Saturday 7th, early hours
Arrived at port 2:45am. Drove through the dark until sunrise. Watched sun washing French fields in a rosy morning glow. Crossed over border into Switzerland around 11am. Beautiful country. Giant hills loom like black shadowy giants to the left and right of us. The contrast between these sleeping mountains and the golden green fields is stunning. Stopped at the nicest service station I've ever been to: vegetable garden complete with grape vines, mini hedged maze, crescent moon of picnic benches where we met two very strange long-legged birds; sort of a cross between storks and flamingoes, very shy and jumpy but too fond of crusts and crumbs to stay away.
The Alps were breath-taking- you can't imagine the haunting heights of these snow-capped mountains until you've been dwarfed beneath them in your tiny, vulnerable tin car, straining your neck peering into the clouds. Through Gotthard tunnel- 17km- the 2nd longest in the world. Nearly died of claustrophobia! Took us 15 whole minutes before I beheld blue skies and open air once more! On the other side we crossed into Italy on the sparkling shores of Lake Como- lucky Mr Clooney to have a villa here!
Getting quite tired now, felt like it's taken an age just to reach Bologna. Slept for
a bit and when I woke, we were heading towards Firenze Sud (south of Florence) and trying to work out where in this huge city we were staying! Rosary Gardens was a very nice hotel. Never stayed in a room with champagne and a safe! Bed rock hard (Martin's idea of the perfect bed, my idea of a good brick wall) but thumbs up for sheer size; boiling hot shower was the most incredible experience after 28 hours of driving! Before bed (or rather, passing out), went for dinner at a restaurant next door the hotel. Had my fave pizza, quattro stagioni (four seasons), unfortunately senza alichie (or however you spell anchovies in Italian!). Bed at 11.45. Crash.