2nd June 2012
01.06.2012 - 02.06.2012
We woke at half past ten which put an end to our idea of an early start. We drove across north western Italy paying a whopping seventy Euros in toll fees over about three hundred kilometres. The view just kept getting better as the mountains soared and their tips grew ice cold. We passed through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, ten kilometres of ‘rock hewn’ road as Somers put it. The scenery really was all the more exciting and dramatic for having crossed so much sand and desert in the last month.
The best thing about Europe was its road surface; smooth, flat, un-potholed, well lit, clearly marked, and perfectly signed lovely, lovely tar-mac. The trucks were all in superb condition with tread on their tires and courteous drivers who understand and followed the rules of the road. Service stations had a plethora of overly priced delicacies; pates and fine meats, cool drinks and clean toilets. The scent of France was of fields of rape seed, freshly cut grass, meadow woodland and fresh country air; the climate set at just the right temperature and just the right humidity. People drove expensive cars; Ferraris, Aston Martins and Audis may have been the high end, but in a thousand kilometres not one car could have reasonably held the description of ‘clapped-out.’ The drivers, whilst occasionally brash, were never dangerous and even though every car had one, we didn’t hear a single horn all day.
For all this though, there was a price to pay. The last time we’d filled our tank it has cost six quid and someone had paid for us. On the soils of France it had cost us 90 Euros for half a tank. We’d soon adjust though; Italy and France felt like heaven, every glance offered a glimpse at paradise Somers even spotted a fox in the evening light. Who needs lions and elephants?
Aside the beauty of the Italian and French countryside, ours was a full days driving to Chantilly, just north of Paris; and as such would be another thousand kilometre day. In Chantilly we’d meet my new employer, Helene Menessier.