Italy June 2011

Just on the way back from a fantastic ten-day holiday. We drove from England to Geneva through the Channel Tunnel -14 hours- (the usual European first stop for me) stayed overnight and relaxed with Josephine (sister) and Pat (step-grandmother) in dad and Gillian’s (stepmom) beautiful house. We left the next day at lunchtime and travelled eight hours down to our final destination,Levanto in Liguria.
The car was, as usual, extremely full and a large roof rack afforded us all some breathing space. We were five travellers; myself, Ellen, Mandy (Ellen’s mum), Isabella (PA) and Lauren (PA).
Our route consisted of the following locations: Oxford, Dover, (FRANCE) Calais, Rimes, Troyes, Dijon, la Dole (The Jura), (SWITZERLAND) St Cergue, Nyon , Founex (overnight), Geneva, Chamonix (Route Blanche, Mont Blanc), mont Blanc tunnel, (ITALY) Aosta, Ivrea, Alessandria, Genoa, Sestri Levante and our final destination Levanto.
We are just finishing the end of the return journey now, and it feels like it has been a long one. All the ladies took turns at driving (fantastically, I might add) and Ellen navigated all of the way with incredible skill.
We were guests of “Al Durmi” holiday accommodation in Levanto which cannot be recommended highly enough (please Google and read reviews if interested) even for wheelchair users. We are good friends with the whole family and were given warm treatment as friends and guests. I received lessons in Ligurian cuisine from the masters and we spent a day with Ciara (on her day off) touring the coastal roads and surrounding areas of the “Cinqe Terre” including a fantastic area I will never forget “Barelona”.
We spent the rest of our time exploring backstreet local cuisine, my favourite restaurant was “TOTANO BLU” which has exquisite, original, daily fresh speciality seafood. We were drinking Italian locally brewed beer, ice cream, trying to learn Italian, foccacia demolishing and sunbathing on and off the beach (I could get down to the sea courtesy of private beach mats).
We had some good night out, including one with friends in the neighbouring town (which I could get to through the tunnels in 20 min in my wheelchair). We drank sang and listened with Bill and Mandy playing the guitar and met new friends through Ciara; Ermano, Clara and Susie. Ermano and Clara gave me a fantastic book on Ligurian cuisine and taught me some subtle differences between French and Italian cooking styles.
Ellen and Mandy’cooked a fantastic local delicacy “Gatafin”, we shopped in the local markets and listened to some live Italian music.
I got to catch up with my great friend (and relative in some obscure way I am sure) marie. That felt really good and we reminisced about our friend Michele RIP.
On the way back we stopped again at Dad’s house and had great fun with everyone plus Lucas (brother) this time. The next day we met Gillian’s sister Alison, Alison’s husband Paul and their two children, it was great to finally meet them.
Overall a beautiful holiday, great to spend time with Ellen and Mandy.

Thanks got to the PAs for helping so expertly.

The photos to follow shortly…

In other news: in the process of becoming a Mentor of the “Backup trust” and trying to find the necessary funds for an unusual 50% deposit requirement for the off-road wheelchair before it can be assembled!
Looking forward to paleo Festival next month, lucky me.
Salute to everybody x

Summer plans

Recovering from a nasty hangover, life is very busy. Work continuing to be enjoyable, managing a mix of technical programming and report writing, currently researching into mobile wireless networks.
Gearing up for a holiday in Italy from Thursday then the festival (Paleo) in July and back to Italy in September.
Just about recovering from a chest infection over the last couple of weeks which has not been fun. Lots of hard work from PAs to clear my chest, need to apply for a “assisted cough” machine which will help with this.
Best wishes to all