When you meet a 5,300 year-old man..........
Nov 12, 2011
|Well, this last week has seen us in 4 countries – only in Europe could this happen. Things we have learned:
• If you are not over budget before you enter Switzerland, you certainly will be by the time you leave. If you are shocked by diesel prices of EURO1.50 in Italy, the price of EURO1.99 ($2.88 per litre) once you cross the border into Switzerland will take your breath away.
• The flip side of this - if you can gain enough speed on the highway in France, you can run out of gas and coast the last 50 miles into Luxembourg where the price drops to EURO1.22 per litre.
• The rudest waiter in Europe “works” in a cafe in Luxembourg.
• When you visit an accessories store for your camper van, make sure your credit card is already maxed out, otherwise it soon will be.
• Before you buy a camper van, check what types of tires it has. European regulations are closing in on the winter tire rules from November 1st – perfect timing for us to cross the mountains.
• When a man has done the dishes for 73 consecutive days, do not try to tell him how to stack the plates.
• When a woman has cooked dinner for 71 out of 73 nights, be very grateful.......
Driving north in Italy to Venice and Padova, we arrived just as the Italian rainy season was underway. We stayed on the Brenta River, a spot we discovered earlier in the year, close to Venice. Visiting my 88 year old aunt was a sobering experience as she has faded in the last few months. She still has her sense of humour however. When we visited my uncle’s grave in the already closed Padova cemetery she persuaded the gateman to let us in as I was visiting from Canada.
From there we continued north to Bolzano or Bozen (depending on whether you prefer the Italian or German.) All towns in the South Tyrol region have joint names and some schools teach only German. It was here that we saw the 5,300 year old Iceman – OTZI as he is affectionately known. This has been one of the highlights of the trip as not only is his perfectly preserved mummified corpse (with tattoos) on display but also everything found with him right down to his clothing, string, first aid kit, fire starting kit and maple leaves to carry fire embers to the next camp. Remarkable is an understatement. Latest research shows that he was murdered with an arrow through the shoulder, the arrowhead still being in his body.
We are now close to coming full circle from our starting point in Belgium seemingly so long ago and we stumbled upon one of the best preserved WWI site I have ever seen in the hills of the Alsace, where the concrete trenches, firing posts and forts are still intact. The only downside – I shared the museum visit with 2 bus loads of teenagers – enough said.......
We are now in Luxembourg – a first time for me. Although it is one of the smallest countries in Europe it is loaded with medieval and modern history with castles and WWII sites dotted everywhere. In fact, we are staying in the tiny village of Larochette with my cousin and as well as a 13th century castle out the back door it is less than 1KM from the front line of the Battle of the Bulge in February 1945.
One of the main things we have learned from this trip is that you can never see everything and you would never run out of amazing things to see and do in Europe if you lived several lifetimes.
Must go as I need to get the tin hat on again before I get down in the trenches.................................
Ian & Liz