So it's time to travel from Exeter to Pisa and San Gimignano in Italy; to pick up a brand new shiny Fiat Roller Team T-Line 590 from the factory. This is going to take me a couple of days and will involve trains, ferries, walking and driving. It will be worth it for the mountain views, sunsets, pink snow and of course the lovely new motorhome which I will be sleeping in on the journey.
This map shows the route back from Exeter to Pisa!
It’s a definite murky start to this week's 3,000 mile round trip to collect our new T-Line 590. Okay, I'll admit only half of it will be done in a camper van. It's a quick train from Exeter St David's to Gatwick - and lunch with a view overlooking the runways. Hopefully I'll be in Pisa by this afternoon!
So after a quick but busy flight I made it to Pisa and it's a balmy twenty degrees, in March! I’m ready for some much needed sleep and food ready for the long drive ahead of me tomorrow - that's if I can sleep with being so excited! But there's always time to have a look around this lovely place and take in the sights.
It was great waking up in beautiful Pisa, knowing I'll be picking up a shiny new campervan from the factory! I woke up very eager to make my way there and to meet our newest member of the fleet; first I need to get a train to the factory near San Gimignano before jumping in the brand new T-Line!
I’ve inspected and signed off the new motorhome, fitted the number plates, queued up the iPod playlists, and readied my sunnies - and I’m about to hit the road! It feels great to jump into the driving seat for the first time, and I'm looking forward to driving home from the factory in our brand new 2017 T-Line 590 camper. Just over 1000 miles across Europe to go!
I covered six hundred miles in around eleven hours; some great scenery.
The van never missed a beat - cruise control activated, built in sat nav keeping me on the fastest route for traffic, iPod playing my favourite tunes and some beautiful driving weather.
Emerging from tunnels near Genoa to get tantalising glimpses of the sparkling Mediterranean in the Spring sun in between each mountain peak, before pulling north past Milan and into the Alps via spectacular valleys.
The Alps were a bit misty at that time of day, but I was fortunate enough to see Mont Blanc as the sunset hit the summit, plumes of seemingly pink snow being blown off the peak in the wind. There wasn't much snow about at the roadside, but I stopped to take a look at the mountains in the moonlight and I could see the piste bashers grooming the slopes overnight in the distance ready for the late season skiers.
After a quick photo opportunity, I drove through the enormously long Frejus Tunnel beneath Mont Blanc (and its 58 euro toll!) with its blue illuminated entrance and into France and the Chamonix Valley - by which time it was dark - and up the Autoroute Blanche towards Lyon. It was easy driving by now with the motorways quiet and mainly just lorries driving.
By 11pm I'm getting quite tired, so I pull into a truck stop, drop the blinds and switch on the cabin lights for the first time. It's like my own hotel room on wheels. A quick button press and the electrically lowered bed drops into place - out with the sleeping bag and time for some much needed kip!