A Winter Jaunt in Europe: Day 1 From Abruzzo to Parabiago, Milan

Day 1: 668 km – 8h30

We picked the boys up from school at midday and amazingly left on time! The car was jam packed with our clothes, christmas presents, gifts for our hosts, scooters, school bags, food…the list goes on. Note to self: on the trip round the world take less stuff.

The plan had us heading to Parabiago, just outside Milan, simply because Courgevaux was just a bit too ambitious in an afternoon, so we’d factored in an overnight stop. 15km down the road and we hit our first hurdle – the car tyre pressure warning lights came on…it’s ok, we only had another 652km to go. Panic!! We didn’t know if we had a slow puncture, pulling over didn’t reveal anything, but we knew that if there was all the Italian tyre shops would be shut for lunch until at least 3.00 p.m.. – when ‘La Dolce Vita’ works against you. So, we’d only just got going when we were forced back off the motorway looking for a garage/service station to check the air in the tyres. Aghhhhh!!

Luckily, it turned out that we just needed a bit of air. In preparation for our trip – and because it is a legal requirement for driving in Germany in winter – we’d had winter tyres fitted the week before and it seems that the tyre pressures had not been properly balanced. Phew!!

So back on the motorway we went, eating on the go, stopping briefly to change drivers and the inevitable toilet breaks – I can’t blame the kids on this one, I’m worse than them! And we steadily made our way up the beautiful Adriatic coastline and then veered off to Milan. No traffic problems, we were amazed at how clear the roads were…until we hit Milan at evening rush hour. Mmm, that plan wasn’t well thought through was it!

Through booking.com we booked a family room at Hotel Domus Expo for a great price (€62 euros including breakfast for all 4 of us). The hotel was easy to find, clean, the shower was good, the staff were friendly, the breakfast was more than ample and all in all it was a great experience! If you need a stopover  on your way through the north of Italy, or you are visiting Milan and don’t mind being a bit outside the public transport links to the centre are good and you’re not paying Milan prices. I would definitely recommend it

It wasn’t exactly the high life! We ate sandwiches in the room that we’d brought with us, Josh amused himself by lying upside down in the wardrobe and taking photos (if this was what 8 hours in a car did to the poor boy it wasn’t a good sign for the rest of the trip!), we slept, then ate breakfast and headed off early in the morning for Courgevaux to see our good friends Tim and Carola. The story continues…

Day 1 budget:

Meals and Snacks: €21.12

Motorway Tolls and Fuel: €46.90

Hotel: €61.92

Total: €129.94

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