Read what happened before: Day 4
We were heading home! So soon! But not before Bernie had lost his passport (eventually located in the van). Some of the group went on a tour of the prosecco cellar, however not me, as I still hadn’t packed and I had quite a lot of cake to get through for breakfast.
After paying (inordinately cheap, considering all the prosecco we drank) and buying lots of prosecco to take home, we loaded up the van, took some final photos and, with lots of hugs, the van crew got back on the road.
We retraced our steps through Valdobbiadene and north towards Austria, stopping near Bolzano for petrol and snacks. We were keen to buy petrol at its cheapest, rather than in the Brenner Pass, as it was quite expensive there. Austria, once again, was lovely and we stopped near where we’d stopped before for lunch, though this time managed to avoid crashing the van into anything.
Southern Germany was, once again, grey and dull though this changed to slightly nicer rolling hills after some time. As we approached Stuttgart we felt a pang of nostalgia, and that nostalgia manifested itself in lots of traffic and contraflow systems. We decided that once we’d passed Stuttgart we’d stop for coffee. The service station we chose had a nice outdoor balcony with countryside views, and we stared at the scenery in the fading light.
We got back in the van and tried to get out of the car park. This was impossible due to a lorry having been parked across the exit to the car park. Lots of lorry drivers jumped out of their cabs and started berating each other. One came over to our van, stuck his head through the window and, in the heavily accented german, told us his expansive views about the inconsiderate driver. By the time we eventually extricated ourselves from the car park, it was dark.
We drove on in the dark. While we hadn’t had any music on the way to Italy, I had borrowed an ipod dock, meaning that everyone had to listen to my music of choice. Initially this was Queen’s Greatest Hits, and later I put it onto shuffle. “I like your music” said Stu, “there’s not been any Britney Spears or any of that crap”. I realised I’d have to stay awake so that I didn’t accidentally play something uncool and blow my cover.
Although earlier we’d been quite conscientious about petrol, we realised we were running quite low. Service stations aren’t hugely frequent on German motorways, and after missing one turning, we spent an anxious time driving towards the next one, nearly getting hit by a lorry as we darted in front of it onto the Rhine bridge. We decided that as we were stopped, we may as well eat. The service station had a restaurant serving hearty german food in american sized portions. Stu ordered something that came with an extremely phallic sausage but he was undeterred and polished it off.
The final portion of our drive for the evening was fairly unpleasant, as it was raining heavily and visibility was poor. We sat in silence, staring at the road, watching the lights of the contraflow systems refract into raindrop shapes, and onwards to Cologne.
Read what happens next: Day 6