Tuesday 27 October 2015

Piedmont to the Côte d’Azur

Italy and France, 16th – 19th October 2015

Apologies that it’s been a while since the last post as we’ve struggled to get free WiFi while in Italy. They all seem to require registration, and we’ve not been on any campsites, so as a result we have been running short with our mobile internet data allowance this month that has been used up with uploading previous entries and for essential route and stopover planning. We’ll be up to date again as soon as we can though. We’ve been busy, starting here with our last couple of days in Italy visiting Alba and Bra before heading out of the country over the Maritimes Alpes mountains into the south of France. From here we started making our way along the Côte d’Azur.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Turin and the Piedmont Region

Italy, 11th – 15th October 2015

Our latest location: a small motorhome Sosta, in the heart of Piedmont winemaking territory.  We’ve arrived here after visiting Turin a couple of days ago, as part of a meandering route down to the coastline before crossing over into France.  Directly east of our van is the small town/village of Castiglione Falletto, a town with a fortified castle, a wine cellar, and not much else.  To the west, we have sweeping views over fields of vineyards.  A few miles up the road takes us into Alba, known for its white truffles, or 3km to the south-west is the small village of Barolo.  We’re no wine connoisseurs, and so I’m just going to have to take the Lonely Planet’s word for it when it claims Barolo is Italy’s favourite red.

Sunday 11 October 2015

Italian Lakes: Como, Maggiore and More

Lake Mezzola

Italy, 6th – 10th October 2015

When we travelled down through Italy in April-May, we visited the lakes seeing Lake Garda and Iseo, and weren’t very impressed with them as places to visit in a motorhome when not going on campsites. Only going as far west as Iseo, we left the other lakes to come back to at some point. As we were in the area again, now we’ve spent the past few days around several of the lakes and have been more successful and enjoyed it more this time thanks to the smaller or quieter lakes.

Monday 5 October 2015

From Venzone to Vicenza

Italy, 2nd – 5th October 2015

It’s been a while since we’ve given a more up to date version of our intended route.  We had a fairly concrete plan of the direction we were going to travel in on our way up from Greece (Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Croatia-Slovenia), but leaving Slovenia was always the crossroads point where we could have headed in a number of different directions, and so before we left we had to have a sit down and think about where exactly we were going to go.

Ultimately, we knew we wanted to be in Spain and Portugal over the winter.  There are a lot of places that we would have liked to visit before then, including heading north-east towards Slovakia and the Czech Republic, or north into Austria and then Switzerland.  Unfortunately the former would have sent us too far in the wrong direction, and the latter would have sent us into mountainous Alpine countries a little too close to winter when we have no snow tyres/chains (having spent longer than originally thought in countries from Greece onwards).  As a result we’d probably have ended up rushing our way through the places, doing the countries a great disservice and racking up needless miles on the van.

Saturday 3 October 2015

Lake Bohinj and Mount Vogel

Slovenia, 29th September – 2nd October

From Lake Bled it was on to the nearby Lake Bohinj next. This lake is much less developed and touristy than Bled due to its setting in the Triglav National Park. Any tourism from sports to gastronomy has to be focussed on being natural and sustainable, to be in keeping with the environment. I found an extract from one of our info brochures amusing; “Don’t go to Bohinj if you are looking for big hotels, budget restaurants, smoke-filled snack bars, swimming amidst shrieking hordes…a rubbish-strewn lake shore, deafening music booming out from every bar, markets selling junk to tourists…Bohinj is not a shopping centre in a desolate landscape of illegal rubbish dumps”. We really enjoyed our time here, in our opinion it’s a prettier area to Bled and we prefer it.