September 2017
  • Day2

    Heading for the Hull Ferry

    September 6, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    Wednesday 6th September
    We leave home around 5.30pm to catch the Hull to Rotterdam Ferry and by 7pm we are on board and heading for the restaurant after dropping our overnight bags in our cabin.
    After a lovely meal and a couple of drinks we have a walk around the ship and then return to our cabin hoping to get a good night's sleep.Read more

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  • Day3

    Thursday

    September 7, 2017 in the Netherlands ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    7th September
    We drive off the ferry in Rotterdam at around 9am after a good night's sleep, a huge breakfast and several cups of coffee. Remembering to drive on the right, we pass through Holland into Germany and after 310 miles arrive at our hotel in Trennfeld, Bavaria. We find it with the help of the sat-nav, a nice family run place and in the evening we have a delicious meal in the hotel restaurant. Later we are told by a Dutch couple, who took a different route from Rotterdam, that they were held up for 3hours due to an accident on the autobahn. We are very pleased we took a different route.Read more

  • Day4

    Friday

    September 8, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    8th September
    After a good night's sleep and a Bavarian breakfast we leave Trennfeld and head for Oberaudorf which is on the Austrian border. We drive past fields of grape-vines and hop-bines and miles of roadworks, there are also lots of fields of solar panels! We stop for coffee and a snack in Ingolstadt, a lovely town on the River Danube. The sat-nav diverts us off the autobahn due to an accident ahead and we drive through some beautiful towns including Brannenburg. Oberaudorf is absolutely beautiful, it's a warm afternoon and after checking into our hotel we take a stroll around. Later we head out to eat and decide to try the gasthaus just across the road "Alpenrose" is a beautiful building, it is a traditional Bavarian restaurant and the portions of food are HUGE we should have ordered one between us! The German's eat a lot.Read more

  • Day5

    Saturday

    September 9, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    9th September
    Oberaudorf is the most idyllic village located in the Alpine foothills of the Bavarian Alps. The buildings are really beautiful with extravagant artwork painted on the houses and geraniums and petunias cascading from the balconies. We drive a few miles to Brannenburg, the day is taking some time to warm up but eventually the sun peeks through. After walking around the town we drive to the River Inn and walk alongside, there are alpine flowers everywhere and we have a good view of the Alps and the Wendelstein Mountain. This afternoon we take the chair-lift from Oberaudorf village centre up the Hocheck Mountain where there are good views of the Kaiser Mountains. It is quite cold going up but the sun comes out again on the way back down and we both thoroughly enjoy the experience. Later we walk to a restaurant quite close to our hotel, we do struggle with the language in Germany but we manage to order some delicious food and the portions are much more manageable tonight!Read more

  • Day6

    Sunday

    September 10, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    10th September
    We are out of Germany and into Austria by 9am this morning, it is pouring with rain and the Alps are clothed with thick clouds. There is a huge amount of traffic on the autobahn which surprises us as it's a Sunday. This is our third visit to Austria, the first time we got an on the spot fine for speeding and the second time we got an on the spot fine for not having a 'vignette ' (toll sticker). We have driven across Austria by 10.30am and this time manage not to get a fine. We drive straight into Italy, no stopping or checks but the roads are still very busy and it is still raining with low clouds. We notice a difference in the price of fuel, it's 1.83€ here and we are pleased that we were advised to fill up in Germany where it was 1.05€
    We arrive at our hotel in San Zeno di Montagna it has taken us a while to find it as it's in a village high up above Lake Garda but we have a balcony with a lovely view of the lake. Go out to eat at a very nice Italian restaurant, when we ask the waiter if he can translate an item on he menu he tells us what it is in German! Finish off the evening with drinks in the hotel bar. We are hoping the sun will be shining tomorrow.
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  • Day7

    Monday

    September 11, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    11th September
    We wake up to a wet morning and head down to the lakeside but the traffic is horrendous and there is nowhere to park. We decide to head back up to San Zeno di Montagna, we have coffee and a cake in the village and then return to our hotel to relax a while. It has stopped raining but the day is still very grey, there are really lovely views of the lake from up here and I head out with my camera then later I take some photos of the sunset from our balcony.
    We have a lovely meal in the hotel restaurant tonight, it's been a relaxing day. We are hoping the sun will be shining tomorrow...
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  • Day8

    Tuesday

    September 12, 2017 in San Marino ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    12th September
    The day starts with a severe thunderstorm which continues through breakfast, the weather is so bad we sit in the lounge and read for a while. Around noon small patches of blue sky start to appear and we venture out dressed for wet weather. We turn left out of the hotel and head north, there are a lot of hair-pin bends to negotiate and the roads are flooded with rainwater pouring from the mountainside. Yesterday the traffic around Garda was horrendous but so far it is not too busy in Torri del Benaco and we manage to find a parking space. Lake Garda is so Beautiful but the dramatic weather continues here with gale force winds making it difficult to walk but the sun is shining and there are lots of people walking around. We sit outside and drink coffee while the waiters struggle to keep the tablecloths anchored down and the menus on the table. There is a lot of spray coming off the lake and all the little boats are bobbing up and down. After a while we move on towards the village of Garda but once again we are soon in a long queue of cars, hardly moving and just like yesterday there is nowhere to park. We continue along the road and stop at a shopping area where we buy some water and wine. It is really hot now that we have left the lakeside and we sit outside with an ice cream before setting off again.
    The hotel "Bellavista" is lovely, the staff are exceptionally friendly and welcoming, they go out of their way to be helpful. Our room is clean and quite large and from the balcony we can see the lake, there is a lounge downstairs with a bar and lots of tables and chairs outside. We are going to eat in the restaurant again tonight as we had an excellent meal last night, starting with a glass of Prosecco, salad, pasta, main course and pudding for 16€.
    The village San Zeno di Montagna is very picturesque and we have walked the length of it a few times, there are restaurants and a few shops and places to sit outside with coffee or ice cream. The only problem is we're high up above the lake and it's a 15 minute drive down, it's not very far but the road winds round several hair-pin bends. This is our second visit to Lake Garda and we now realise the best place to stay is somewhere within walking distance of the lake which means you can leave the car at the hotel and if necessary take public transport. Parking is nearly impossible around Lake Garda with slow moving traffic queues and this is the middle of September.
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  • Day9

    Wednesday

    September 13, 2017 in San Marino ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    13th September
    We leave Hotel Bellavista, heading south to San Marino and the sun is shining! San Marino is a state enclosed by north-central Italy, it's famous for its medieval walled old town and it is one of the richest countries in the world with low unemployment and a highly stable economy. The capital city is also called San Marino, Mount Titano part of the Appenine range dominates the landscape and three towers sit on the mountain slopes; Montale, Guaita & De la Fratta. We drive through Rimini into San Marino and after dropping our bags at Hotel Rossi we set out to explore the area. It is absolutely fascinating, we leave the car and take a lift up the mountainside where there are cobbled streets and old buildings with fantastic views from the top.
    We decide to eat in the hotel restaurant tonight and what a lively experience it turns out to be, for a Wednesday night it is extremely busy with people coming and going continuously & everyone knows everyone else. (Except us)! We eat lasagne and a fairly decent bottle of house red. There is a long table set for a group of people with several homemade banners " senza del dima" translates as "without smoke", we don't know what that means there is also a buffet set out for a crowd. We hear a lot of noise around midnight but we soon get off to sleep again.
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  • Day10

    Thursday

    September 14, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    14th September
    The first thing we find out this morning is that two San Marino football teams were in the restaurant last night celebrating the start of the football season.
    We set off for Montecatini and decide to keep off the autostrada and drive over the Appenine Mountains as far as possible. It is an interesting drive of around 100 miles climbing round the narrow roads and then descending, there's hardly any traffic but we do get stopped at roadworks a couple of times. We stop for coffee at a village in the mountains. The Hotel Pia looks very nice and there is secure parking, we have a balcony that looks out over a square with a very vigorous fountain. I don't think we'll be sleeping with the balcony doors open tonight!
    The Italian coffee culture is quite complicated and we are determined to understand it so that we actually get what we want. A Cappuccino is equal parts espresso, steamed milk & foamed milk and is usually drunk at breakfast with a pastry. Caffe Latte is espresso with more steamed milk and Less foam and Latte Macchiato is steamed milk 'marked ' with a dash of espresso. All these are drunk in the morning before 11am. If you order a 'caffe' you get an espresso, this is their normal coffee and Caffe Americana is espresso diluted with plenty of hot water. If you just ask for a 'Latte' you get a glass of milk. (Which is what you've asked for)!
    It is a warm evening and we take a short walk into the centre of Montecatini. It is buzzing! We sit outside at a bar we have been to before 'Cucina Toscana'. Pasta, Prosecco, Vino and live music too, we have a really lovely evening.
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  • Day11

    Friday

    September 15, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    15th September
    It is a beautiful morning in Montecatini and after breakfast we take a walk around the town. There is an unexpected short shower but it is still warm and it's not long before the sun is back out and it's hotter than ever. We sit at a corner cafe and watch the world go by, people dress very smartly in Montecatini-Terme both in the daytime and the evening, we do some shopping and, of course, have a gelato. The houses and hotels all look stunning, painted in the sienna colours and the shutters are traditionally green. Walking round this morning we came across the hotel where we stayed on our last visit here in 2013. The scrapes on the ceiling of the underground car park are still visible where George got the Navara stuck!! The truck was just too high to get in the car park, fortunately, the hotel manager managed to find us somewhere else to park.
    A lazy day today, although we have been to the laundrette; it has now started raining so we are going to eat in our lovely hotel restaurant tonight.
    We have just had a delicious Italian meal, salad, pasta, steak & potatoes. I couldn't manage a pudding but George had a creme caramel. Then we had some amaretti biscuits with a wine liquor & I had a Grappa in the bar which was delicious but George wasn't keen. La Spezia tomorrow, hope it stops raining.
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