Sadly, Ken and Jacky have made the difficult decision to head for home. Ken’s back is worse, there’s a 45 degree roll to his walk and he does look rather comical. We’ve been very good and not laughed.
Before leaving Sistiana, we spoke to a Scottish couple, Brian and Shirley, who are on the road for 4 months and heading to Croatia. There was a long chat about vignettes in Slovenia (we hadn’t paid!) and the merits of different size motorhomes. The small Rollerteam Rainbow has been by far our best choice but even Kim doesn’t want to own one anymore!
The seaside town of Grado had been recommended to John and was only a 30 minute detour on our way to Lake Garda.
En route, we were distracted by the plant seller at the roadside and Kim couldn’t resist purchasing an Oleander.
She’s researching if it will have to be abandoned before leaving Italy, because it carries a risk of Xyllela pathogen and we’ll have to disinfect the van. It’s currently living in the van’s garage.
The drive into Grado was worth the effort but the walk along the seafront was completely underwhelming.
To recover from our disappointment, we stopped for elevenses in a small bar.
The route out of Grado had us reconsidering our view of the place, the lagoon side was rather nice.
We had a decision to make, should we head for Garda as planned or try and meet up with Ken and Jacky who were going straight to Innsbruck. We checked weather and campsite check in times and crossed Garda off our itinerary! 5 hours across the Dolomites and through the Italian Tyrol it was.
John wanted a more interesting drive so we left the motorway north of Udine and followed the SS52 along the valley of the Tagliomento River. It was raining hard but the villages were pretty. The little Fiat van breathed in as we squeezed round some very narrow roads. Alarm set in when we started to see cars with snow on them.
It got considerably worse, and there was no other way through. Temperatures dropped and rain turned to snow…
We followed a snow plough for miles- John was having the time of his life, wondering if we were allowed to overtake it.
The roads cleared for a while so we thought the van deserved a photo. There wasn’t as much snow on it as we had hoped.
Then we got to the point that a snowplough was behind us, we wished it was in front and even John was becoming alarmed by the conditions and wishing we had snow chains. Kim had been in a state of alarm for at least an hour!
We survived and re joined the motorway just south of the new Brenner Pass and, through heavy rain and snow, made it to Natterer See campsite just after 6.
Beer and chips in the campsite restaurant beckoned as a reward.
The biggest success of the day, apart from not crashing, is the van’s heating system is working. We are tucked up and toasty!