Back on the road again…!
Christmas school holidays commence for France tomorrow, so we were keen to get on the road before they start. We have vowed never to be driving anywhere in Europe during school holidays!
A slightly shorter journey back to Arabba, returning through the Mont Blanc tunnel today rather than the Frejus tunnel. We left Georgie’s at 5:30 am and we were through to Italy by about 7am. The Chamonix valley auto-route through to Courmeyer is a well worn track for us. There was noticeably more traffic on the road than the week before but it moved well except for the usual bottlenecks around Milano.
As I have mentioned previously, for the last 2 weeks practically the whole of Europe has been covered by a massive high pressure system. Like Wanaka in June, this weather causes a massive temperature inversion with all the valleys covered in thick layer of freezing and heavily polluted fog, while the mountains bask in warm sunshine.
There’s not much to do on these long auto-route trips. With the fog, there’s also not much scenery to enjoy but we do often spot some funny stuff along the way. In particular we have marvelled at the ability of Italians to have highly animated hands free (and I mean the steering wheel!!) phone conversations, text message or eat and drink food all while negotiating traffic at 130 km/hr.
We made it to the first part of the Dolomite’s, a town called St Christina by about 1:30pm and despite being nearly to Arabba, our stomachs forced us to have a stop. Our diet this morning had consisted of copious cups of espresso coffee, a dodgy & partly heated potato panini, a small apple muffin and lots of mandarins that Georgie had given us for the trip. Stopping for a late lunch we lucked a great restaurant for pasta and a huge greek salad. We rather feel that we have been neglecting our greens in this last week of French gastronomy.
Back in Arabba by mid afternoon, we’ve unpacked, put a load of washing on, done the vege & grocery shopping and made an appointment for Graeme at the hairdressers….all in pigeon Italian!
And tomorrow…..with Graeme’s feet much recovered with a week off we’ll strap the skis back on. There’s certainly a lot more people in town this evening, so I expect that we’ll notice a difference compared to our first week of uncrowded slopes and lifts.