Our truck moving chores were completed for the time being and we felt we were ready to move on, maybe find some warmer weather. Our friends, Jacqui and Sergio assured that the weather was much better where they lived in Italy, so we decided to drive 1,000 miles south hoping to reach the Tarisciottis at Alba Adriatica on the east coast in time for Easter.
We stopped one night in Leipzig, Germany and another in Austria before we crossed the Brenner Pass into Italy. The weather was poor which made driving tiring.
Along our route lay the town of Bardolino on the shores of Lake Garda, where, in 2016, the whole family had spent many happy days when Issey and Ame got married in the Bardolino Town Hall. The busy little campsite was on the shore of Lake Garda and within strolling distance of the town centre. We were able to wash the van and do our laundry in the couple of hours before it was time to walk into town for supper.
The next day we went for lunch at Tre Camini where Issey and Ame had held their wedding reception. We had a wonderful meal, rustic cooking but with excellent local ingredients including venison and wild boar. We were flattered when the manager, Michaela, recognised us – until we realised that Ame had telephoned them to say we were coming! Anyway, the local taxi driver certainly remembered us.
We planned to spend some days in Switzerland at Bodensee, the lake that straddled the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (where it was known as Lake Constance). Our journey took us into Germany and back into Austria before we arrived at the Swiss border. It had rained on and off throughout our journey. At the Swiss border we had to pay a €32.50 toll charge.
Our campsite was on the shore of the lake and the site had wonderful facilities and a brand new restaurant overlooking the lake. Unfortunately the campsite ground was soggy with the recent rainfall and more rain was forecast. Had the weather been better I am sure we would have found the area beautiful but the rain, plus the threat of more rain, dampened our spirits and we realised that we had made a mistake coming so far north. We ate in the restaurant that evening and were very disappointed. The food was perfectly edible but was more in the style of school dinners than fine dining. We paid almost £100 for a shared salad, meat and vegetables, one dessert and a bottle of wine. Even our bottle of mineral water cost £5.73! Switzerland was proving wet and expensive so the next morning we upped sticks and headed south west towards France.
We lingered a few days in Imst for two very good reasons. Most importantly, we had spotted an Asian Fusion restaurant in the town. Closed Mondays – it was Monday. After spending many weeks in Italy we had a strong urge to eat something different.
The second reason for staying around was that this particular campsite scored 3/3 on our points system: i) Excellent site with friendly welcome, ii) Interesting surroundings with help offered to find local amenities and iii) Good weather. It was very rare that a stopover had all three of these boxes ticked.
We set off the following day to cycle along a vast network of cycle paths that followed the line of the valleys, joining together sleepy hamlets, bustling villages and small towns. The weather was good and the scenery stunning.
After spending nine wonderful days together it was very hard to say goodbye to our four lovely daughters, their husbands our six grandchildren and not forgetting Ella, Neil’s 19 year old daughter – our step grandaughter. When they had all gone we set off north taking a scenic route towards Innsbruck. We stopped at Imst, a summer and winter sports resort in the Tyrolean Alps, 2700 feet above sea level.
The Hills Are Alive . . .