Thursday 28 September 2023

The journey

Now that the house is dorrised and everything unpacked though not necessarily into the right location, I thought I’d tell you a little about our journey from Yorkshire to Lazio.

We left at 4.30 on Saturday morning and had a fast smooth journey to Dover.  We were fortunate to be allowed onto an earlier ferry, the port was surprisingly busy.  We boarded and queued for coffee and pastries, of mediocre quality.  There was an inaudible announcement and we didn’t depart as expected.  After about 15 minutes delay we noticed armed French police walking round, about half a dozen of them with automatic weapons their fingers on the triggers.  This went on for a while before we finally set sail, I hoped they had stayed on board in case there was an incident. When we disembarked three of the police we’re waiting as we drove off the ferry, goodness knows what they were looking for or maybe it was just an exercise but it didn’t make for a relaxing crossing.

However we were still earlier arriving in Calais than we’d expected and not under such pressure to get to our first over night in the champagne region.  We stopped in one of the nice picnic areas for a snack and arrived at the little town where we had a booking around 6.  And we were of course staying in an old folks home, I kid you not.  MrFF had found accommodation in a complex of apartments for the independent elderly that also lets some of them for visitors or holiday makers.  It was amazing. I’ll show you below but we got a very spacious one bedroom apartment with a well equipped kitchen, balcony, there was also a small pool, sauna, outside space with great landscaping and nice furniture, secure parking, a restaurant and a bar (that closed at 8 pm), even bathrobes and slippers which we didn’t use both to save the environment but also because we paid only about £75.   The staff and the residents we met were all friendly and helpful, the old folks as we called them forgetting that we may be older, we’re elegant and sprightly, we really enjoyed our stay.

We slept well and set off on our second days travel, this time to the nice hotel in Aosta where we have already stayed twice this year.  We passed into Italy at the top of the San Bernard pass and coasted down to our hotel. We had a different room, this time with both a mountain view and a balcony, we slept with the curtains open admiring the lights across the valley.

The third day of our journey is always the worst, I dread it.  We join the autostrada almost immediately and stay on it all day.  Traffic is always heavy and often manic, we got held up around Genoa queueing in tunnels which I hate and stopping at busy and expensive services though fortunately we still had some picnic food that kept us going.  When we came to the exit and pay station our ticket collected at the start of the day wouldn’t work, we and the cars behind us all had to reverse from the booth so that we could find help.  We paid almost 73 euros for our day on the autostrada, collected a few essentials and arrived at our house around 7 pm.  Grigio was here waiting on the terrace, delighted to see us as we were to see her.  

The house was as ever full of dust and dead insects, I ignored all that and cooked us some quick pasta after a brief tour of the garden, which wasn’t as bad as I expected given it hadn’t been watered during one of the hottest summers for years.

It takes a few days to recover from such a long drive, we both seem to suffer from a type of motion sickness where we feel we are still moving when we are not. It takes a few days to get the house and garden back in order, to remember where things are and to feel at home.  The weather has been lovely and we’ve made time to sit and rest.  We have Grigio and are waiting for Enrico, we have hope as it took him a week to appear last time which is a bit rude when we have made such an effort to get back to him.


  1. Very inconsiderate of Enrico - probably off galivanting with a lady friend somewhere! Stressful trip but, I'm sure, worth the effort.

  2. That is one epic journey! I hope Enrico arrives soon.

  3. I hope Enrico is home soon, and you have rested after your journey, even with the views and good night stops it's always great when you reach your destination.

  4. Fingers crossed that Enrico turns up soon.
    We find that the long journeys seem to get harder every year but your restful overnight stop looks like just the job to steel you for the last leg of it.