To Italy for Rogers birthday party!

Our beloved friend Roger
Roger is a wonderful friend of ours and every 5 years he celebrates his birthday in a big way. This year was his 85th and he invited 70 of us to celebrate it with him in Bologna, Italy. Wow! I want to be just like Roger when I’m 85, just minus the moustache…

Our beloved friend Roger
So off we set on our 1100km drive to help him celebrate his birthday with much Italian wine and deevine food and company. The journey in itself was a major mission. We set off on the Wednesday and overnighted right on the beach near Sete, on the Mediterranean coast.

By the time dawn broke, our tiny camper van was being jostled from side to side by hurricane style winds. We decided to breakfast inside the van…

Camera crew filming the flooding
Thursday saw us being hurtled forward by the wind and enjoying watching the waves break over the shores. We managed to find a spot in the lee of Mount Vinaigre – literally Vinegar Mountain – about 15km’s outside of Cannes and spent a peaceful night there.

Mount Vinegar
By the time dawn broke, our tiny camper van was being pelted with driving rain. We decided to breakfast inside the van…

The rain was torrential and often the windscreen wipers couldn’t keep up with it. There were palm trees across the roads, major flooding, pine trees uprooted and re-rooted on top of cars… A very exciting day! We drove through Monaco and Monte Carlo which we would normally find hideous as they are basically just one enormous block of concrete, but with the black skies and driving rain, it had a surreal beauty.
Monaco by storm
Windscreen wipers a not working

We crossed over into Italy and no more high rise buildings, just beautiful Italian romantic architecture. I can really recommend the Italian coastline – they have paid attention to retaining classical beauty rather than glitzy high rises. And the sun came out!!! So we walked along the promenade in Noli and enjoyed blue skies and calm seas. We then found a lovely overnight spot near the cemetry – I love cemetries so quieten down back there!
Italian boat
Noli from high

By the time dawn broke, our tiny camper van was breathing out and enjoying the red morning skies (got ya!). We decided to breakfast inside the van...what can I say, it still wasn’t very hot outside!

Today was Sunday and we drove through Genoa. Wow, it’s really lovely despite the large amount of traffic – even on a Sunday. The great thing about Italian drivers is that although they completely ignore all traffic rules, they are aware of other cars and let people (us included) pull in and out on a whim. My Hubby appears to be Italian as he had the window wound down and was gesticulating along with the rest of them. Super.

After many a strange turn (due to me listening to the sat-nav/gps as The Husband would not normally do so) and much admiration of Italian fields and bike paths, we arrived in Bologna and spent the night on a campsite just 8km’s from the city centre.
Sun through the trees
By the time dawn broke, our tiny camper van was in full action as we started preparations for THE PARTY. We decided not to breakfast at all, but rather to wait for lunch!
In the restaurant

I will post THE PARTY after this post, so you will just have to wait. It is fair to say that THE PARTY was amazing and Roger, no matter where you celebrate your 90th, WE WILL BE THERE!!!

The day after the party we set off back to France and spent the night in the French Alps next to a Silver Mine Museum. We had hoped to go down below and have a good look around, but it was closed. Oh well, at least it was a peaceful place to stay.

Snow on the road

By the time dawn broke, our tiny camper van was practically frozen solid! We were hovering just around 0°C and the morning ablutions took a lot less time than usual. We decided to breakfast inside the van…

And then we had snow!!! So basically on this trip we had every weather condition possible. But it was fun and we WILL be doing it all over again. Thank you Roger for being such a wonderful human being and a friend. Love C&Jxxx

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