The Italian Job

And so, after an epic 1,200 miles spanning two days, we have arrived at our destination… and it’s raining. I’m currently sat in my tent in one of the most beautiful Alpine meadows (I didn’t think meadows actually existed!) that you could possibly imagine to see, and the only view I have is of a small grass bank. Admittedly, I could get dressed, get out of my sleeping bag and have a look around, but the rain continues to fall above my head, and with every thud that hits the roof of the tent, I become more reluctant to move. As I type, Steffi has closed the door of the tent and I’m not really that bothered. It’s just like being anywhere else really.

However, that being said, we’re not anywhere else, we’re in Val Daone, a small valley to the West of Trento in Northern Italy, having already been through France, Germany, Austria and of course, Italy and the views have been tremendous. After the lay-over in London, we left at about 5am, and got our ferry at 8. Through some divine brilliance (which had little to do with me) we managed to collect Stu from the train station in Reims on time and repack the car in the middle of la Gare. Then we were on the road again, rattling along French motorways, before finally deciding to stop for a kebab just after the border into Germany.

It’s always struck me how similar Germany and England seem to be, and this tiny kebab house in a small unknown village seems to have cemented my belief. The fact that it then started to rain seemed to add to it, and by the time we got into Munchen, it was officially fucking it down, to the extent that I couldn’t see the lanes any more. The land of unlimited speed limits may be one thing, but unless you’re happy to do 140mph, it’s a little scary, especially if you’re short one mirror…

After a little argument, involving me being told I need to stop, because I should be tired even though I wasn’t, we pulled off the autobahn and quickly pitched the tent, at around 11pm. A restless nights sleep left us to realise in the morning that the weather hadn’t relented, and we were still in the thick of it. At least we still had fucking miles to go.

It wasn’t too long (I think) before we stopped again for breakfast, again in a small non-descript village for some delicious ham and cheese pretzel and some sort of brilliant mohmstriezel, a glazed doughnut sort of thing with cherries in the middle.

Next stop was a brief detour to the La Sportiva factory to arrange a visit next week. We go on Monday, and while Steffi seems unutterably indifferent to the idea, me and Stu are both super keen. Apparently, there’s one guy who laces all the Sportiva boots, and I can’t wait to meet him! I’ll try and keep you posted.

Then for the final stretch. Even I got bored of saying “We’re nearly there, don’t worry” but after what seemed like an extended eternity (through blistering heat this time, just for variety) we finally drove through stunning mountain passes, looking at deathly drops, imposing cliffs and breathtaking scenery before eventually pulling into Val Daone itself. The campsite we were offered for €5 a night each seemed awful, really, so we drove up the valley and finally found the photo you see below. You might think it’s fake, but believe me it’s not, and that is exactly where we are. Hope you’re jealous…

free camping - the image we had before we went
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