Friday, 28 June 2013

Still at leisure

21-26.06.2013

Doing nothing on Lake Garda  except a nice lunch lakeside in Pacengo and a day out on the bus to Verona, about an hour away. Having had a bad experience in Bologna trying to find the right bus stop for the return trip, this was number one priority and managed to waste a fair amount of time on the exercise....but we were not alone as a vast number of people were also having difficulties in locating  correct stop. I ended up with 3 different timetables and the bus arrived at a time that coincided with none. But I get ahead of myself. We have been to Verona before but only a flying visit to the opera some many years ago when we had a lastminute.com  holiday on Garda so a good opportunity to see the city properly. And very nice it is too. Very smart, stylish and a good place to walk around, despite the heat. Place was full of people wearing Beatles t-shirts and it would appear that either a tribute band was on that night in the arena or Paul McCartney was. ...( is he still alive?) . They were doing sound checks and it was awful, so probably Macca himself. So had a good walk, couple of smashing churches, the Duomo and the Basilica well worth the €2.50. Had a snack by the river which looked dangerously fast and high - and then managed to get the bus back. No marks to Verona public transport information dept.
Had a breezy night involving 3am winding in the awning and battening down hatches as a mighty storm  blew up.
Decided we had done Garda and being suitably refreshed would head for France. As we need to get south of Avignon, various routes available but as we have booked a campsite after great difficulty from 1st July hopefully on a road that the Tour de France passes right by...or very close too..and have days to kill, we opted for Milan-Turin-Briancon, over the Col de Montgenevre, stopping overnight in a hotel car park at Cesana Torinese, a few miles short of the French border. The book said ( correctly) that the Italian side of the pass was vastly better than the French , as it had been improved with tunnels. I suspect that this was because it turned out that Cesana & Claviere were  Olympic winter games venues in 2006 and good access was required. Our overnight stop in the hotel car park with all facilities for €10 showed enterprise and it seemed that it did good business in the winter as it was opposite the ski lifts and monorail.So dined outside in glorious  sunshine surrounded by snowcapped mountains and glaciers-until the sun sank behind them and it turned chilly. Next morning, it was 11° in the van, which hasn't dropped below 24° for 7 weeks so bit of a shock to the system. Over the Col and down to Briancon, very picturesque route and a much better road to descend than ascend', with innumerable hairpins. Strangely the descent was much longer than ascent so France must  be lower than Italy. Came upon a nice lake south of Embrun with a choice of campsites so stopped for a couple of nights. Hot in the sun but a chill wind coming off the surrounding Haute Alpes if you don't get behind a shelter.. May only stay one night.

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