Day 42 – Life, The Universe and Everything

Saturday 25th August 2018

Rain; cold; What to do?

WARNING: There is only one photo in this blog. If you want pictures of grey vans driving in the rain go stand by the M6 in winter.

We have decided it is time to move on from Austria. Not just because it is cold and raining but because we have been here for almost 5 weeks and it is just time for a change.

We miss our snowy peaks and we know where we can find more, bigger, snowier but, colder. (Brrrr!) mountains to go play on. Switzerland. Home of the big ones. One valley alone, the Saastal, gives access to 8 4000m peaks! But, and it’s a big but, (no comments please, I said ‘but‘ not ‘butt‘), a slightly embarrassing ‘but’… Team P is pooped! Not just 50% of team P but the whole 100%. And, when you are as tired as this the idea of spending a few days relaxing at Europe’s highest campsite at just over 2000m where the average daily temperatures are about 6 degrees does not fill one with excitement.

What to do…

For inspiration we turn to Gandalf, our home come rain or shine, our transport across continents, our guardian of detritus, our kitchen of culinary disasters, our bedroom, our… ok, our T4 VW campervan.

Gandalf saying nothing as usual

He says… nothing. He’s a van. What did you expect? Anyway, after much debate we decided that Gandalf would like to be taken somewhere to dry out (at least that is our excuse), somewhere warm, somewhere where you can buy pizza perhaps. I know! Italy. Specifically, Lake Maggiore. Partly in Switzerland (expensive), partly in Italy, (pizza).

So, we drive. All day. Through rain and, well, more rain till, eventually we arrive, at dusk, in Italy. Two things give it away as Italy:

  1. The border crossing
  2. The drivers are now all insane – Italy, where speed limits are more of a challenge than a rule. Where blind bends are the perfect opportunity to overtake and where pedestrians take their lives in their hands whenever they step out of the door.

We drive carefully. Well someone should. We look for somewhere to spend the night.

  • We have been using a great APP. I may have mentioned it before;
  • In the words of their own site it allows you to;
  • Share the nice spots where you like to relax with your camper, your equipped van or normal van

  • People tell you about campsites, car parks big enough to take the behemoth mobile homes that can be see travelling the highways and byways of Europe and, best of all, free places to camp overnight.
  • We found a good one. 4 stars. In the words of the proposer;
  • Beautiful view of the lake, the climb is tortuous. Be careful with the long vehicle, the turns are very tight.

  • The man is a loon!
  • Gandalf is a standard T4 VW campervan. He is 4.7m long. Slightly shorter than a VW Passat. I’m a good driver (I know, everyone says that but I am. Ask my Gran) and I had to perform 3 point turns to get round almost every one of the seemingly endless hairpin bends. I gave up. A 4 point turn had me facing back downhill anyway.
  • We scuttled away from the “4 star” free camping place, tail between our legs, exhaust pipe between our wheels and finally found a place to hide in a car park near to a visitor centre where we found 2 French vans already in situ.
  • Then the police arrived. It was tense. They took one look at us, weighed up the situation and, in true Italian style, drove off. We like the Italian police.
  • Next time on Gandalfontour be prepared to be astounded by…
    • Cobbled streets
      Tables laden with the most enticing ingredients – I’ll still turn them to mush
  • marvel at…
    • Opinions on tattoos
      Sugar sachets
      More than one lousy photo
  • and much more…
  • Bet you can’t wait.
  • Maybe, just maybe, I will even beg forgiveness for starting sentences with ‘and‘ and ‘but.’
  • 2 thoughts on “Day 42 – Life, The Universe and Everything

    1. Italian drivers do not fit into the normal laws of physics… 30cm from your rear bumper at 80mph is standard operating procedure 😂


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