Bella, Humphrey, Ben, Sasha, Millie and Sam Nokes have been marvelous hosts to me for the last couple of days. As well as the amazing hospitality, the time spent going over the plans, washing Batty, learning so much about Switzerland and the Alps has been grt fun and a great launch pad for the trip on going.
View from their back door...
Left Champery after a fine breakfast and given a big farewell from clan Nokes. The joy ride trips the evening before on Batty, with riding hats and ski helmets adorned had gone down a treat with Ben, Sasha, and Millie. Their enthusiasm for all things Batty was most touching.
All the wiser, the suggested drive up the Rhone Valley, surrounded by vineyards, was a special morning. Then to have the slow but spectacular chug up the 2000m to Simplonpass with the snow topped peaks just moments away, made even the expense of the rather ordinary sausage that I had for lunch at the top forgivable.
Batted down the other side into Italy . I have spent little time here before and am sure it is a place to share, rather than as a lone traveller. So I may crack on through, taking in the odd site.
I had read about it, but it took a bit of time to sink in, what the made up girls at the side of the road waving at the drivers were. Hitchhikers dressed like that? And so many all of a sudden. Then it clicked that these were the desperate victims of horrid events and circumstances in Africa manifesting themselves as prostitution on country roads in North Italy.
4000 miles rolled onto Batty's clock towards the end of the day.
Philippe was right about Italian campsites being crowded and expensive, €13.50 for the night and crammed next to the chatty, movie watching neighbours, makes for a different experience to the almost empty €8 French sites.
There was I thinking that the sun would only shine now that I was in Italy, all night it rained and I lie on my re inflated sleeping bag/ mattress combo in the tent at 8.30am, waiting for it to ease enough to break camp and head for Pisa. Luckily I am reacquainting myself with a Neville Shute novel 'Requiem to a Wren' which is so charmingly and well written the kindle pages afresh at a great rate.
First night's setting in Italy, Lago di Virerone
Rain subsided and had a magical drive through Piedmont country side. Zigzagging for endless miles. Garmin the Great took me on fabulous roads through the likes of Gavi, a favorite Italian wine of mine and then to the north of Genova.
My picnic lunch views
Camped at a very over grown campsite that was more akin to a wildlife sanctuary. When I left at 7.30 in the morning the poor hassled proprietress, had she spoken English, would have been quite clear about her thoughts of having to get up to let me out. Had I spoken Italian, I would have given her a thought or 2 of my own about the smelly loos and the flea bites that were a gift from her non stop barking dog...
Having enjoyed fabulous roads yesterday that took me to the heart of the countryside, it did however take a lot of time and the miles were not very direct, so today the Garmin was reset to include 'highways' and as a result got to Pisa at noon to spend an hour or so wondering at a wonder.
Then on through Tuscany, which it had to be, if the number of UK license plates were to go by. What a fabulous landscape, and deserves a prolonged trip, but not this time...there is a world to see first.
Spot the rainbow...after a vicious down pour
Siena is now, and the campsite is 5 star. Clean and tidy, grt showers and internet to boot. Dining at the Alla Speranza in the Campo, trying to imagine a barebacked horse race....I wanted to say that having seen their driving, I could understand the mad mindset, but so far the French have won that prize.
I have been putting my friends to an awful lot of trouble over a silly SIM card. I have a paranoia that if I loose my phone, I will be incommunicado and lost. Firstly 02 have sent a duplicate for activation in the event, but of course to my London hse. Jacqui DHL'd it to Bella in Switzerland, DHL could not find the address (I could, with ease) but they could somehow today.....this had Bella running around all over Switzerland so that it could be forwarded to a depot in southern Italy for me to collect. After all that, if I don't loose the phone, I will be a real time wasting numpty.