A moment of complete spontaneity in Switzerland meant we had changed our travel plans and instead of looping back into Germany, through into Austria, we were now heading straight down into Italy!
Being such a last minute decision, we were not prepared. We hadn’t a chance to download our Italian maps on our co-pilot app, we had no places pinpointed for us to visit and no idea of where we would be staying the night. And to make matters even worse, we were running low on food supplies.
Still in Switzerland, our first hurdle was the maps! It wasn’t long until we came across a service station with free wi-fi and I begrudgingly sat on the steps outside downloading the maps in the blazing heat! Over an hour later, with road maps for Italy installed, we were ready to go. As we crossed the border from Switzerland into Italy, we were taken aback by the instant differences. The roads got narrower, and everything looked a little rough around the edges.
Oh well, perhaps this is just Italy we thought as we laughed it off and headed to our planned stop. But things did not improve when we arrived. Despite being dedicated for motorhomes the bays were only 6m in length, not great for our 7m motorhome! Our moods had dropped…and we were faced with not knowing where to go. Do we travel further East so we can see the Dolomites? Do we head straight back up into Switzlerand? Or do we hope that Italy gets better and we were just having a bad day?
The latter was what we decided and we thought we would spend a little time in Italy whilst making our way slowly to the French border. After a quick dinner, we moved on, full of hope that the next place would be better. But as we drove around the corner we found ourselves stuck in an endless traffic jam! It was 6pm on a Sunday evening and there were cars everywhere! The traffic was awful, but we were going to be driving along Lake Como, so that was sure to be pretty right? Nope! We were stuck in a road tunnel along the whole Lake, so barely saw a thing.
By the time we had got out of the tunnel it was dark and when we arrived at stop #2, there was nowhere to park! Plus we almost got stuck driving under a bridge that was a metre shorter than the motorhome. So we pinpointed stop #3 but when we got there all we found was a regular car park FULL with cars, and people milling about on this strange, busy Sunday evening.
We found ourselves in yet more queues of traffic, with the kids getting extremely grouchy, just wanting their bed (our moods weren’t all that much better) The Italian roads are not great to drive on and you find that when you pull off a motorway junction, you are plunged into darkness. NO working street lights!
About 10pm, we finally found a place we felt comfortable in spending the night, spot #4 was right outside a Camper shop and we bedded down for the night all feeling rather stressed, but relieved we had somewhere to sleep!
Driving the next day didn’t go much better, but we did manage to find a great spot for the night, meaning we were able to enjoy at least 1 night in Italy. So we pitched up, relaxed a little and enjoyed an evening BBQ looking over the Italian countryside.
Italy wasn’t the country for us this time, it felt entirely different to everywhere else we have been, it was out of our comfort zone and we didn’t feel as ‘safe’ as we did in other countries. But maybe we just went to the wrong places? We would come back, but next time we’ll make sure we do our research! (And maybe catch a flight).