on the usual methods of safety: carefully choosing our accommodation and parking space, covering everything, not leaving valuables in the car and preparing for a quick escape at night. Ultimately, we had no problems in Italy and usually we had other neighbors with camping busses. There was almost a community of busses, even if the weather was too cold to make intensive contacts.

Austria, however, was our doom. We were robbed. It took some time until we realized it, but then everything went quickly. It was rustling and swoosh, the chocolate was gone! A little grey mouse had gained access to Lotte and found our emergency supply of chocolate. A disaster! Our happiness hormone level sank for the next hours in the basement, especially since we first had to take care of the leftovers of the burglar – nature‘s call. But we learned from it! From now on we’ll eat the chocolate immediately!