It’s Malvern Walking Festival this week and I suggested to Beastie’s cousin Lorraine that she should chose one and we could do it together. I wasn’t anticipating a 10 mile one with lots of hills to climb, but I did it and lived to tell the tale. With the promise of hail, lightening and assorted other horrors forecast we kept a brisk pace and only had a light sprinkling of rain at almost the end of our walk. It was very welcome as we had just climbed up to the summit of Midsummer Hill from the Gullet Quarry, the steep path. Please understand when I say steep, I do mean steep 😮. About 5pm Lorraine went home as the bad weather looked like it was imminent. A lovely day; I would never have attempted it on my own, but very pleased with myself. The picture is the view from the Obelisk in Eastnor Park. The expected rain has now arrived and I can hear thunder already.
So this was us creeping along the M25 towards home. 2,400 miles driven and about 90 miles walked (the Elf has an ap that counts steps, about 2000 steps per mile, 180,000 steps 😲) and this was outstandingly the worst part of the journey, as it always has been on these road trips. Once we had escaped this, we then picked our way along the M4, avoiding some poor soul’s camping gear which had presumably parted company with the roof it was attached to. Having weaved through a tent, sleeping bag, wellies and other sundry objects the way was at last clear for Banbury and then home. A great holiday, lots of adventures and memories and the company of my lovely Elfie. Beastie’s soldier was with us to keep us safe, now back in his proper place – he would be proud of us, although Ruby’s sat nav would have driven him crazy 😜.
Another long day driving this time about another 350 miles through France this time. Our stop tonight was Arras, with two huge squares bordered by these lovely old buildings. We were staying in a bed and breakfast, very easy to find and only 10 minutes walk from the town centre. The house itself was huge and lovingly cared for. This was our room and this was our shared living space.
We walked to the town for dinner and came back earlyish as we were both tired and we would like an early start tomorrow.
Today was a lot of this – belting along motorways and through tunnels on our way home. We left Italy, drove right across Switzerland and ended the day at Colmar which is part of Germany in France. You would never know you were in France except they speak French. So we strolled into town, I had a chicken rosti which was enormous, washed down with a copious amount of Reisling. The Elf ate meat and sauerkraut.Then an ice cream, meringue and chocolate sauce concoction which we shared. I’ve been to Colmar once before but I don’t remember it at all. Very pretty, but very German.
We were going to catch the boat to Limone today but the fast boat was full and the next slow boat was at 12.17. So we drove there instead. It’s a very busy place but a lot of shops, especially shoes 😳. I tried some on but got distracted by a shop full of Donna Laura Venezia shoes and there were so many there to like that I left confused. They were very expensive to buy on a whim. I also tried on an amazing reversible jacket and coat but they too were very expensive (I can’t see prices that well without my glasses these days, however I could see E400 on the jacket)So we stopped for a while then went for a walk. We planned up go to Lake Ledro but there had been an accident in the tunnel and it was closed. So we came home for a quiet afternoon and had our meal later in the village. This was our last full day in Italy and we’ll start our journey home tomorrow. We’ve had a lovely time but we are both ready to come home now.
Rain was forecast for today so we had planned a lazy day. We need to be earlier tomorrow to eat more breakfast, it is amazing and the best so far. We did a lot of reading then popped out for lunch when the rain stopped. On the way back I went for a short walk. First off I found the Villa Feltrinelli said to be one of the best hotels in the world, it certainly looked good. I walked on to the lakeside and wandered down a small jetty, then on the way back found an old almost abandoned church with these lovely frescoes.Back at our hotel we cracked open the bottle of champagne we brought with us for emergencies. When it was about half gone we braved the rain and went into the village to buy a bracelet for me and perhaps a ring for the Elf. Her ring was too big but the bracelet was perfect, so good in fact that I bought the necklace to match. Clearly champagne aids decision making.
This is the view from our balcony on the shores of Lake Garda. We are here for just three days to freshen up after all the noise and bluster of the Mille Miglia. Not a long drive and easily found. Lovely staff and beautiful room.
So we had a little drink no then wandered off in search of food. We found the lakeside and some drinks and ice cream. The only traffic you hear is a little local stuff and anything with a mighty roar that is on the lakeside road. Also this little Riva looking rather lost and lonely. By now a bit squiffy we walked back, bought three pairs of shoes, tasted some olive oil and the only reason we didn’t try in a ring and a bracelet was because I had the wrong card with me. Going back later 😜.
We spent a lovely day in Verona today, we managed lunch, a fruit salad in a tall glass, ice cream and a burger. It’s a pretty place but very busy and touristy. I don’t think it would have come to anything if it wasn’t for Shakespeare. (Romeo and Juliet feature largely. Apparently it was a vaguely true story that Will rewrote.)This is Juliet’s balcony.We even managed to find Juliet’s tomb although to be honest it could be anyone’s.
We found this in Brescia today, never seen it before. We decided to skip the rather disappointing breakfast in our hotel this morning and have a late breakfast in Brescia while we watched some of the Royal Wedding. So this turned out to be my breakfastwith fresh orange, tea and shortly after, a glass of champagne sent by a charming man on the next table. Good start. Then a walk, a coffee, a chat to someone waiting for their mates Jag to arrive. We had planned a meat and cheese platter for an early dinner.The chap in charge took a shine to us after we had asked him to choose our wine, so he then brought us some asparagus in oil, mozzarella, a shot of something diabolical which he did explain but I have now forgotten, then a cream, rum, chocolate and nut pudding, which had cinnamon on it so poor Elf couldn’t eat it. So he brought her a small salted chocolate pie on her own silver dish. We were by now so smashed that we could barley stand but then we found ourselves in what was nearly a riot, but fizzled into something and nothing, so the riot police put down their shields, took of their helmets and had a fag, as Italians do.(This nonsense was some do-gooders marching for Palestine.) Off again, this time distracted by an Alfa Stelvio, there are a lot of them around here as they are Mille Miglia sponsors. They are lovely, but I know they are expensive, and this beauty would not be the cheap version. Then this arrived. Number 152 Bentley Mk VI, with leather on the outside!Fiat 8V Zagato. Only about one million pounds worth. And as we probably won’t be in the centre tomorrow I shall leave you with this pic which sums up Italy…why did they hang their sign upside down in the Metro? I will be back, I have many strings that tie me to Brescia, it was a place we loved together and I love it still, apart. But I miss him here more than I have for a long time and those strings will always tie me. Just why would you ever go anywhere else on holiday when Italy is so full of perfect imperfections?
We had a busy day yesterday so I’m a bit behind. Our plan was lunch in Cremona then on to Parma to see the Mille Miglia arrive. It was a warm day so we went topless in Ruby. Cremona was a surprising place with a stunning bell tower. Then on to Parma, another lovely town which we probably didn’t do justice to as it was taken over by the race. Now every time you order drinks you get a selection of nibbles, this a very admirable Italian habit. These vary from place to place but you can get this much so you can understand that you soon don’t want dinner.This happened to us, and after watching a shed load of Ferraris and the first runners of the race, we made our way home and realised we hadn’t actually had a meal at all. Oh well, as they say, when in Rome…