Where in Europe are the Thacker's in 2008? travel blog

Our car (Pugeot 307 SW)

Forli War Cemetery

The well maintained cemetery

Zoe looking for kiwis

A driver from NZ ASC, Pop's unit

Today saw a slightly earlier start, so that we were up, showered, packed and breakfasted in time for a 9.00am departure. After a slight delay while the GPS tried to find a signal in the narrow, high rise streets, we set off following our noses. Good old GPS soon came to the party and we set off for Forli via the back roads. The drive was a little over two hours and took us through some beautiful, green mountain passes dotted with quaint Tuscan villages. The roads were narrow and had few areas to stop, so photo opportunities were rare, but it was a pleasure to soak up the luxurious green forests after the brown and grey of Rome and Firenze.

Our first stop was at the Forli War Cemetery, just outside the town. Forli was a stop with a purpose for us – Ron’s Grandfather was in the NZ Army Service Corps during WW2 and spent Christmas 1944 in Forli. The NZ Division took its share of casualties in the Italian campaigns around this time and the Forli Cemetery has the graves of 165 NZ servicemen, including two members of the NZ ASC (who Pop may well have known). We spent some time in thought in the beautifully maintained cemetery and left a few poppies – one for each of the NZ ASC men and one for an RNZAF pilot.

Following this stop we proceeded into Forli itself with the intention of having lunch. Unfortunately it was (of course) siesta time and everything was shut, so after a quick thought for Pop eating his Xmas lunch in the rain and snow 64 years ago, we headed for our next stop – Venice!

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