Back to Spain

Barcelona (Spain), 25.11.2013

225 days after leaving Spain on a sunny April morning, now came the day to get back. In the morning I packed the car and left Milan in bright sunshine. In no time I was on the motorway towards Genova and spent two hours to reach the border with France. Roads were excellent, traffic very light, weather good – perfect driving conditions. Starting my descent towards the Mediterranean, at some point a valley opened up in front of me, the sea at the end of it, a thick white cloud over the scene, and the sun made the water sparkle, while some white sails moved slowly on the horizon. I wanted to take pictures, but the narrow motorway didn’t allow for a stop. Continue reading “Back to Spain”

Milano

Milan (Italy), 25.11.2013

Born in Rome, the dislike of Milan has sort of been built into my DNA since childhood. After I got over this silly division with the years, I still never managed to get along with the city, even when I partially lived there for some time. Since this journey had changed my way of visiting and seeing places I thought I’d give Milan another try this time. There were a lot of friends to see again, that had kept contact throughout these months on the road by all means of digital communication to a point that even in the middle of the Mongolian steppe I was kept up to date on the latest developments in town. Continue reading “Milano”

Central Italy

Milan (Italy), 20.11.2013

The motorway from Rome to Milan is a straight and comfortable ride through an initially very beautiful land and on impeccable roads. I left Rome in the morning after rush hour and was astonished to reach the motorway just 15-20 minutes, usually this takes a lot longer. Weather was OK, and the first 1,5h went by quickly. After many months of driving on anything from bad to nonexistent roads, driving through Italy seemed like a driver’s paradise. Continue reading “Central Italy”

The Eternal City

Rome (Italy), 19.11.2013

Although I spent several days in Rome, it is difficult for me to write about it. Everything here was familiar, the city had barely changed in the last two decades, and after months of daily discoveries of new places and people I struggled to accept the return to a known world. I kept looking around like I did in so many other places, to see things I didn’t know and analyse the environment. And I found the love and despair I have always witnessed in the Eternal City. Continue reading “The Eternal City”

Mezzogiorno

Rome (Italy), 13.11.2013

As the Italian mainland came in sight I woke up on an uncomfortable bench in the ferry’s saloon. Around me some people were still sleeping while the kitchen crew started its preparations for breakfast. A cappuccino at the bar helped staring the day. Outside a fresh but not cold wind welcomed me. Industial chimneys were the first buildings on the shore to stand out. The docking procedures lasted not too long before the handful of cars drove off the ship onto the Brindisi port. At the port’s gates, a customs official asked me a few questions, but got confused by my accounts of where I was from, the journey I did and where I was heading to. Continue reading “Mezzogiorno”

Bonjour, Ciao and Dobro Vece!

Zagreb (Croatia), 16.04.2013

The day started with a walk through a park dotted with pines, cypresses, broom, rosemary, lavender and more Mediterranean plants whose names I don’t know. The air smelling of fire wood, the grass still covered with dew, we took a delicious breakfast looking over the Grasse valley. What a view, and what a marvelous landscape. We can only recommend Le Mas Candille!

It was in fact so beautiful that we left late. The last km of Côte d’Azur were spectacular. With 25 degrees and sunshine, the arid, Mediterranean mountains dipped into the blue sea, forming one bay after the other. As soon as we crossed into Italy, the road got worse, the towns grey, and the crazy drivers started appearing quite frequently. Then followed several hours of northern Italian motorway, through the Pianura Padana, not my favored spot. No clear view, flat land, too many trucks. It took until the end of the day when the landscape started to become more hilly in Veneto, and then with Dalmatian style rocks as we crossed into Slovenia. The Franco-Italian border was non-existent, here we found some Carabinieri staring at us but too lazy to stop us.

The Slovenian motorways are the best we had so far. New, clean, big – the Switzerland of all European Autobahn 😉 Unfortunately that was as much as we saw, since the night fell pitch black very quickly. 2h later we crossed into Croatia. Finally a real border! With passport control and customs! Our German IDs got us through in no time. Very practical travel documents.

30 mins later we left the motorway and entered a suburb of Zagreb, until arriving at the central Trg Bana Jelacica where we had booked a hotel. And here, surprise! “We have no rooms, we are full.” “But we booked through booking.com.” “Oh really? Then I guess my colleague did not turn off the online booking.” “Too bad. What solution do you offer to your problem now?” “???” “!!!”

We then got a room in another hotel nearby, and took off for very late night dinner. The center of Zagreb at night gave a glance of what we will see tomorrow morning.

Changes done to the blog: as suggested by Alex Wit, we inserted a Google Map with our stops. You can find it in the blogroll. I’m still trying to figure out how to connect the dots to show the route we travel. Any help is welcome, email is best.

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Trip data (Day/Total)

– Km driven: 977/2.225

– Hrs driving: 10/-

– Diesel l/100km: 11.5/11.6 (1,83€ in IT; 1,34€ in SLO)