After a lovely Easter Vigil with the Old Catholic congregation in Freiburg, then an early sunrise service on the hills overlooking the city, and topped off with five baptisms on Easter morning – I was ready for a holiday.
A small camping site on the end of Lake Como (the opposite end to Clooney’s villa) was our home base for a few days of relaxation and exploring. In a relatively short time we had driven through Switzerland and entered Italy via the Gotthard tunnel. You know you’ve arrived in Italy as all of a sudden every driver behind you feels like they are in the trunk of your car and all the men look like George Clooney.
With some unseasonably cool weather pouring south over the alps, we had no use for our swimwear that we brought with us having expected warm wind from the Sahara to be blowing its way north. No matter. We found lots to do and explore. An old church pilgrimage site over looking the lake, lakeside villages with loads of history, and fantastic coffee about every 100 metres. Italy has to be the place for breaking ones coffee fast over Lent.
Fully caffeinated and feeling a little more Italian, we drove to Milan for a day to see the some sights, but mostly we watched people strolling around the boulevards looking like they had just walked out of a fashion magazine.
Eventually it was time to return home to Germany. Knowing that the very lengthy tunnel passage through the Alps would, on a Saturday, be jam pack with traffic we opted for the scenic over the alps route. Unfortunately, the sign to indicate that the mountain pass we had chosen was closed was at the very bottom of the road (which we didn’t see) and the next notice sign was at the top. It was, despite the frustration, an amazing drive which reminded me of so many car chase scenes in a James Bond film. Hairpin turns, sheer drops, amazing snow capped peaks, and short one-way icicle filled tunnels made sure that you had both hands on the wheel.
Having to turn back and descend the mountain to find another available pass forced us to see more of the worlds famous skiing and alpine resorts. If anything, it was better than sitting in a two and a half hour traffic jam in the tunnel. We stopped for a coffee and snack at a small mountain top restaurant to be reminded that we had left Italy, and were now in Switzerland as the espresso coffee shot up in price to 4 Euros!
The holiday ended with us picking up the dog from the kennel. Sadly, the dog was not able to join us despite us finding a dog friendly campground. All the required inoculations for the dog made it so that he was not allowed out of the country. Or, as we were told by the veterinarian – you could likely take him out of Germany, but coming back (if you get caught) would be very costly with a forced 6 week quarantine period. Even with the dog having his Euro dog passport (yes, there is such a thing!) the new rules require a 3 week waiting period after a rabies booster injection.
All in all, we returned from the holiday relaxed and refreshed.