Day 26 – Room with a view

I started the day off with that “room with a view” moment when Lucy opens the shutters to the view over Florence. The sun sped through the windows and transformed instantly the shuttered darkness of our rooms to reveal the city landscape against a completely blue sky. In the film, it was a shocking and memorable image. This was every bit as good a view. The first 3 pictures below are the view from the room (albeit on earlier day when the weather was poorer). You have to imagine them side by side. The fourth picture is view over the Arno.

I think however that Forster was broadly right when he wrote that women prefer views to men. On my own, I would elect for a larger room or a better TV, but Lorna would go for the view every time. On this trip – after years of education from Lorna – I have been careful to go for views and balconies in our accommodation wherever possible. The long balcony and views over Parisian roof tops; the three huge balconies and fantastic mountain views of Bavaria; the views over Istria from our garden; view over Florence (see below); and tomorrow morning the view of Mont Blanc and other mountains from two balconies in Chamonix.

We drove again today, longer than planned owing to our detour to Florence. The dial shows that we have travelled just a shade under 3,000 miles thus far. The car is starting to show the first signs of wear; there’s a drone from the outside (that only appears when Lorna is driving!) and the ventilation won’t turn off!

About half the drive today seemed to be through tunnels; Sat Nav Susie sent us via the coastal routes, better than those Northern Italy routes dominated by lorry drivers. The longest tunnel was through Mont Blanc between Italy and France. Since the tragedy there many years ago, every safety measures that could have been introduced has been brought in. This means that the cost of the 12km journey is now €35 and there’s a long delay in getting into the tunnel.

Despite this, we got to a very cold Chamonix exactly on time. The girls all complained that they did not have the clothes for the temperatures – 36 degree Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) this afternoon. This is because I had advised them that they need only bring one thin jumper for the road trip. To be fair, this is very unseasonal weather for Chamonix and apparently, it will be 70 degrees tomorrow. Nevertheless, I bought Tilly and Nancy a fleece each. Lorna is always “educating” me about the importance of layers; she can put this into practice herself now. Chamonix is really pretty. I saw a party of Japanese with the biggest smiles on their faces as they enjoyed the almost flawless buildings of Chamonix against the canvass of some seriously big mountains.

This apartment has Sky TV. Lorna and I watched normal Monday night fare: University Challenge; some (over-fabricated) documentary on retracing Hannibal’s journey by bikes; and genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are. I even had time to watch the analysis of the Man Utd v Newcastle game, as I stayed up to put another load of washing in the machine.

Oh yes, Tilly lost another of her milk molars. She will no doubt find that the French tooth fairy has left €5 under her pillow tomorrow. I think Nancy lost a canine tooth at the beginning of our trip, but it seems a long time ago.

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