First We Head West towards France
A few days later, we decided to head west towards France. Max told us of a few towns to visit, but we mostly headed towards what looked interesting: towns along small rivers, those nestled in the trees, and those along a golf course.
After several photo op stops, we came upon this little store and restaurant in the Alps with a makeshift nine-hole golf course and driving range off to the side. We saw some kids chasing some cows off the driving range and knew we, or at least I, needed to stop.
After a surprisingly tasty lunch with a bunch of hearty young American Alpine Club bikers practicing for races in Europe (bicycles not Harleys), I had to break my European-living rule of no golf and make some memories by hitting balls on the range in the Alps.
To Complete our Memories, Another Visit to Switzerland
After spending a few restful days in Turin (and going back for lunch to listen to our two scruffy musicians), we decided to head north towards Switzerland.
We drove towards Mont Blanc on winding roads that head up through single-lane tunnels with stoplights to manage traffic-flow, stopping along the way to see the majestic views along the snow-covered mountains. We reached La Palud, Italy at the foot of Mont Blanc on a clear, perfect, blue-sky day. We had lunch at the Ristorante Pizzeria La Palud and were entertained by parasailers with Mont Blanc as the canvas. Doesn’t get much better than this.
Returning to our car, we saw signs to the Tunnel. Not familiar with the area, we didn’t know La Palud is the last Italian village before the passage through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Switzerland and the town of Chamonix. So off we went to see about the tunnel. To our further surprise, it cost 38€ to enter the tunnel, but figured why not as we’d come all this way and now had a chance to enter Switzerland again. Well, the entire tunnel took 30 minutes to travel – at 80-kpm! Exiting, Chamonix sprawled before us.
Flowers in full bloom with snow in the mountains. A rushing stream through the middle of the town. Restaurants, hotels, and stores with a single church in the middle of town. The weather on the Swiss side of Mont Blanc was equally good and we strolled through the town from top to bottom. What an unexpected find.
On the way home, I wondered about that 38€ tunnel but, fortunately, the northbound receipt was on the dashboard and we were able to get back to Italy for only a few additional euros because our round-trip took only one day. Whew!
Another Great Month of Memories
We stayed in Turin our remaining days, frequenting our favorite piazzas and restaurants as well as visiting a few museums. The National Cinema Museum in particular was quite interesting and takes you through the history of cinema.
As we turned the keys to our home back to Max and thanked him for his great hospitality and recommendations, we knew our memories of the time in Turin would last a lifetime and living a month in Europe in Luxury is the only way for us now.