Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Italian Holiday Part 1 - Driving down

Thursday night

Last day for various admin things in Oxford, then a 9:00pm departure, perhaps the latest we have ever set off on holiday. We arrived at the Premier Inn nearest the ferry port at just after midnight - a very tiring drive


Early awake and down to Dover well in advance of our departure time. We are offered the chance to be the last on the ferry about to depart. It is an extremely flat crossing. Linda is reading Emma Kennedy's 1970s camping memoir and occasionally laughs out loud, much to the surprise of our fellow travellers.

First target is Lens, followed by St Quentin and Reims. Lunch is at the Aire de Champagne, which we feel could have been fancier to live up to its name. As Linda dozes through the afternoon, i ponder on various trading related ideas. But the plan is to avoid too much work-related thinking during this week if possible

We have a quick drive round the centre of Bourg-en-Bresse, our overnight stop. Our hotel is in the north near the ring road on a small industrial estate. Despite this off location, it has a very decent restaurant and we are easily persuaded to stay there rather than get in the car again. One negative - Linda's laptop gives out completely, so we might not have internet access or the ability to watch anything in the evenings.

The restaurant is unusual in having a buffett starter and dessert, so technically we have 10 starters and 8 desserts each tonight. And surprisingly good we thought. I have a quite wonderful steak with bernaise sauce (but is it wonderful because it comes after the drive)


Another early start and a drive of a couple of hours to Chamonix for breakfast. Neither of us have been here before but it is extremely well-known of course and lives up entirely to its reputation, though we are only there for a couple of hours. Great views of Mont Blanc on the way. I have been pondering on going on a treking trip to the top of this.

Breakfast in the sunshine in the town square. I have pancakes with chantilly cream and chocolate sauce - the perfectly balanced breakfast in my view. After a wander round the town we buy our first goodies in the local supermarket - two bottles of Raspberry liquor and a bottle of Cassis (all for less than 20 euros) and a guide book to walks in the area. Next time, we should definitely stop here for a day or two.

Linda consulting the menu.

The first glacier I have seen in years.

From Chamonix we travelled through the Mont Blanc tunnel and headed throught he Italian Alps foothills towards Turin, then Genoa, Livorno, Florence and finally Passignano, which we arrive at around 5:30. We have discovered that it is 1,145 miles from our home to the Hotel Lido on the shores of Lake Trassimeno.

It is not long before we are out at one of the bars by the lake, taking in the late evening sunshine. To Linda's embarrassment, perhaps, I have insisted in wearing one of my hippy shirts. I look totally cool of course

Still cool, despite the long drive (and resulting back ache)

Our meal tonight is at the hotel's restaurant at the end of their jetty. Two pizzas. We are saving our first visit to our favourite restaurant for tomorrow. Then back for the second half of Man Utd versus Barcelona (a very one-sided match).

The sun sinks across the lake and behind the hotel's restaurant.


Linda can't do her exercise DVDs as the laptop remains broken, so has persuaded me that we should go jogging round the lake shore each morning before breakfast. I remain unpersuaded, especially since there is not really a path as such.

We do nothing but sit out by the pool in the sun and read books. I read Ken Babb's On the Bus and a copy of The Philosophers Magazine. Then I leave Linda for a couple of hours so I can watch the Monaco Grand prix in the hotel room. It is virtually incomprehensible, but seems a very exciting race.

At our favourite restaurant - Il Molo - we are remembered by the waitress from last year. And we both have the same starter as last time - the antipasto di mare.

Linda's second wine of the night as the lake shore bar.

The wonder that is Il Molo's antipasto di mare.


Another "restful" day i.e. spent by the pool reading. I have finished On the Bus and started Simon King's Shetland Diaries. We also have Saturday's Times and Mail. Both of us are a little bit pink at the end of the day, but nothing too bad.

Some trading ideas today which I spend an hour or so scribbling down in my pad.

Dinner is a snack at the Mayfair bar tonight - spaghetti carbonare and ravioli.

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