So I think I have finally mastered the art of the Italian road trip, and the answer is…drive at night. I made a vow to tackle as much of the 7 hour journey from Zurich to Sinalunga under the cover of darkness and it paid off. I was required to make one stop to sleep in a lay by on the motorway because my copilot couldn’t stay awake any longer. It was perfect until we were awoken by an angry beeping truck driver. We made it to Toscana in good time and explored the hill top town of Montepulciano simply because its one of my favourite wine regions. From there we realised that we had lucked out on the hotel beyond all expectations. Such a beautiful garden overlooking Sinalunga within crawling distance of the gorgeous Teatro wedding venue. One of my best friends of all time decided to get hitched here after her engagement there the previous year. They couldn’t have picked a better spot if they tried. It was as though Wes Anderson had directed the ceremony. I can honestly say that I have never eaten and drank so much at any event before in my life. It was relentless, but because it was too good an opportunity to waste, everyone continued gorging on the phenomenal food that was continually produced. Hands down wedding of a lifetime, without any of the cheesiness.
After the wedding it was onwards to Sienna, the beautiful medieval town where we visited the museum of torture and stumbled across Tony Adams, holidaying and losing his family in the crowds! The torture museum was a bit of a macabre afternoon of entertainment but interesting to see just how horrific human beings were towards each other in the middle ages. Of all the gelato we samples, I think Sienna had the best. I can’t help myself when it comes to cioccolato fondente, but trying ‘muffin’ for the first time which was full of blueberries finally knocked me out of my boring same flavour selection streak. We managed to squeeze in a cheeky visit to Pisa for sunset, which was a slightly confusing tourist location, given that everyone is there for only that one attraction. Its yet another one of those sites that makes you feel perplexed as to whether its real or not. I had a final farewell dropping of my friend at the airport and headed up to Cinque Terre for another night in the love mobile. We woke up at sunrise overlooking the cliff edge and took a wander around some of the bays and got a final summer swim in the ocean before returning to our landlocked nation.
From Italian heat it was back across the border to the pouring rain and fog of Switzerland. We stopped off in Brig for Grandma visiting duties before taking the Grimsel pass. Despite the excitement of a Help the Heroes rally convoy, it was a mild disappointment because I had to drive at 30kmph at all times as I was barely able to see my own hand let alone another car, so the views were lost in the fog. But it was made up for in rope bridge adventures on the other side. This bridge delivers you at the foothill of the steepest furnicular railway I’ve ever seen, would definitely love to go back in the snow. The final stop was in Aareschlucht to see the gorge in the driving rain. It didn’t make the slightest bit of difference under the dripping rocks as you were bound to get drenched anyway, but it meant that it was almost tourist free, so I had the creepy place to myself. I was dubious at first but its really worth doing the full walk, the rock formations are really rather impressive, says the geography geek in me.