And so the day arrived. Today we were headed back onto the motorway up to Genoa to put the Magic Caravan into storage, then a drive north to Milan Malpensa to our airport hotel for our flight home. But what a rude awakening! It just happened to be the coldest morning we’ve experienced on the whole adventure and when Mary minced off to the loo she came back reporting everything thick with frost. Still, we had a journey or two to make so we cracked on, had breakfast, tidied up and did a last check of what was to be left in the caravan, taken in the car and packed for Scotland.

By the time we were hitched up and ready to leave, the sun had defrosted the car nicely so no scraping was required. The Audi kicked into action, crossed the Stream of Death, pulled the Magic Caravan back up the mountain and we were quickly on our way up the autostrada to Genoa.

The Stream of Death!

The Stream of Death!

My nerves were a bit on edge as this was the crucial moment of the adventure so far. We absolutely had to leave the caravan behind us in order to fly home so it was vital that the arrangements I had made with a storage depot somewhere in Genoa would work without a problem.

No time for dramatic pause today: everything worked really well. Victoria found us the depot 3 minutes from the motorway, the guy was at the gate to meet us even though we were 20 minutes late (Traffico intenso uscita Genova ovest) and he helped us roll the Magic Caravan under a lovely awning with a solid roof to keep off the snow and protect it from the cold. Perfect! I paid him the 70 Euro we had agreed for the 3 weeks care and off we sped back to the motorway toll barrier and north towards Milan.

Surprisingly we didn’t head straight to our hotel but took a detour to the town of Castellanza where Gavin did a year’s study 10 years ago. This was not a big deal as it is only a quarter of an hour from Malpensa airport and our hotel. We parked up at a place I recognized from the 3 day visit young George and I had made to see him back then, walked down past his old residence and around the corner to our destination, “Uptown” bar and café where he had spent most of his year and taken us every night we were there. It was still called “Uptown” but had changed quite a bit, having been modernised and a piece added for the smokers. Anyway, I took loads of photos for Gavin but here’s one for you.

The Fountain of Death!

The Fountain of Death!

After lunch at “Uptown” we drove down the road to our hotel which was only about 10 minutes away. Victoria was magnificent with her instructions except as usual for the last 50 metres, but my right-hand woman and erstwhile navigator (for the last 50 metres!) kept her beady eyes alert and spotted the hotel sign, directing me safely to our resting place for tonight.

We settled in and had 40 winks, Mary had a bath (the first since Sorrento!) then we drove just down the road to a McDonald’s where we had a great, relaxed meal and a wee blether about some of the highs and lows of the first half of the adventure. TV in the room was short and sweet and we were soon both in the land of nod.

Best weird moment of today. While we were travelling at 60 mph through one of the many long tunnels which take you through the mountains south of Genoa we were overtaken…….. by a hearse! And it had a passenger!

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