As I write this evening it feels like it has been ages since I left home. (3 weeks tomorrow, actually). I only have a couple of days left before I get home and the best part of 1000 miles still to drive.
I woke up late this morning – I slept well after getting off the ferry in the middle of the night.
Taking such a long ferry journey has rather meant I’ve lost track of what the time is. I’m still on Greek time (1 hour ahead of Italy); The ship’s time was Greek time, the crew was Greek, the food on board was Greek and tannoy announcements were done in Greek, English, German and Italian (in that order) – In effect although I left Greece on Tuesday night it wasn’t until this morning that I actually left the Greek world behind – but I’m still thinking in Greek now, so it might take a few days to adjust to the change in language.
Italy – or at least Northern Italy – is a world away from Greece. It seems like the pace of life here is to much faster than in Greece. That’s not necessarily the case but drive for a few minutes on the Italian Autostrada and you’ll know what I mean.
I find the Italian Autostrada a bit tiring to be honest. Truck after truck after truck in lane 1, truck overtaking truck in lane 2. So if you’re in a car the best way of going anywhere at speed is in the fast lane, usually with an tailgating Italian in tow. Pull in to lane 2 to let them pass and someone starts tailgating in lane 2. Find a gap in lane 1 and someone will start tailgating in lane 1 as well. There just isn’t any room to breathe! Not to mention the lack of lane discipline.
Then there’s the language: Italian is totally unfamiliar to me – not an ounce of similarity between Greek and Italian. This means that while I have the radio on while I’m driving through Italy, I’ve not a clue what’s happening on the roads, where the traffic jams are, what’s happening in the news (although I did hear “Theresa May” spoken in an Italian accent on the radio earlier).
The only thing I can vaguely work out is the travel news – the tone which marks the beginning and end of the bulletin, which sounds a little bit like a plane’s Autopilot disconnecting – is the same as the one used by the German-language station I listened to in Italy’s German speaking region – and I can also understand the radio station’s jingle which comes on every half hour or so – variations of people singing “Radio Due” (Italian for Radio 2).
But otherwise, I don’t speak or understand Italian. So…Back to speaking English it is then – for now.
Today was an easy day in comparision to the next 3 days. 2 drives of roughly 90 minutes each. The first was to the Parco Giardino Sigurta – a sort of botanical garden / country park – an interesting place to go for a walk and have some lunch, just to break up the journey more than anything else.
I left the park right on time – It had started raining and thundering a bit as I walked through the exit. Within 2 minutes of getting in the car it was pouring with rain and there was some lightning to add to the fun.
It was again that sort of rain which means you have to have the wipers on full speed and still can’t see… It is surprising how disorientating this type of rain can be, when you can’t hear anything, can’t really see anything – couple this crazy Italian drivers while trying to find the 5th exit of the roundabout to get on the Autostrada, and it was inevitable that I should get a little lost (thankfully the sat nav readjusted and got me facing the right direction within no time).
It was a surprisngly quick run from there up to tonight’s hotel, in the village of Castro on the banks of Lake Iseo. The scenery was quite nice as I came off the motorway and in to the mountains. There were loads of tunnels though – I lost count of how many but each one lasted for between 2-3km, then maybe 100m in daylight before yet another tunnel. Still – Being on these roads made a nice change to all those trucks on the Autostrada.
A long day of driving tomorrow which will see me stop in Bregenz, Austria – just a couple of km short of the German border – Before that I’ll be passing through Switzerland and Liechtenstein (stopping in Vaduz) on the way.
So I suppose, ahead of a day on the road, I’d better head off to bed.
Today’s Mileage: 165.5
Accumulative Mileage: 2796.9