We left Vaison and headed towards Marseilles on the Peage before heading along the Cote Azure, skirting the Mediterranean in parts, it was incredibly busy, now its past holiday time so not sure why the normally quiet toll roads were so crazy, a short stop for fuel just before Nice and then into Italy. We took the highway thinking there was less chance of being stopped and having to show our papers (even though they were in order) as we couldn't be arsed with petty officialdom, the situation reminded us of the TV series Allo Allo where the citizens are always being asked by the Germans "Where are your papers" .
We were correct, no hassle, dropped into Ventimiglia and then to my "home " village Rocchetta Nervina, as the old Tom Jones song says "The old home town looked the same" but thats not true really, it gets busier every year and it is popular with tourists, the village seems to have a bit more life in it as well, I see plenty younger people now living there which is the only way the village will survive. All of our friends and family are good and we spent a few days chilling out and visiting and drinking the odd vino (or maybe two)
All too soon it was time to move, not too far , just along the coast to visit our pal Steva in Calice Ligure, we actually met him in a small town by the seaside for lunch with him and his colleagues, a very nice affair before leaving them to go back to work whilst we wobbled around and waited for him in Calice, a very pleasant evening and a good meal in town. Then we set off for Mandello Del Lario, home to Moto Guzzi, the roads were crazy busy and there seemed to be roadworks everywhere, once we got North of Genoa it quietened down until Milan, Milan and Monza were also crazy busy, it normally is but it seems to be busier which is probably good news for the Italian economy. We were glad to reach Lake Como and eventually Mandello.
We missed the celebration of 100 years of Moto Guzzi by a couple of weeks but that suited us, despite the official party being cancelled we heard 8000 people still attended which was considered very quiet (and better according to most) We had dinner at the campsite on the first night and in a nearby (new) restaurant on night two and then visited the Mandello Guzzi club clubroom (we had an invitation) another great night talking Guzzi!
Leaving Mandello we headed North to Chiavenna for sadly our last meal in Italy this trip before taking the Splugen pass into Switzerland but thats for another Installment!
Summing up Italy, great weather, fantastic food, great people, busy traffic and evidence of building and repairs everywhere so hopefully from those indicators the Italian economy is on the up. Nobody asked for "our papers" except one restaurant in Mandello and when our QR code didn't work with the Italian Covid app it wasn't a problem, a shrug of the shoulders and "oh well it must only work for Italians"
|A vino at our local|
|My favourite bar in Dolceaqua now closed and for sale|
|Bruno's pal working on his Bianchi|
|And later on his Morini|
|The path to the village, interesting bridge|
|My own wine!|
|Cinquecento meeting in the village square|
|Bruno doing repairs to Luigi's pickup|
|Looking at the Med|
|Waiting for Steva in the town square|
|Bikes parked amongst the Olives|
|Fuel and respite just before Milan|
|Must be Mandello|
|Even the beer pumps are Guzzi|
|small harbour on Lake Como|
|Sun going down, Fiona operating the drone|
|Guzzi club Mandello|
|Some of the guys bikes|
|Mandello camping Continental|
|Ferry to Bellagio was full and we didn't want to wait an hour for the next one|
|So we waved it goodbye|
|Heading up the Splugen pass|
|Thats all folks!|