7th October 2016. Monzambano, Italy.

It was absolutely freezing when we got out of bed this morning even though we’d left the heating on overnight.  I am so glad we’re heading for Italy today.

We were very lucky to get here yesterday when we had a clear view of the mountains because today the mountains were covered with cloud.

It suddenly became quite busy outside the hotel as the coach drove round from his parking space beside the hotel and everyone on the tour piled in.  At the same time a group of school children with rucksacks on their backs came hiking up to the hotel with the teacher stomping in front going at quite a pace, those children that had been able to keep up with the pace put their bags down beside the hotel wall and 5 minutes later there were still a few stranglers sauntering up while the teacher wandered around having a cigarette!

More children arrived in dribs and drabs and eventually two other adults appeared with another group then they set of down the hill and disappeared into the distance.  A few minutes after they’d gone we noticed a group of 3 teenage boys walk up to the hotel looking puzzled, they wandered around a bit, one of them had his mobile phone to his ear (we assume he was trying to phone one of the teenagers who were disappearing into the distance), the boys couldn’t see them because the main group was down in a dip.  After about 10 minutes they went into the hotel.  They must have asked someone if they knew where everyone went because they set of jogging down the hill after the others.  During the time they were there we kept expecting someone to either come back for them or at least stop where they were so the boys could catch up.  It’s strange and worrying that they hadn’t done a head count before they set off, very laissez faire!

We left the stellplätze via the road we’d seen the coach coming up, it was SOOO much easier (why didn’t our SAT NAV take us THAT way when we arrived?).

We took the non motorway route through villages which were beautiful and we followed the motorway most of the time.  It was beautiful to see from below as it hugged the mountain like a huge snake.

The journey to the Italian border was so quick we hadn’t realised how close we were last night.  There was a distinct difference in the look of the motorway once it had crossed the border.

I saw a tunnel in Italy which has taken second place in my ‘Best Tunnel’ Awards.  It had occasional cut out ‘windows’ in the side of the tunnel, very pretty design but still didn’t match up to the amazing half tunnel in the Lofoten Islands.

We stopped off for lunch in a little farm deli, we were a bit concerned because we’d hoped to have at least learned to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ learn a few numbers and how to say no meat or fish before we went into a café.  We racked our brains and remembered a song called “Shut uppa your face” which had absolutely no Italian words in it at all it turns out.

Then we decided we thought the numbers 1,2 ,3 MIGHT be uno, due, tre and ‘sì’ for yes so that was our whole vocabulary when we went in, we didn’t even know how to say ‘hello’ so we said “hallo” like they did in Germany.  I asked the waitress how to say ‘please and she said it’s ‘prego’ only it sounds like that’s not used very often.  Darren heard someone say “grazie” so we know how to say thank you now.  Luckily the café must have a lot of German/Austrian customers so the menu was in both languages and I recognised the German word for tuna in the vegetarian baguette, the waitress seemed incredulous that I didn’t want tuna in the baguette.  We learned fleischloss in German for meatless, I now know con carne is with meat, is sin carne no meat and is sin pescari no fish?  I must find out in the few days we’re travelling through Italy. (apparently it’s actually senza pescari/carne, sin is Spanish!).

We made a bit of a boo boo and forgot our rule, don’t arrive anywhere after 3 p.m. and after a 5 hour drive we turned up at an area di sosta situated at a HUGE tourist destination (beside Lake Garda) around 5.30 p.m. AND we suddenly remembered it was Friday. At least I say we turned up at the area di sosta, we actually drove straight past it and had to drive on a long way before we could find anywhere to turn round and when we got back to it surprise, surprise there was a sign on the gate saying the area di sosta was full (we hadn’t noticed a sign as we’d driven past the first time so Darren’s conspiracy theory is that they saw the GB plates and hurriedly stuck the sign up before we came back, lol!)

We had a slight panic before I found 3 more places to stay away from the lake an we set off to find those, the first 2 were bleuurgh!  They were in a very busy area and looked as though they would be noisy at night time.  We nervously made our way to the last one and kept our fingers crossed that there would be space for us.  We were very lucky, the lady on reception told us to go and park the van then we could come back and pay which we did but on the way back to reception we saw a map with a section called Oasis camping which showed vans parked round a pond, we assumed it was another campsite but after we’d paid the friendly lady showed us where all the facilities were and pointed over to the area where the pond was and said there was parking down there too. Darren said he knew that would mean he’d be moving the van so I walked down the hill and found a space by the pond and Darren drove down to meet me.

There were loads of ducks and geese on the water and the geese were getting very excited because a man had just brought over a huge bag of food for them.

Click below for link to Gasthaus Humlerhof:


Click below for link to Camperistidi Monzambano:


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