So after an absolutely manic 10 days with no time to blog, things started to fall into place; Swimming Times articles submitted just about on deadline, drinks reception arranged, new passport arrives (with 48 hours to spare) and after a 17 hour day in the office, at 12.10am on Saturday morning finally escape from work, I reckoned I'd covered enough of the contingencies that were likely to arise in the next 10 days to enable my liberation;
I arrive home, pack, 4 hours sleep, (well almost) make it to the airport to catch up with the Karate Kids, Sumo and Judo, and leave a very wet and rainy Newcastle for the (initially) wet and rainy Adriatic coast of Italy. Chilled drive down to Riccione from Venice and en route we are struck by the realisation that none of us has had the presence of mind to bring the details of where we are staying!
2.30pm hit Riccione; navigation entirely on instinct and the combined intellect of Sumo and Binge (which might just scrape into double figures) surprisingly delivers us to the pool without any difficulty. Of course yet again none of us have brought a copy of our registration or any of the other bits of paper we might require, but no worries flash the new passport recieve accreditation and we're in, a very painless process.
Next stop the British Drinks Reception a hastily organised but very successful couple of hours at La Spaggio del Cuore, catching up with the other Brits out here. Then back to the pool for a swim, mental note to self, it's never great swimming after a couple of glasses of Prosecco and a beer or few, but successfully road tested both pools (mainly the outdoor. An inspired choice of time to swim as the pool was pretty quiet and the sun was setting; it made for an atmospheric early evening dip.
After a spot of dinner, the challenge of finding our accommodation. Smartphones to the rescue and having located the address off Facebook, tried to input the address in TomTom on my ipad (I'm giving away my gadget geekiness here) without success. No option but to navigate from a two inch iphone screen of google maps in the dark.
Sadly my eyesight is not what it was and Farneto and Farreto look very similar under these conditions, but are crucially quite different! The Karate Kids were extremely tolerant and patient but even they were exhibiting signs of anxiety as I took them off the road and up a dirt track which climbed a very steep hill.
Praying this wasn't a dead end as there was no way that we could turn the car around on the dirt track without ending in a ditch; and reversing down the hill in the pitch black would be an entertaining experience, and probably wasn't a realistic option. At the top of the hill we found a metalled road but realised we were hopelessly lost.
Expecting locals to speak English in rural Italy was probably always a bit of a stretch although we managed to understand "I haven't got my glasses" as we tried to show a native dog walker the address on the iphone. Anyway to cut a long and increasingly boring story short we stopped, turned round to retrace our steps and saw a sign for the Villa, (right at the top of the dirt track. So check in, bed and a straight 10 hours sleep bliss... just that 800 free tomorrow to worry about.
800 meters mixed outdoors
4 x 25's dive in outdoor pool
1 x 50m in the indoor pool
2 x 25's for dive indoor pool