Italy 2018

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July 22nd 2018
Published: July 30th 2018
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Day 4 – Off to the airport to pick up Carla and Liam who arrived from Sicily at midday. It was great to see them walk through the arrival gate. Loaded all their gear into the car and off we went into direction of east – heading towards Chur, St Moritz, Davos and then Livigno in the Italian Alps. WOW what a journey this turned out to be. In fact we would like to drive it again as the scenery was so spectacular. Parts of the road are only open for the late spring/summer as avalanche risk is extremely high. There are beautiful lakes, glaciers, and very rugged mountains making it an incredible drive.

After passing St Moritz we stopped at a barrier thinking it was a toll booth. Turned out to be a very expensive toll to put the car onto a car train to take it through a mountain tunnel. We were laughing so much at our lack of knowledge and Liam was totally gobsmacked – just like us. So Leanne drove the car onto the train carriage as directed, set the aircon on and off we went through the tunnel for 30 mins. Saved a lot of driving and it keeps traffic moving when the roads are snowed in. Eventually arrived in Livigno Village about 40 mins later. It was good to unpack for a week and enjoy this beautiful mountain resort which sits on a river and lake. The village is very old, extremely picturesque and a popular summer spot for bike riders. A big bonus is that is a duty free village and the shopping is fantastic.

The first little highlight of our stay was having a lift from the basement carpark right to our kitchen family room. It made unpacking the car so easy. The gym and indoor pool was a real bonus for GG’s fitness levels.

Did the chairlifts, walked along the river chasing Liam on his balance bike, shopped, eat amazing buckwheat pasta which is a local dish of the region and it is gluten free, did a little bike riding, stuffed ourselves on gelati and thoroughly enjoyed the week.

The big highlight was being the support crew for Carla on the day she cycled up the Stelvio Pass riding from Bormio to Stelvio a distance of 23 kms. The pass is steep in parts, goes across meadows with cows jingling their big bells around their necks, then the road takes a really steep leap up to the high mountain glaciers at 2800 metres. Liam kept offering Carla a lift in the car which was very sweet. Carla commented that it was all good until the last 3 kms where the climbing was very intense. Her stats were 9.1kms per hour average for the 2 hours 12 min ride with an elevation gain of 1652 metres. It was tough day on the bike. After eating giant wurstel sausages at the summit we headed back to Livigno – a drive of about 1.5 hours. It was an awesome day out.

Our week of holidaying in the mountains came to an end way too quickly and before we knew it we were back in the car again for 4 hour drive heading directly south passed Lugano towards Milan and onto the lakeside town of Stresa.

Stresa is a favourite holiday spot for families from Milan and the UK. It is an old world destination with magnificent hotels on Lake Maggiore. The beautiful Bormean Islands make the lake look incredibly picturesque. The weather was hot and families were swimming in the cold water which was very refreshing.

The next day saw us catching the train into Milan for the day. We had booked a tour which took us to the Milan Cathedral, the old La Scala theatre and the highlight - a visit to the old convent church to see Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper. What a day that turned out to be. Liam was great but we did have to do a bit of carrying of our little wombat. Liam was very amused when we arrived at the Cathedral where every person is individually searched by the armed guards – even Liam!!

There is so much to see in all of these places and so little time. The theatre was very nice but it was very busy. Bussed up to the convent and finally saw the Last Supper. It is a very large mural on the wall of the convent chapel and yes it is stunningly beautiful. What can you say about a piece of work that is so exceptional. We were all so pleased to have the opportunity to see this amazing work.

Left the building trying to make it back to the railway to catch the early fast train to Stresa. Missed it by minutes and had to wait another 45 mins. We were so exhausted it was good to sit and have a snack before catching the next train. What a day we had all had in Milan.

The next day was much more relaxing. After a wonderful breakfast we had a day on the water catching the ferry boats between each of the three islands looking at the gardens, the forts and castles, the market stalls and of course eating gelati along the way.

On our final day we walked along the lakefront to catch the gondolas up to Mt Mottarone. The views over Lake Marjorie from this mountain peak were exceptional. Joined the queue to ride the luge. Eventually got our ride after 1.5 hours. Two kids got stuck and had to be rescued causing a massive wait. Ah but it was fun!

So our Italian holiday was rapidly ending. We farewelled Carla and Liam, along with Scotty, Adele and Oliver. Carla and Liam were off home to Canberra and we were off to Prague. Drove the little BMW back to Milan airport and dropped it off – not a scratch or dent anywhere. Headed to terminal to catch our flight to Prague – wondering what adventures awaited us

a final note to say we are off to Frankfurt tomorrow. before boarding a Singapore flight to Sydney and Canberra. All things going to plan we should be home Friday evening on the Singapore flight. II plan to be at coffee Thursday in 2 weeks.

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