Welcome to Country No 26 France (again).

It’s a strange feeling when you have to think carefully about what country you are in when you wake up in the morning.

That’s not unusual when you travel fast and to as many countries as I have been to in the last 5 months. It’s even stranger when you don’t know what country you are in. That can happen easily when the borders are seamless. Today I found out that the tunnel du Mont Blanc borders Italy and France. I was convinced it was Italy and Switzerland.

Driving through Europe in the winter has proved to be a challenge, especially without winter tyres or snow chains!!

Rules vary from country to country but psychologically driving without them when it’s cold is a challenge that I don’t recommend. Asking advice, watching the weather forecasts and keeping to main roads made it possible, despite the snow and ice that was about. The road authorities appear to do a great job keeping them open.

Going through the tunnel du Mont Blanc was also an experience. Sunshine in Italy and grey dull snow laden and overcast in France.

We left Brescia in Italy on a lovely sunny but cold morning and had about 3.5 hrs drive to the tunnel in good sun shine. Everything was good, and I was surprised how low in the valleys we were for most of the drive. The number of lorries between Venice and Milan on the road was huge. Again from all over the world. This slacked off after Milan.

The tunnel into France is 11.6km long and is just under 1400metres at it’s highest point. It cost us 46โ‚ฌ one way. ( There have been lots of toll roads on our route and the cost does mount up but they are good roads and are well maintained in the winter). As soon as we emerged into the French side the weather changed immediately to dull grey overcast no sunshine and much colder with snow all around us. We were now much higher up too. There are steep hills and tight bends on the way down. Fortunately we were following a huge Polish lorry that went really slowly. For once I was happy to sit behind him patiently and wait. The dull weather continued for another 100kms and at times it got very white. I couldn’t make out whether it was fine snow or mist but I was happy to stop near Lyon at an Ibis around 5pm when it was becoming much colder and darker.

The good news is I think we are over the worst of the bad weather. Although I suppose we could always get caught out in the UK when we get back.

Finally I can’t believe this but I have decided my wonderful Citroen Saxo deserves to be given a name. I have only topped up the windscreen water since I left. I checked the tyres the other day and the oil, brake fluid, and radiator levels and they are fine. I haven’t touched any of them since I left. I hum along happily between 50 and 75 mph and have never had cause for concern๐Ÿ˜‚ which is just as well because I don’t know much about cars.

So from today after all his hard work he will be called Colin!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜

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