Saturday, December 27, 2014

A campground with terrorists...

How to protect your bike from a terrorist attack :-)
We had expected to find some pretty strange campgrounds in Central America and Eastern Europe, simply as we didn't know if there was a camping culture there and if so what it would be like. What we hadn't expected is to find it in Italy. Yet when we booked in on the campground in Bologna, we were asked to hand in our passport… 'Why?' we asked. The answer was astonishing: 'so that the Bologna Police can check them tonight' was the reply while he pointed at a stack of passports already there from other campers. Why does the Bologna Police have to check our passport? we asked 'It is part of the counter terrorism policy' was the reply…

A roof-top-tent for motorcycles, also handy against falling debris! 
We looked at each other in disbelief but then the grumpy man behind the counter pointed towards a brochure explaining it all. 'You have to be kidding me' I thought. A hefty discussion started as we were not about to hand in our passports, and rightfully so. An Australian passport clearly states that it is illegal to hand it over to someone else and/or carry someone else's passport, just like the US. There are a whole range of disastrous possibilities when handing in your passport, a break-in, given back to the wrong person, misplaced etc. No way are we ever to surrender our passport to anyone but a customs officer and even then we will always keep it in direct sight. The only reason we stayed is that there wasn't an alternative, but we didn't hand in our passport!

Planning the next attack... :-)
Thinking about it later we wondered if terrorists actually use campgrounds… we also wondered if there had been terrorist attacks here… One would sort of expect a terrorist attack to be geared up for maximum impact, which is not really a campground in the off-season I would think. But then again, suppose I was a terrorist… would I then surrender a passport with my true identity? Or would I use one of my many fake passports? The whole terrorist thing kept us giggling for a while though! Looking around us, all we saw was retirees. But then again, is there an age limit for terrorists? Who knows one of those campervans might be a tank in disguise... :-) The campground had another surprise for us. Free Wifi is included the website boasted. In practice that meant a voucher for 15 minutes… then you'll have to pay 2 Euro an hour… and you wonder why our blog is behind?