Driving Back

So here am I back in Italy feeling rather schizophrenic - it's very strange, this shuttling back and forth between different cultures, languages and weather.   This time we drove, so that we could collect my car, since Neil's ancient banger has finally come to the end of its life.  Mine isn't even vaguely new, but it's newer than his!  And it also meant that I could bring out lots of bits and pieces for the little house in the olive groves to make it more home-like.

This time we took an overnight ferry from the north of England to Belgium to avoid the long, frenetic drive down the length of England.  These ferries are amazing - like floating hotels - so big I couldn't get it into just one shot, or even two.

We went to sleep somewhere off the coast of Yorkshire and woke up in Zeebrugge - trying (as we're both nervous passengers!)  not to remember the terrible ferry disaster there some years ago. 

Then the epic drive - down through Belgium this time (the toll roads are cheaper than in France), through Luxembourg and then Alsace - sometimes in Germany, sometimes France and finally Switzerland, opting to go over the St Gotthard pass which was still snow free.

It was getting dark, and we were very tired, but with grotty hotels asking 140 euros for a basic room without services, decided that we'd just drive on.  It would have been nice to see the swiss lakes in daylight, but that will have to wait for another trip.

After the expense of Switzerland (11 euros for a macdonald's burger in a service station!)  it was a relief to cross into Italy.  Where else would you get a motorway cafe selling the complete works of Kafka, Darwin, Pirandello and Garcia Lorca?

We reached Pietrasanta in the early hours of the morning and left the car still fully loaded while we fell into bed.  It's taken two days to recover, but we're very glad to be here and our two wild cats - Batcat and La Grigia were very glad to see us too!


  1. Thank you for a beautiful description of an trying journey.
    Your photo of st Gotthard's pass is amazing!

  2. It looked really atmospheric - like a setting for a vampire movie!


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