I am now well and truley settled in Milan, it tooka long time to get the internet installe and we have had a few of the normal new house issues but my internet WAS installed this morning, and now I can resume my DC visits - you have all been sorely missed!
The drive over to Italy was.....interesting! I have a small car and was travelling with my two very vocal siamese cats. They are both used to car journeys of a few hours, but one decided to sing good bye to Britain, and kept her song going for most of France. By unhappy coincidence there were very heavy rain storms in France and northern Italy, forcing me to drive the 14 hundred miles or so at about thirty miles an hour. We had hoped to do it straight through, but were often forced by lack of visibilty to just sit at the side of the road.
We drove through UK to the Channel Tunnel in the evening and got a midnight crossing. The weeather was so choppy that the motorway to the tunnel was closed and used as a car park for HGVs waiting for ferries, so we had fun driving through some little villages, and the first leg of France was very very good. The French roads are so excellent. So our first stop was in the Champagne area, where we bought, unsurprisingly, a couple of bottles for Christmas and New year. In Reins we refuelled and found some beautiful rose biscuits...like langues des chats or English trifle sponge biscuits. These are meant to be eaten with Champagne, and they were lovely. In Dijon we bought, well, guess! The mistake was to buy a mustard with cassis in it though....pink mustard might look pretty but the sterong flavoyur of cassis and mustard has to be served very carefully! Then we continued south to Bresse. Excitingly we stopped at a motorway service station I had seen on Heston Blumenthal's tv programme, where he raved about the famouse Bresse chicken at this humble truck stop, so we had chicken and baguette, just as he had done, and the cats had a big meal of chicken too. Crossing the Mont Blanc was terrifying. The visibility had been minimal through the day, but now I could see literally a few metres in front of me and nothing else. There are also roads works ongoing, so nothing dividing the oncoming traffic.....I was regretting eating I was so scared! In the actual tunnel everything was lit and there was some reprieve from the weather, but the other side was Italy!
Italian driving is famously...excitable...the rain had got, if anything, heavier and the motorway was covered in quite deep water. Despite this most of the other drivers were speeding along, merrily flying off the roads and into each other....the cats and I wailed as we pottered along slowly. The only thing I could see rising out of the rain and the darkness (despite driving through two nights and a day, the whole journey was dark because of the rain!!) were amazingly illuminated castles on hillsides either side of the road. At any one time several of these many castles were visable. Arriving at our new home asolutley shattered we had a picnic of our French spoils and slept through and entire wekend, the cats, my DH and I all in a heap. DH flew back to Uk to share the driving, but I am very precious about my car and in the end refused to relinquish the wheel. We spent ages looking for insurance that would allow him to drive it, and I have not yet let him, lol!
This is a long post, huh? I guess you can tell I have misssed DC!