On a recent visit to Italy to see a few properties, we decided to drive. We needed to visit both Tuscany and Puglia and logistics and timing just pointed at taking a car with us. A great move!
We skipped over the channel on Le Shuttle and enjoyed an easy, smooth drive through France. The flat lands of the northern regions gave way to hillier, greener vineyards as we reached Champagne and then further south, the hills became mountains which presented increasingly stunning views as we ventured into the French alps and towards the border into Italy.
The magnificence of the tunnel engineering wasn’t lost on us as we marvelled at the Frejus tunnel and the likely maintenance needed to keep the 8 miles free of debris. We joked about knowing when we’d be across the border into Italy, suspecting that the lights would go out, the kerbs would be crumbling, and the walls would be shabby and unpainted…
So, then we crossed the border. The lights stayed on, but the nice, bright, white painted French wall panels disappeared, the kerb dropped to non-existence and there were wires sticking out of the guttering on a regular basis!
As we reached Italy, road works looked grubbier as did the men working on them; roadwork signage was erratic and challenging to navigate; the cars sped up around us in spite of speed limits, and the workmen had shoved the warning flags into traffic cones instead of waving them! We were harassed by a Discovery on Italian plates, likely pleased to be home, and then, when we stopped at the first service station in Italy, we had to step through a large puddle of water (I hope it was water) to get into the toilets!
But then we had an espresso each and everything was as it should be. We were in Italy.