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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

High, higher than the sun

From the campsite in Switzerland, near Locarno, to our current site at Passo della Futa in Tuscany, about 30 kms north of Firenze, is just over 350 kms in distance, but it feels we have travelled much further.  It’s not just the language, everything about Italy is different; warm coloured stone farmhouses, roads littered with signage, very crusty bread and gregarious people;  it is good to be back.

After paying a small ransom to use the AutoStrada so that we could cross the Po and arrive south of Bologna in a day, we emerged from the van hot and tired at this lovely terraced campsite at 900m with distracting views across numerous tree clad hills.

On our first evening we sat absorbed and happy; watching the sun fall down behind the hills from our pitch with a view.  The next morning we were surprised to wake and find we were in the clouds and it took a few hours for the sun to once more find its way through.

To check anyone’s sunny mood, 500m from the campsite is a German Military Cemetery, an imposing monument built in the 1960s and immaculately maintained by the German State.  We always feel an obligation to stop for a moment at such place and reflect on the lives of all the young men who died for a war.  We had directions from the campsite and continued on a marked path through beech and pine woods, with brightly flowering hawthorn bushes and thyme underfoot, reaching a cross on a hill with a stone altar underneath.  We had lunch in this elevated spot and watched the insect life busy on the flowers around us.

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