118 – Stage One of Our Drive Back To The UK

In early December we set off on our adventure to drive back to the UK. We planned to treat ourselves to a couple of days well earned break in Amsterdam along the way. 

We departed on the first leg of our journey with the car packed to the gunnels, heading for Lake Como in northern Italy.  The weather was generally better than expected, however as we approached Milano it began to snow.  We were feeling rather weary when we arrived in Como and followed the road that skirts the left hand shore of the lake. 

We had reserved a small apartment overlooking the lake in Tremezzo, 100 metres from the shore of Lake Como, but had been instructed to “check-in” at a nearby hotel. The receptionist gave Paul the keys and directions on how to find the house. We meticulously followed these instructions, but in the darkness found it hard to locate the exact property.  We phoned the receptionist to ask for help, and she tried once again to give us directions but we were just unable to find in the dark where we were supposed to be staying.  Finally the receptionist told us that she would find us a room for the night in the hotel for the same price. Exhausted, but relieved that we had a bed for the night, we parked up and dragged our overnight bags up to the 5th floor and collapsed on the bed.  The room was small but cheerfully decorated and comfortable enough. 

The following morning we awoke around dawn. Our room had French doors which opened out onto a small balcony from which there were stunning panoramic views of Lake Como, so cold and serene,  and superb views of the morning sun illuminating the snow-capped Alps to the north.

We prepared for our second day of travelling and chose to take, from Menaggio, a scenic route over a mountain pass into Switzerland. On reaching the Swiss border there were no problems as the customs guards just waved us through. We headed for Lake Lugano where we met up with Judy Ridgeway at her beautiful apartment with stunning views of the lake. She is an expert taster of olive oil and had agreed to taste our Itri extra virgin olive oil and give us her expert opinion and a detailed description of its taste and attributes.

We then headed onwards passing through the 17 km long St Gotthard Tunnel.

* photo by Jesper2cv

 Sadly as we emerged at  the other end we were unable to see many views of Lake Lucerne and the Alps which were cloaked in low grey cloud.  Driving onwards we passed through snowy landscapes, through Basel, Colmar, Metz, through Luxembourg towards our next destination, Liege in  Belgium. The weather had managed to stay relatively kind to us until we entered Belgium when it began to snow heavily. It had been another long and tiring day’s driving, so we were relieved to finally book into our cheap little hotel room.

* photo by Jesper2cv

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