We left England and sunshine and our Nailsea garden at the end of May. I managed to tidy the garden enough until our return in July. Huge battle with emerging bindweed but hopefully it will not have reclaimed the whole area in a month, although it is a beast. The box plants have been trimmed into neat balls (all 15!) and quotes are in to tidy the gravel and landscape the bit outside the house so it all looks tidy and less tropical. Note the Nailsea olive crop. Not a great year but hey…..
All that remained was to load the car with our stuff plus the lemon tree that is going to live in Umbria and the 100 or so baby lavenders that will fill the garden in Citta della Pieve with their perfume. Everyone is going to get lavender bags for Xmas this year, and a huge thankyou to C & R for rescuing the baby plants and potting them on for our return.
We intend to stop off with family in the Veneto on the way down this time. So the journey will take us through France, Germany, Austria and down into Italy.
Arrived a bit late for our Chunnel crossing but managed to get through to France and on to our first stop in Reims. Basic Novotel hotel outside of town, but comfortable and it also had lovely large gardens for Daisy to chase about in and a lovely terrace for her owners to eat supper and drink a glass of local plonk, that happens to be Champagne: when in Rome (Champagne) etc etc. Supper started well enough with a delicious pate and then went downhill with an inedible steak and fries. More champagne waiter!
The next morning we were faced with a longer stage to the journey, as our overnight stop would be just outside Innsbruck. The weather was beautiful through our European stage and after a few pit-stops we arrived at a chalet B&B, Gasthaus Tirol, in the village of Gries am Sellrain. The house was restored six years ago, when the Dutch owners Erik and Mirka bought it, and now they are upgrading the interiors too, including the brilliant idea of converting a part of the cellar into a bar where everyone can meet up. It has a great position in the middle of the village and there are several lovely mountains walks around from 1 km to 23 kms. It was such a beautiful relaxing spot with bright green fields, goats with bells, clear mountain streams and distant snow capped mountain peaks,: could almost hear Julie singing in the distance. There was a reasonable pizza restaurant too so no need for driving again to have a meal. It must be very popular in the skiing season too being a stone’s throw from the city of Innsbruck. A mention also for Whoopi and Luna ( the owners two bearded collies) who were very nice to Daisy and let her into their home.
The next morning we headed off for the final stage through to Italy. Temperatures were rising steadily now and from 28 degrees in Austria, by noon outside of Feltre in the northern Dolomites, it was 30 plus. And then we noticed loads of carabinieri, polizia stradale on motorbikes zooming around with sirens blaring and lights flashing, then cars loaded with racing bikes and a road block. We took an alternative road and reached yet another. At the third attempt we parked up and decided to see what was happening. Apparently it was the 100th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia bike race and sure enough after a lengthy wait watching photographers on motorbikes, more police, more spare bikes on speeding cars, the colourful bunch of around a hundred riders whizzed past and that was it, in about 2 minutes flat. They were travelling so fast and yet so close; not even a saddle between them.
Roads now open, we arrived in Spresiano to stay with a cousin and his wife by early evening. Tomorrow (Saturday) is the christening of their grandson so a delicious meal is on the cards, no doubt about that.