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Published: March 26th 2009
It was ciao to Rome. Time was a valuable commodity and later that Sunday afternoon we set off towards the Adriatic Coast of Italy. Unsure of how far we would make it, particularly as we were all a bit jaded, we decided to play it by ear as to our destination for the night.
We headed east along the motorway in a bid to reach the coast before dark, pulling over solely to stock up on paninis and use the rest room. I have often thought that if I owned a motorway service station in Italy, then I would make them all sell antique pine furniture and swords. It seems a bit off an odd thing to have at a service stop i´ll grant you. That is however, exactly what we stumbled across on our first stop. Oh and he sold crisps too....well I suppose it makes sense after all, yuo´re bound to get a bit hungry when you´re carving a table with a cutlass!
Our journey took us through snowy mountain ranges and winding roads with tunnels, one of which was 10km long. It felt like we were testing the latest BMW or Ferrari on
Well no trip to the seaside would be complete....
without a ride on the Pedlo! (Safety first, these two weren't ready for the water!)
Top Gear, except we were in a Skoda estate car.
Darkness was upon us ( not the long haired banshee in a catsuit variety!) and so we decided to stop in the small coastal town of Guilianova for the night. By now, we were all exhausted. After a celebratory beer and some food we called it a day. Just so you know, after not drinking for nearly three months, the beer could have been a Fosters and it still would have tasted great!
9am. The legs & eyelids felt heavy as we rose from our slumber. As we made our way outside we were greeted with sunshine and a mild 15 degree temperature. Definitely t-shirt weather, though I´m not so sure about the shorts and flip-flops that Ben was sporting.
We mooched up and down the beach to have a look about and get the legs going again before hitting the road. The plan was to head up the coast towards the fair city of Verona. Or ´Shithole´ as Ben called it. I can only assume this was in reaction to his comments of ´well it is...anything to do with that Shakespeare bollocks!'. Funnily enough, as we
passed through the small town of Pesaro we saw a sign stating that it was twinned with Watford. Bet you can´t guess what Bens less than complimentary comments towards this town were.
We deliberated over the route several times. At times we stayed on the coastal road as the scenary was more interesting and there were no expensive tolls. When we got bored of the 45mph speed limit, we jumped back on the motorway. It´s said that Italy is a nation of great lovers. Whilst that might be true, they are also incredibly adventurous lovers. Every single town and small village we drove through, advertised a sex shop, by way of a sign at the roadside. Some even had two or three! This is in Italy! The pervy B#ds! I have to say, the sun was shining, Oasis and then the Cure came on the radio...the only thing that would have made this trip better was a panini in my hand!
It was late by the time we reached Verona and realising that we weren´t going to have any time to see the city we opted for a hotel on the outskirts. Rich had been driving for about
six hours and sitting bored in the back of the car where we kept the food, was doing me no favours!
We headed out to an organic restaurant the concierge recommended. As soon as he uttered the words all you can eat, there was no stopping us. Even though I had been sat in the back of the car eating all day, Verona wasn´t prepared for the likes of a hungry Ben and I.
Having put so many miles behind us yesterday, day five of the adventure promised to be a bit easier. We were heading North through the Alps towards the small town of Merano. There would be no driving about looking for somewhere to stay tonight. As luck would have it, Rich´s brother in law Mark lived there. En-route the scenary was spectacular. Lots of little castles, churches and small picturesque villages, whilst tree lined hills and white peaks rose from the ground forming the picture perfect alpine backdrop. All we were missing was a small man in leiderhosen!
We arrived at Marks mid-afternoon and were immediately greeted with a bowl of pasta.(my favourite sort of greeting!) the four of us and his five year
As we stood in front of Lake Garda....
Clearly Rich recalled one of my many Rome related puns from the previous evening. 'Rome wasn't built in a day!' & 'Ben in Rome....'
old son Louis walked along the river into the town at times Louis asked us to run with him, clearly I struggled to take part in this game!
As we walked it was like being in a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. Quaint little bridges and streams and a town plaza where everybody seemingly knows everyone. The temperature was definitely colder than in the south and even Ben ghad to concede that this was no longer shorts weather. Louis was hilarious. Obsessed with firemen, Ben proved to be very popular. Especially as according to Louis ´everything is on fire!´ As we were leaving, Marks wife Uta, gave me some homeopathic remedies to aid the recovery of my knee. So far so good! Following Mark we set off towards his mother in laws in Bressanone a wealthy and beautiful area in the alps. We visited a bar where Ben and myself were once again tea total and chatted politics and sandwich fillings. As the saying goes ´your taste changes as you get older´, if when I´m older, my favourite sandwich is Bovril and Sandwich spread as per Rich´s´, I will have assumed my sense of taste has gone completely. The
It soon dawned on us....
that making snap decosions at junctions were not gonna be easy.
total now stands at over 2200 great british pounds! (lousy european keyboards....where´s the damn pound sign!) Thank you all so much!! Lets see if we can hit the 2300 mark!!
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; mem: 1.4mb