It was time on our family's three week trip around through (some of) Europe to start the truckloads of driving we were going to do. From where we were in Schiers (an hour and a half from Zurich), we were planning to drive straight down south, through Italy (passing by Milan) and to Bargemon, a small village about an hour out of Nice.
It was a surprisingly enjoyable ride, my parents and I each took turns to drive, got to actually drive at 130 kph! Except downhill...on a windy mountain road. So I might've slowed down a bit there, but the autobahn in Switzerland is an absolute pleasure to drive on and the Volkswagen we had rented was so easy to drive!
Driving through Switzerland, as I may have mentioned before, is an absolute pleasure, I cannot stop gasping in awe at the snow capped mountains and just the majesty of it all!
Giant Lindt bunnies...only in Switzerland I guess? Sigh....
We were recommended to stop by Locarno, which ended up being a bit of a detour as the traffic going in and out from the autobahn to Locarno was quite heavy. One of the biggest lakes in southern Switzerland can be found here, and it is quite pretty, but the town itself was just very touristy and not particularly appealing to my family and I. So unless Locarno is really in your way, I wouldn't recommend making a side trip really.
It was interesting driving down from 'German' Switzerland, which is more to the north and east, to 'Italian' Switzerland which is predominately more the southern region of Switzerland. I find the orderliness and systematic feeling, which I quite like, that I get from the German side, is not so apparently in the Italian side. It's a little bit scruffier, a little bit more worn around the edges.
That and it's bizarre to see a complete change in languages on some of the signs. Quite confusing.
On our last toilet stop just before we crossed the border from Switzerland to Italy, we went to McDonalds and I had to try the McFlurry. Because it wasn't just any McFlurry, but in Switzerland, McDonalds had partnered with Magnum to make Magnum flavoured McFlurry's! I had seem them advertised on billboards in my first few days and I was super excited. You'll have to understand, McFlurry's are my favourite thing after drinking. Some people like their kebabs, some people like other fried and oily delicious things, but I'm a sweet tooth. I want a McFlurry.
Seriously, Australia needs to get onto it though. Was hips-wideningly delicious.
After a long 6-7 hour drive, a lot of karaoke (mostly dad and I) and a lot of swiss chocolate later, our friends in France met us at a tollway exit and escorted us to their place. This is the village that they live next to, Bargemon. Isn't it the cutest looking thing? The Beckhams have a holiday home around here too, they weren't visiting when we were around though....ah well...
Their house is just beautiful.
I learnt on the trip, that rose wines are particularly famous in Provence and everyone that Barry gave us, I thoroughly enjoyed.
Every night that we were in Provence, Catherine treated us to the most amazing home made meals. (Yes finally getting on to the food stuff...) I loved how traditional and orderly she would be very night about setting the dining table, even with simple, but cheerfully coloured plates, it looked so neat and dressed up, it was quite comforting.
For our first night, we were presented with an amazing fish soup which is possibly the most delicious I've ever had. It was aromatic, thick and just delicious. The way you ate it was you popped in a few pieces of the sliced baguette, sprinkle some cheese over it and then dollop some spicy aioli over it. Then proceed to go all mushy with joy as it softens and melts into your soup. It was the perfect thing to warm you up on a cold night.
I forgot to take a picture of it (yeee!) but to follow the soup, we had a home made beef bourguignon, which came in a massive black pot. It was so alcoholic, but so tender and delicious.
I remember, as we were still suffering from jetlag, almost passing out at the table after the meal started to happily digest in my stomach.