I suppose, theoretically speaking, we've been homeward bound since Dresden, but today, setting out from Bolzano, we really felt that we're on the last stretch of our amazing trip. Taking the scenic route over the mountains via the Mendelpass, at times the satnav screen looked like someone threw a ball of wool and let it fall into the pattern of the roads. Needless to say, this was not the quickest of routes!
Gently, the vineyards and apple orchards became pine forests and villages perched on ledges rather than nestled in the valley
though from time to time, a collection of houses appeared to have spilled out of the end of a valley and a tumble of buildings nestled around a church for comfort.
Still higher, through the Passo Tornale, we drove through ski resorts and holiday villages, some with really unattractive tower blocks amongst the traditional chalets. But the view of the mountains was unsurpassed.
Eventually we reached Lake Como and spent a few minutes recalling happy days spent here with Mummy before continuing over the last pass of the day into Switzerland.
At times, it was a little tight and tempers became frayed. But being behind a local bus meant that we could squeeze through after he'd trailblazed the way forward.
At last, the peace of Lake Lugano and our destination of Ponte Tresa, where we planned an evening with our dear friends Tonie and Pietro. After a couple of weeks of eating out, what luxury to enjoy good home cooking with produce from the garden and wine from 200m along the way. Not only that, but what fun to sit and chat on a warm evening in the garden as the sun goes down and for sure, Edna and Gordon were there in spirit too, surprisingly indulgent of their grandson enjoying a cigar with Pietro having persuaded him he needs an iPhone in a conversation before dinner. Sitting around a table and finding answers for the problems of today is so much easier over a glass of wine or two: What to do about Afghanistan, democracy, the EU, the annoying fly, the slow driver of the car in front on an Alpine pass....the conversation never waned until it was time to say goodbye until the next time.