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The Big Drive

Bernice Cooke days out Daytrips Galway Artist Inlove Old Buildings Romance Ruinlust Writer

I have been a bit lazy regarding my monthly blog.  This is May's blog and I am already a few weeks behind, but with good reason.

We drove to Italy from Ireland, so as you can imagine, the nerves were on another level beforehand and we were departing towards the end of May.  Therefore my blog was left stewing on the back burner!

Sunset from the deck of Brittany Ferries going to France

I think the one reason above all that we decided to take our car, was the fact that we could bring our dog Pip.  It's not really a family adventure without him.

We have driven in Italy but always a hired car, so that adds more to the nerves.  This time it was a bit more relaxed, our own car, packed with whatever we wanted to bring.  Although driving on the other side can be a bit nerve wracking, we adjusted and stuck to our maps, breaking our journey every two to three hours.

The biggest leg of our journey was crossing France, from Roscoff, our aim was to get to the Fréjus Tunnel, which is the tunnel through the Alps from France into Italy.  We got as far as Clermont Ferrand, before we ran out of energy, so we decided to book into a pet friendly hotel.

Food in our bellies, dog walked, showered and bed early, as we still had quite a distance to travel the next day.  Also we were determined not to overnight again, we wanted to get to our home in Italy.

The weather was glorious and I was grateful that I had packed the cooling vest for pip.  A handy vest to have, I bought it in Mr. Price before we left Ireland.  Its a dog vest that is submerged in cold water, rung out, then attached to the dog.  It cools him down as even with the air conditioning on whilst driving, the temperature was climbing.

We had packed plenty of water for both ourselves and Pip, along with food and snacks.  Services along the motorway in France are good, but can be expensive.

Driving through the tolls was an experience as it was difficult to tell which lane to be in, as in what lane was for bigger vehicles and what lane was tag only.  But after a few wrong goes, we eventually learned.

The Frejus Tunnel

Google maps are brilliant, you can't really go wrong.  But I was pacing the journey from location to location, just so we were aiming for the correct road signs and the correct lanes.  Speed limits were 130km on the motorway, so it was scary at times.  And we changed drivers every two hours so we were both always alert.

I have a new found appreciation for Truck drivers, it's not easy driving such long distances. Plus I now know how small Ireland is compared to France!