Roads we drove and loved

We’ve been home three weeks and are no nearer sorting out our photos… However I have gone through and picked out a number which illustrate the kinds of roads we drove on – some great, some scenic, some not entirely suitable for Gertie… Many of these photos were taken through the windscreen as we drove along, so they should give you a good impression of what life on the road was like. Sigh. I miss it.

Driving along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice
Monaco. Mostly you drive through a tunnel but we did pop out of it for a little while.
Approaching Positano on the Amalfi Coast. We weren’t allowed to go much further in a campervan.
On Sicily, the motorways go through a lot of badly lit tunnels
The Apennine  mountains in Abruzzo 
Somewhere in Croatia
A tight fit. This bridge was in a campsite that was on both sides of a river, in northern Italy
Passo di Gavia. This was one of the better sections. In other sections there was a sheer drop on one side and no room to pass. other vehicles. I still have nightmares about this one!
Much better on the way down the other side.
Gorgeous mountain passes
We drove round an awful lot of these. 
We weren’t the biggest vehicle using these roads!
In the Gorge du Tarn in France. We spent the night here. Above that wall on the right is the other lane of the road, see next photo…
Gorge du Tarn. At 3m high we have to watch Gertie doesn’t bump her head…
An easier road to drive. Approaching the Viaduc du Millau
Not a tunnel, this is actually a natural cave that the road goes through. 
PANIC! WHAT ON EARTH IS THAT WATER DOING ON THE WINDSCREEN? We forgot what rain was after several months of glorious sunshine.
My regular view while we were driving.
Pyrenees. See that little arch? We’ve got to fit through that…
Ah, it’s bigger when you get nearer. 
Driving in Portugal was sometimes like this. And yes, we were on the main road through this small town. There was no bypass.
In the Portuguese Penedes-Geres national park, approaching the border with Spain. The road became progressively narrower as if they didn’t want you to go that way.
Across the border into Spain, and the road was much better
I think this photo was trying to capture those horreos (grain stores on stilts typical of north-west Spain) but mostly managed to capture the cracked windscreen we drove around with for the last 6 weeks of the trip.
In the Picos de Europa. Lots of stunning drives there!
Gertie has travelled some amazing roads and spent the night in some stunning locations

Italian filling stations

I’ve been in Italy for 10 weeks and have driven it north to south, south to north and I’m still not sure how to use Italian filling stations. Mind you I’m still not sure who has right of way at unmarked roundabouts … but given the way that many Italians approach them I don’t think they know either!

In Motorway service stations the first thing you realise is that you don’t follow car signs for parking when in a Motorhome, you follow the truck and bus signs. However doing that for filling up gets you shouted at, you have to follow the car signs.
Next up is self-service and service pumps. The latter are up to 40 cents a LITRE dearer! So need to reverse out of those fairly sharpish.
Then there is paying. There are stations where you pull up, fill up and go pay in kiosk.
However others you have to go to kiosk, pre-pay certain amount and then fill up. Yet others you pay by phone app.
But the most confusing are the ones where there is a machine to pay by card and then fill up. Further complication is there is generally not one per pump so you have to input pump number. Just when you thought you were getting the hang of this type they have ones where one machine covers a number of pumps and another covers a different set … so you have done all the card stuff, look up to see what pump number you’re at and find out your machine doesn’t cover that pump, so start again at a different machine, or move Motorhome to different pump!!

Another issue is Italian opening hours which can appear fairly random. Best avoid midday to mid afternoon and late evening. This is not a problem at the card machine ones … as long as they work. I have pulled up at pump, got out and did the card thing at the machine only for someone to holler in Italian that it doesn’t work so fill up and pay at kiosk.

We have driven into filling stations, spent some time on the filling up game, given up and driven away without any fuel.

It’s not like each company has its own system, more like each location has its own variation. I’m now beginning to see why people will pay 40cents a litre more to avoid all the hassle!!

Then there’s LPG (GPL) which we need for cooking, fridge (heating haha!). This can only be operated in Italy by a filling assistant, and that’s when the opening hours drama really comes into play. Station open, kiosk closed, can’t get LPG.

A lot of things in Italy appear ‘designed’ to stop you doing stuff in auto-pilot. Refueling is one of those. Can’t believe many people put the wrong fuel in their car, by the time you have worked out which part of the forecourt you should be on, which set of pumps you need, how to pay, you are fully clued up to what fuel you should be putting in the car!

Having said all that we have managed to fuel over 4,500 miles of travelling round Italy so far 🙂