The bells! The bells! There are four Church clock towers within night-time hearing range, two of which seem to be within a stone's throw - and they all ring every hour all throught the night (and not quite synchronised so at midnight we get knocking on for 48 rings). I imagine this is the sort of thing one gets used to. Other than that the situation on the camp site is amazing. A soft early morning light streams down the valley to the east and it is warm with no sign of any dew. I had imagined the many children would be up well before 8, but I am currently the only person I can see as I boil the first kettle of the day, other than a man wifi by the office. The wifi is flakier than the flaky woman's flake on the advert.
Oooh! Macgyver, eat your heart out. Filter coffee made using kitchen roll. How Bear Grylls is that?
T and I spread the map out on the Landy bonnet (you couldn't do that on a Piaggio) and reckon that the snow capped peaks to the west is the Ponte d'Archeboc up at the border. Mont Blanc is NNW up the valley but out of sight with the bend in the valley. There are lots of Dutch people around saying hello. I think we may be the only people here who speak only English well.
Have checked the local weather forecast sellotaped up in the office window and it says today will be 'hot climate'. Freezing will take place between 4000 and 4200 mtrs. T and I go into the town of Aosta to get our bearings. We find the Gros Cidac supermarket and do a bit of a stock up, including a Bialetti 6 cup stove top espresso pot with two pairs of espresso goblets. We also found the base of the cable car, next door. We will venture up tomorrow.
The boys seem content chilling, so I go for a pleasant dip in the pool and then walk around the back of the site and take a look at the San Sulpizio Church.
By popular request I cook my made up recipe of chicken with a Dijon mustard and Creme Fraiche sauce with rice. A Danish couple arrive near us with almost perfect English (as we have come to expect) and there is a bit of a discussion about tent locations, shade and where cars need to be parked with the young Dutch couple opposite us. I suggest they park their Jazz next to our Landy and everyone seems happy.
The Danes are well travelled, having just driven in from Bern where they had joined the locals walking up alongside the river for a couple of miles, before jumping in and going back into the town on the current - such was the need to cool off.
T and I enjoy a bottle each of Moretti's Baffo D'Oro. Slightly Beer Brun, but tasty none the less. I reackon we are now, timewise, about 2/3 of the way round our Grand Tour. It is funny that I chickened out of Inter-railing as a student, but have really enjoyed our life on the road. It is so different - ok, I have a couple of credit cards and could buy anything we might need, but there is a really different feel to life on the road. The things we have brought along, be it an iPad or a cooker, are here to be used and marks and scratches seem unavoidable. As somebody who likes to keep things in pristine condition, if I can, this is a salutory lesson. On the road one can relish a well used piece of kit and many of our camping kit bits and pieces will now have really good travelling memories attached to them.
The nice Danes lend me a guide book of walks up in the mountains, some looking quite serious. I plan to go up on the lift tomorrow with the boys and see what it is like up there and take some more photos (900 taken to date).
Another Dutch couple chat on my way back from the showers. Perfect English and a bit of Landy appreciation. I am glad we have the electrics sorted properly as we are now using the electric storm lamp so we can stay up and chat or watch an episode of Extras on the iPad.
This evening I managed to get some wifi and check the news, and I see my first PC laptop for a while. In contrast I have spotted a huge number of iPads and iPhones, several Android phones and a Macbook Pro yesterday night.
Miles today - 20.