I’m not sure whether it is or not but crossing over into Italy at some point tomorrow will feel like it. I’ve notched up just under 1,600 kilometres in two and a half weeks; the estimate was for a total of between 3,000 and 3,500 over five weeks so I must be there or there abouts.
Clearly the last week or so has been affected by the weather; not very summery, but the high point, both literally and metaphorically at the Gotthard Pass was achieved under blue skies and at times sweltering conditions. That one day makes up for the sandwich of washed-out days which have sat around it.
Southern England was the hors d’oeuvres, a taste of thongs to come. Northern France was familiar, almost predictable as I know it so well. Luxembourg was interesting and laid back; the kind of place in which you would like to live. Eastern France was industrial and linguistically diverse with some real gems that I was able to discover. German-speaking Switzerland was dramatic and physically beautiful but without the prettiness you find in the French-speaking areas around Lake Geneva. Each country has thrown up its own surprises as I’m sure that Italy will in the next couple of weeks.
Lots of new people to meet; the known knowns, the known unknowns, perhaps the unknown knowns and hopefully the unknown unknowns (as Donald Rumsfeld once eloquently put it but was much derided for doing so). Just please don’t rain much.