Unexpected change of plans – Italy here I come
After dropping Fiona and Monique at Geneva airport on Wednesday afternoon I decided to stay at the closest Aires for the night. This happened to be the one at Saint Genis in a supermarket car park. There is a sign indicating that there is an Aires but I would have missed it had it not been for the fact two Dutch motorhomes were already parked there. There was also a machine that would take tokens to allow you to plugin to an electric hookup and take on fresh water. After visiting the supermarket for some supplies I got comfortable for the night.
The next morning I was still undecided where to head to next, Switzerland perhaps, Austria or maybe stay in France a while longer. In the end I drove back to Chamonix to have another look around while I mulled it over. Somehow the GPS started playing up and despite the fact I had set it to not use any toll roads it sent me through the Mont Blanc tunnel, an expensive mistake. Once out the other side in Italy I had a decision to make. After stopping for some fuel I had a look In my Alan Rogers Italian campsite guide to see where I could stay locally but decided to take an arduous trip up the steep mountain pass back to Chamonix.
Once in Chamonix it was clear that the Aires was at a cable car station and not that central. I noticed lots of motorhomes in parking bays very close to the town centre including one UK registered one. It turned out they were an Australian couple and they confirmed they had stayed there the previous night and it was allowed for a 24 hour period. Once parked up I walked around town, cooked myself a meal and closed the blinds for the night.
Friday morning I was still deciding where to head next. Switzerland appealed but I knew wild camping was not allowed. I also knew that the places I wanted to visit close to Interlaken would require use of public transport which would be expensive. As a result I began to look into the idea of continuing south into Provence but the issues of getting internet access in France were beginning to frustrate me. I had read that Chamonix tourist office had free wifi and so I took my laptop to get some jobs done. Unfortunately their connection was infuriatingly slow and my laptop battery was running low waiting for pages to load. I returned to the vehicle and sent a friend from Motorhome Facts called Russell a text bemoaning how bad internet access was here in France. I assumed he was in the UK but he replied immediately saying he was at a campsite near Lake Garda. I really did need to get decent internet access and Russell mentioned he’d got a good connection on a new TIM SIM card. And so it was decided I would head to Lake Garda for a couple of nights and Russell would help me get my own TIM SIM card.
Whilst I was sad to be leaving the views of the French Alps I would not miss some of the mountain roads which were impossibly steep. I had to face them one last time, zig zagging hairpin bends without seemingly getting you any closer to your destination (as the crow flies). I managed to hit traffic on the outskirts of Milan which meant it was about 8:30pm before I finally arrived at Camping Trevisago in Moniga del Garda. For the rest of the evening I sat outside Russell’s posh Swift motorhome helping him and his friend drink some beers. It was a sweltering evening and the air seemed full of things intent on biting you.
On Saturday morning Russell kindly came with me on the bus to Desanzano where I purchased the SIM card that would finally allow me to access the internet. After a stop at a cafe for a drink I went for a wander by myself to take some photographs before meeting back at the bus stop for the return to the campsite.
It was a fiercely hot day again and whilst our pitches did offer some shade none of us had the energy to do anything. I was to leave the following day and Russell gave me some suggestions about where I might head to next. When he suggested the Dolomites I liked the idea of gaining altitude where it might be cooler. I just needed to know that there would be some Aree Di Sostas or other free overnight places which is where the internet connection would come in handy.
Sunday morning I left a message on the Motorhome Facts forum asking for information and sure enough lots of useful replies came back. After filling my freshwater tank I left the campsite, giving Russell and his friend a lift to Desanzano as they were meeting a British girl they knew who was now living in Northern Italy. After thanking Russell for all his help I was again back on my own and heading north for the Dolomites!