1971: June 8, Venice/Milan/Lugano

After that storm, we were rather worried about getting the tent packed up but after a slow start the day warmed up quite well, and we were able to get on, rather later than anticipated but quite fast, having done a fair amount of packing the previous night. I’ve found the thin green tunic and trousers suit extremely useful, wearing it for travelling, covering up sun burn, and wearing in the evening when it’s cool. Like wearing pyjamas all the time!

Long crawl to Venice – Cavalinio market day, and the traffic leading to it fantastic – several ranks of parked cars, coaches, etc., masses of stalls (lots of shoes, glass, copper pots, clothes) and hundreds of people. Joined the autostrada at Venice/Mestre, and then able to get a move on, and paying 2000 lire for the privilege. Road through very boring country really (N.B. We passed a real pontoon bridge on the way to Venice – Andrew was very pleased) with tall grape vines trained in a Y shape. Various large garages had sinisterly entitled ‘Tourist Markets’ attached – they looked awful. By-passed various depressing looking towns, and finally got to Milan, the worst of the lot.

N.B. Lots of new factories all along the route, result of the Common Market?

Went round the N. perimeter of melancholy Milan, and on the autostrada to Como, climbing steadily. Como looked very pretty, slopes falling very steeply to the lake. Crossed into Switzerland at Chiasso – weather still very hot, clocks now put back an hour from Italian time.

Continued climbing to Lugano – buildings quite Alpine in character now. Found our camp site. Pedemonte, Melano, right on the lakeside. Fairly small site (especially in comparison with Marina di Venezia!) but very pretty, grass and wooded and lovely views all round, mountains rising steeply behind us to very craggy tops. Put up the tent, all working hard, then had tea – ham, tomatoes, crisps, wine and then fruit cocktail and mandarin oranges. Children had a lovely game in the meadow and by the lake, and fell asleep as soon as we put them to bed. Had a walk into Melano – noticed a gratifying increase in the number of imported British cars in Switzerland incidentally. Looked at the lights of Lugano round the lake, then returned and went to bed. This site is fairly near the main railway line, fascinating watching all the different trains, including the Trans Europ Express (red and cream), local trains, and the hotch-potch of mixed cars, international trains and very long goods trains. Frequently 2 locomotives to take them over the St Gotthard.

However, we were not kept awake by the trains, rather to our surprise.

245 miles.


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