Our final week, a last hurrah, and a dash across Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and France.
It was the briefest of interludes into Switzerland, still, in this country at least we managed to abide by the law and buy a Vignette at the border.
Our destination was a campsite not far from the northern lake town of Lacarno. After the damp squib that was our final day in Italy, the well-appointed campsite Lido Mappo was most welcome. And, what luck! A break in the weather which allowed Katie and I to get our tent up and once again double our living space. That evening we paid a brief (but expensive) visit to the campsite bar, then cooked-up a pasta-storm back at chez-Roobottom.
We awoke on Tuesday to beautiful sunshine. Using a combination of extremely poor Italian and much better English (on the part of the campsite staff) we’d established the the thing to do 'round these parts was to take the air with a brisk walk into Lacarno.
Being near the border Lacarno has brilliant mixture of Italian Joie de vivre and Swiss preciseness, that for us slightly obsessive compulsive types, is infinitely appearing. We ate pizza in the square before hiking up the many almost vertical side-streets to explore.
I think the most abiding memory of this place is the view over the lake. I don’t really think there’s anything to separate this place from Lake Garda, it’s just different, but equally beautiful. I managed to get some pictures that almost capture some small part of it’s beauty. I imagine it’s hard to communicate the feeling you associate with a place through pictures or words alone. It’s probably why those that do are few and far between. I’m certainly not counting myself there, if you were wondering.
In the afternoon we took the camper up the mountain to the Verzasca Dam where apparently, if you’re so inclined, you can do a 220m bungee jump just like James Bond in Goldeneye. As we weren’t feeling that adventurous we made do with scaring ourselves by gawping over the fence at the dizzying drop. Why, after seeing that, you’d want to tie a piece of elastic around your legs and jump off I really couldn’t guess.
On Wednesday we moved on to Germany, excited for our next adventure, but with the glimpse of the heavy heart that always accompanies a return to reality after a spectacular holiday. And spectacular this holiday has certainly been. It seems surreal at this point we’ve already driven nearly 2,000 miles. Pat on the head, van, for not letting us down — Thank goodness we didn’t buy a VW.
It’s a sign of how far north we now were that we saw the first British numberplate for almost two weeks. Then another, and another. By the time we arrived at Trend Camping we were surrounded by the buggers.
The campsite had a rather nice bar which severed traditional German fare and local ales. So, despite the mud, it got the thumbs up from us. Especially when we discovered the huge power-showers, with massaging side-jets and everything. Luxury.
On Thursday we used the free bus and train pass that the campsite provided to visit the nearby Wolfach, a jolly little place that was once the hub of log-rafting and home to the pom-pom hat.
The center of the town is lovely, with cobbled streets and shops full of delicious looking things. It’s surrounded by glorious grassy hills and meadows, the kind you might imagine yourself running through into the arms of a Bavarian maiden. If you were so inclined.
And then it was Friday. Only two days left of our holiday. How did that happen? Oh well, we thought, nothing for it but to spend some time in Belgium.
What an amazing find for our last night. Camping Ile de Faigneul is a site on it’s own island in the middle of a river. We’d have loved to spend more time in this tranquil place, but alas this was just an overnight stop on our way to Calais, the tunnel and home.
We spent that last night as we did some many others, eating pasta, playing cards and watching Mad Men.
So it was with heavy hearts that we made our way thorough France to the Eurotunnel. We just had time to shop in the insanely large supermarket complex in Calais before boarding our train back to normality.
That was it then. The end of a fantastic adventure that was entirely too short. It got dark at some point while were under the sea. Emerging onto cold, damp British soil we felt ready for a bed that wasn’t slightly too short. Home then. We’ll see you next time Europe, next time.