We've finally taken the decision to buy a house in Italy - I'm so excited! We have a week off in March and may visit to start looking at some property. We have driven down from mid-Wales many times but never in late winter/early spring.
We love dring to Italy. Have just come back from 2 weeks travelling round the north. Usually have night in Folkestone then 2 nights in Chamonix to break the journey. This year we drove through Switzerland after that and over the Passo del Sempioneand had a night in Bavaria and a visit to one of King Ludwigs castles and then a stop in Belgium on way home. In fact this time last week we were on the A22 going north. Missing Italy already. Roll on next year and early retirement which includes plans to move to La bel paese.
We normally do the French route down and the Germany/Belgium route back. We've found a great little place in Belgium about 5-10 mins off the motorway exit by the European Space Centre in a place called Smuid. It's a family run inn with the most amazing food - Hostellerie Des Tilleuls. We've stayed there about 5 times - great place to spend the last night of the hols and about 3 and half - 4 hours to the Eurotunnel so an easy drive.
We use AA European cover and have done for years. Cost depends on car type/age and length of cover. I think we paid about £80/90 last year for an 8yr old Jag for about 18 days single trip insurance. We get a bit of a discount for being AA members. Possibly not the cheapest but covers a range of eventualities. Probably best to shop around though. Hve a great trip. We're really looking forward to our road trip to Italy in July.
We drive down for holidays every year and much prefer the freedom of having our own car. Saving our pennies for petrol this year as have just got an 8yr old S type Jag!! However the comfort and the space for wine purchases will make the pain of the petrol costs worthwhile.
Sorry didn't register that you weren't docking until 7pm but I would recommend Smiud for future trips. We go to Italy again on 8th June - can't wait.
We always stop in a lovely family run inn - Hostellerie Des Tilleuls in Smuid, It's about 3 and 1/2 hrs from the Channel Tunnel off junction 23 or 24 - the European Space Centre exit. About 5-10 mins off the motorway. Ver reasonable - comfort rooms are the best about 80 euros. The food is exceptional and this year will be about the 5th time we've stayed on the way back from Italy. We're now treated like old friends!
I've just been reading our UK papers - Daily Telegraph and Independent and apparently Signor Berlusconi has been taped making disparaging remarks about Italy. Personally I love the place and can't wait for our next trip at the end of next week to do some more sightseeing and chill out.
Let Autumn commence after we've been - leave Blighty on 9th Sept and arrive home on 25th with a wander through France on the way and Germany/Belgium on way home via Umbria, Lago di Garda and i Dolomiti. I can't wait - and we would love some warm weather coming from slightly damp mid-Wales - although has been nice and warm the last few days.
Thanks Alan for the tip regarding the quick route into Switzerland. We may use that in September as it makes sense to go the Swiss route now we've got the vignette for the year.
We are also planning to retire to Italy when hubby retires in 3yrs. We've just had our first exciting househunting trip and have seen a possiblemodest house in Umbria and are awaiting some estimates for the renovations, however we may decide to wait and return in September for another look as it's a big step.