My first and last morning in Ortisei started at 6 am with a walk around the local Village. I left the boys, both of them snoring. We then had a quick breakfast before setting off to Parma, a 3.5 hr drive. The first half of the journey was more of the same from yesterday…a spectacular drive alongside the river, meandering through a valley with sheer limestone cliffs on either side. There were more ancient Monasteries and Castles dotting the landscape along the way as well. It was sheer visual splendour.
As soon as we emerged from the Dolomites though, the landscape became amazingly flat. This was in stark contrast to our previous drive, and was disappointingly dull. It was another stressful drive as well. Everyone in the EU seems to own a luxury car and they drive them at 150 ~ 160 km/hr plus. I’ve never seen so many Audis. I kept thinking of the GFC and wondering what on earth these EU folk all do to afford these possession and carry such large debt. They surely can’t all afford these cars !!!! Hmmm. The speed limit for most of today was 130 km/hr and we were travelling at around 120 km/hr. Most cars passed us though, as per Star Trek, when Captain Kirk would order an acceleration to warp factor 7 or whatever….they simply left us standing still. They also cruise right up and sit on your tail…not much driving fun.
Anyway, we finally made it to our humble B&B in Parma at around 1.30pm. We settled in and then went out for a stroll, in the heat, through the University grounds, located across the road, and on through the city park and across the river through to the Old Town. The University di Parma is one of the oldest in the world apparently. The whole place, not surprisingly, is full of young people. The Old Town area was pretty a maze of narrow, cobbled streets filled with luxury shops. We did some shopping, or rather Mark did, and checked out the many Churches and the Duomo before having an early pizza dinner and then heading home to the cool of the air-conditioning to watch the soccer.
Off to Cinque Terre tomorrow!
We are all very tired! Please excuse grammar and typos. I’m wiped off my feet.