It was a grinding afternoon's ride, as I continued north and ascended higher up the eastern slopes of Mt. Etna. However, fortunately it wasn't an overly late one today. At around 4:15pm, I was just approaching the town of Milo — which is in the heart of the forested wilderness area around here — when I came across the campsite "Mareneve" (lit: "Sea and Snow"). My map had a single official campsite marked in the vicinity of Milo; so I assumed that this was it, and I stopped in to check it out. As with the place near Avola three nights back, I was most relieved to find that this place was actually open for business. As confucius says: "man who camp rough sleep with the cows, but man who camp legally sleep with the stars." So, since I had the opportunity, tonight I slept with the stars.
Bungalows and trailer homes at Camping Mareneve.
Camping Mareneve is a lovely site. As its name suggests, it is indeed nestled between the snow-covered upper slopes of Mt. Etna (to the west), and the beach resort coastline of Sicily far below (to the east). I guess that in times of good weather, you'd get good views of both these things: unfortunately, this evening it was extremely foggy at the campsite (although not raining), so my view barely extended 3m in front of me. The campsite is also something of a little resort: as well as homely bungalows and plenty of tent and caravan space, it also boasts a large swimming pool, a tennis / basketball / soccer court, and several picnic areas. However, at this time of year all the facilities are unused (and the pool rather green); and as far as I could tell, I was the only guest staying there tonight.
Pool at Mareneve.
Like the campsite near Avola (on Sunday night), this place offered absolutely no value for money. As far as I was concerned, they were charging a fairly substantial price (as much as some hostels), and all they gave me was a patch of grass and a toilet. I could just as easily have camped somewhere in the forest, a few hundred metres further down the road (where I saw several 4WD tracks leading into the trees), and enjoyed the same environment for free. Anyway, they did at least allow me free use of a gas stove, that was sitting on the front porch of one of the bungalows, and that was hooked up and working perfectly. Saved me a bit of my gas: and you never know when you might need some of that.