Goodbye Belgium (sob), Hello Again Italy

The morning promised much better weather than there was yesterday for the race – the field across from us was totally misty in the rising sun while the sky behind and above us was beautiful blue.
The sheep were all grazing in the field, and further over Mr. Fox was back rooting around near the fence.
We left our excellent little spot fairly early so as not to overstay our welcome in the village parking area. We drove back through Stavelot to get to the motorway south. This time I got a photo of the ‘pinocchio’ statue in the middle of the large roundabout.
We made good progress down and into Germany, with the weather deteriorating along the way. By the time we reached the campground, between Stuttgart and Ulm, it had turned fairly cold and wet.

The campground is smaller than the last few we’ve been at, but has very nice facilities, including heated washrooms and showers. You have to pay for the wi-fi, which is unusual, but it was a very strong, fast signal, which is also somewhat unusual.

I looked up what the story was about Stavelot as I’d also seen a ‘Hansel and Gretel’ cafe in addition to the pinocchio statue. I don’t know about the cafe, as the writers of Hansel and Gretel were the Brothers Grimm who were German, but the pinocchio was actually based on an annual carnaval where some of the men dress up in white with long pointed red noses. They are called the Blancs Moussis, and would hit bystanders with inflated pig’s bladders – glad it wasn’t that time of year! As with all of the towns in the area, Stavelot was heavily involved in the Battle of the Bulge, and sustained a lot of damage.

Had a nice pasta dinner, then fairly early night.
Next morning was grey and drizzly, but the further south we went the lighter and brighter it got.
By the time we passed into Italy via the Brenner Pass the temperature was rising and the sun was coming out.
We had a bit of a frustrating time finding the campground we’d chosen as it involved navigating through very narrow streets in the town of Valeggio Sul Mincio, just southwest of Verona.
The campground is actually across the river Mincio in the very small village of Borghetto. In addition to the river there is also a fair-sized canal, as well as lots of little ones going thru the farmers’ fields for irrigation.
The frustration was worth it in more than one way – the campground is very basic, although quite nice. And Borghetto is really charming, if a bit touristy even at this time of year.
The medieval fortress across the river in Valeggio overlooks everything and there are still quite a few walls/parts of walls and gates still standing.
We setup the campervan and took a walk around. We decided to go for Colin’s birthday dinner a little later at one of the many restaurants on the river.
When we went back to the village we chose a really nice looking little place and sat down – Mo included. We ordered some bruschetta to start with and it was four pieces with different toppings, all of which were just delicious. We shared them, each eating half – salmon, creamy cheese, smoked beef, and pike from Lago Garda – I think the pike was my favourite, but maybe it was the salmon – no the beef! Oh – I couldn’t decide as they were all so good.

For the main course I got the ‘suckling pig with crackling skin’ and it was one of the best pork dishes I’ve ever had. It was a fairly large portion, complete with vegetables and salad, but I managed to clean the plate – with a little help from Colin and Mo.

It was dark by the time we finished and walked back to the campground, but it wasn’t cold. I only had my sweater on for warmth, and remembered that only 3 days ago I was bundled in my winter coat, boots and gloves.

The almost six weeks in Belgium (and Holland) were awesome and we loved them, but both agree it’s good to be back in Italy.

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