An early Saturday evening in April saw several members of North Sunderland and Seahouses WI boarding Travelsure’s long red coach en route for the Italian Dolomites.
An uneventful journey down to Dover (other than collecting Barrie!) then the ferry when we enjoyed a welcome breakfast before we disembarked at Calais.
Continuing our journey through part of Northern France, into Belgium and on to Germany on the autobahn – stopping about every three hours en route – we could see the signs for Antwerp and further on for Koblenz and Cologne.
We were delayed at one point as, apparently, there had been a road accident. In the midst of this, a Turkish wedding party endeavoured to pass our coach and as none of us could speak German and/ or Turkish we could only guess from the various antics and sounds emitted but we could not ascertain whether the party was coming or going.
Further on we saw a German police car in front of us. This was because of a family of ducks waddling alongside the autobahn. The officers finally vaulted over the hurdles and Daddy Duck seemed to receive the message and off they went into the bushes.
Our welcome overnight stop was at Wurzberg – an interesting, elegant university town and next morning we were off again, driving through the Tyrol, passing Innsbruck en route, making for Fai Della Paganella in northern Italy.
The scenery was changing – from the flat lands of northern Europe – to the snow-capped mountains.
Barrie knew the good places to rest and en route pointed out the various items of interest.
The different styles of houses and farms made the journey interesting – much more than flying. We went through the Fern Pass and the historic famous Brenner Pass.
We finally reached our destination going up, up, up and around the umpteen hairpin bends.
We were made welcome at the Hotel Paganella and next morning our host took us out for a walk around the area and through the woods.
The views were spectacular and we could look down on the town below to see the various strips of land marked out for apple trees, olive groves, tomatoes, potatoes and various vegetables. The apple trees were all out in blossom. Fields and fields, very pretty indeed.
Next day we went to beautiful, large Lake Garda. We enjoyed a boat trip and a look around, plus lunch.
On the Thursday we were further up into the Dolomites and inspected the ski run (not for the faint-hearted!) and on the last day of our Dolomites holiday we went to the town of Merano.
Very elegant, expensive dress shops and coffee shops. A playground for the wealthy!
Our evenings were spent by taking part in a quiz, a wine-tasting and a musical night.
Saturday morning was our scheduled departure when we said goodbye to the Paganella and boarded our coach to retrace our journey via Wurzberg for overnight and then again on Sunday morning to make for the ferry and UK.
We eventually came home in the early hours of Monday morning – tired but all very happy.
We will never forget the beautiful, awesome Dolomites, the healthy mountain air and the scenery.
Our thanks to Barrie and the staff organising everything at Travelsure – to ensure that we were all delivered to our homes, safe and sound.