It takes seventeen minutes to drive through the Gotthard Tunnel. I'm sure it used to be called the Saint Gotthard Tunnel; has it been excommunicated, or is it simply not quite so saintly now? Either way, to me it was heaven sent. There are two things I love about Switzerland: it is a very small country, and it has a very fast road straight through it. The Tunnel marks the last lap, Italy before us, and don't you just know it!
As we emerged, the sun was setting, the sky looked as though Jackson Pollock had done his thing with a pot or two of psychedelic pink and orange paint on a canvas of deep turquoise, and the clock towers no longer troubled to keep the exact time.
Months of anticipation, three days on the road and if we ever had any doubts they are forgotten now. The drive was mostly quite tedious. The most stressful hour was spent negotiating the Milan "tangenziale" trying to follow Pete in the Land Rover whilst dodging articulated lorries which insisted on bullying their way into the indecently short gap I was fighting to maintain.
Today we're in Le Marche in the province of Perugia/Urbino. We've been here two days. So, it seems has the world's media, but that's someone else's story.
We were welcomed on our arrival by a neighbour who's taken it upon himself to water our friend's garden. He brings his family along to watch him do it. He didn't come yesterday nor today though goodness knows the grass needs the water, but then strangers and their dogs don't arrive every day of the week. Also welcomed to Italy by my mobile phone company and by my iPad (Pace Jobs, thank you!) which has suddenly, and not a little presumptuously, decided I am fluent in Italian. We have already visited our "pile of bricks" where work has begun and which looks convincingly like a building site now. Photos next post.
Meanwhile, I sit here in the unseasonal heat (30c) even for this part of the world, and watch the washing drying on the line... oops, watch the dry washing on the line.