Had continental breakfast – rolls, honey, pineapple jam, blackcurrant jam and coffee. Children had hot milk which Andrew loathed – he is a little menace when it comes to anything different. Did some shopping in the supermarket – bread, milk, ham, wine, then rescued the car – we didn’t have to pay as there was no one to take our money which was nice! Paid the hotel – about £9 all told, and set off for Ulm and points south. Weather became fine, lots of traffic on the roads of course, and our speed was pretty low altogether that day. Each town had a crawl in and out with mostly holiday traffic – what on earth is it like in high summer? Had a coffee en route to Memmingen in a pleasant little cafe then drove on, climbing steadily towards the Alps, through Kempten. Hay drying on sticks and fences, houses ever more Alpine. Our road crossed the railway several times and we saw the little three-coach train this time – Gareth loved it. Had our lunch by the lake at Fusoen – Andrew and Gareth wore their pingle hats for the occasion and ate in between throwing sticks and stones into the water. Enjoyed our meal – ham, hard-boiled eggs, long loaf, wine and apples. Then on again, into Austria. Drove through numerous winter sport villages, with chair-lifts and ski-tow signs everywhere, and painted pictures on the chalet walls. Lots of brown-grey Alpine cows with their bells, meadows full of flowers. Came down the Fernpass, very reasonable gradient, into the Inn valley. Weather wet, of course. Passed Innsbruck, and on to the Brennen motorway. Crossed over the Europa bridge, a fantastic structure, 600′ above the River Inn. Really a very short run to the Brennen, only cost 2s.0d. at the toll. Spectacular engineering involved, with several bridges.
Got to the Brennen and Italian customs in torrential rain and had to wait for hours at the frontier while we got our Italian money, and petrol coupons stamped. The whole thing maddening and no effort made to speed things up or even to make it remotely easy. And no toilets either. Road was appalling and decided we would never make it to the next stop – Cortina – for the night – 3/4 of an hour at the frontier settled that of course, so we made for Bressanone. Italian Alpine soldiers around the roads in their feathered hats. Andrew most contemptuous of this outfit! Bressanone very crowded, streets very narrow and cobbled, and no pavements. Cars nonchalantly parked everywhere. Our spirits sank at the thought of finding somewhere to stay, and park the loaded car safely. Crossed the river and found a highly suitable hotel, thank heavens! Very Italian in its high rooms, shiny floors, old-fashioned furniture and holy pictures, but in fact German was the main language spoken. Decided to have supper there – another long wait while they cooked our chicken for us, just like Memmingen last year! Eventually plates of soup arrived, then chicken for the children, wiener schnitzel for us, and crisps and salad and wine. It tasted heavenly, and we all ate with great relish! Put children to bed in their vast room. Gareth had a room to himself, and the other two had two vast single beds pushed together. We went to bed not long after them – exhausted again! Still, another 300 miles achieved, so it is a relatively short trip to Venice tomorrow.
NB Sarah insisted on having a go with the bidet – trust her!