italy: land of cheese and road tolls

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August 4th 2015
Published: August 4th 2015
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Hot. That is the word to summarise today. That and cheese. After a hot but air conditioned night in Nimes, we left by ten and headed on our way. Thanks to a slight misreading of Gert the Google maps girl, we took what I thought at the time was the shortest trip on a toll road, all of about one km ( mercifully free) but were then back on our way down the French med coast. It's a lovely drive through more vineyards, and beautiful towns ( if I'd known Arles looked like that we'd have stayed there instead) and onward towards Monaco. Once over the border into Italy, having made some of the best time for any journey so far, we went through a toll booth, went round a couple of corners and then went out of the toll area. Safe to say this won the award for shortest toll road journey ever. And this one cost four blinking euros. So, Italy wasnt off to a great start but it was at least stunning. And hot. We found somewhere to park, got our stuff and went to find the b and b. And we looked. And looked. In the boiling Sun. After having walked past it several times we finally found it with the help of Gert who literally talked us to the doir and got the actual nicest welcome of any hotel ever. But no air con, just a big fan and a lot of hope. Two showers later we headed for the beach and a search for food. It's a lovely beach with loads of places to eat on sunset boulevard so we sat outside one of them and waited. Five minutes passed with nothing, no waiter, no menu. Turns out in Italy no-one eats out until seven when the place comes alive. After ten minutes of being sat there someone did come to tell us this ( I'm guessing after spending the preceeding ten minutes laughing at us from inside!!) we began the search for somewhere else, stopping for a bowl of ice cream then a drink on the beach. All pretty lovely. And cheap. And in a worm hole. All that took just an hour. And we had two drinks. Too hot to roam much more, we went back to the hotel for a doze. I nipped out sometime later to a supermarket for more water. I think I'm now the first and only brit to enter the carre-four in ventimiglia, forget to get a basket, pile numerous things on her arms, drop some of them, stand in what appears to be a queue, realise the Italians do not have British queuing genes, get scared, retrace steps to put stuff back, leave shop in a hurry, maybe crying a bit. Even when we went back later the queuing situation was ridiculous but at least there were less people. Honestly, Italians might be able to teach us about tasty food and the art of a good cheese counter but we should teach them how to queue. We ate at a very nice restaurant. Antipasti ( good, meat, cheese) pizza ( great, cheese, lots of) and carbonara (amazing) which came served in a parmesan crisp bowl. Yes, a bowl made of melted parmesan. This is how all food should be served. Well maybe. We could feel our arteries furring up with each bite but man was it good. Waddling out with our food babies we headed back to the beach in search of a sea breeze. Whilst drinking our random drinks ( I wish I knew Italian) the waitress brought over some food, apparently it's 'gratis' great, more food!!!!! A wander back to the hotel saw some serious street country dancing on the main sea front road , live accordian music and a closed road ( which explains why they were towing cars when we got there). A more successful shop visit and we're back ready for a sweltering night


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