Friday, 14 September 2012

A Journey to the Past: Re-discovering Turin & the Valle D'Aosta! Part 1

When I was a boy, my dad took me and my sister on an expedition to Italy. We crossed France and the Swiss Alps (made even more exciting because my dad is terrified of heights, including high mountain passes), travelling and sleeping in a beat-up, old pick-up truck.

Though the purpose of the trip was to find and purchase Italian motorcycles, I remember it differently. As my first real travel experience, outside the UK (and a day trip to Calais), some of my fondest childhood memories come from that trip.

I remember the laughs we had after I woke in the night to discover someone was shaking the truck...only it wasn't someone shaking the truck. My sister had rolled onto the handbrake in her sleep and what I felt were the vibrations as we rolled down the hill and finally came to a stop in the bushes of a French service station.

I also remember the astounding views and sheer drops as we trundled at 5 mph through the Swiss valleys - the beauty and the scale of the landscape no doubt greatly amplified through a child's eyes and over time.

Then there's dad letting me ride on the back of one of the motorbikes where it sat in the back of the pick-up and as we cruised through the town of Aosta one magical evening.

But what I remember most was a campsite we stayed at, owned by a lovely Italian family and where me and my sister unearthed Roman ruins and found an ancient tomb hidden under the children's play area.

I often wondered about this campsite. How much of what I remember had been real? And how much imagined? So one day, I decided to go back.

We set out on a grand motorcycle tour of Italy (well, actually the whole of Europe), riding down Central France to Marseille, then across Northern Italy via Turin, which, after consulting my dad's (also vague) memory, we discovered was the location of this mystery campsite.

The information we had from dad was as follows:
  • It was hard to find,
  • Not in the city itself but just outside,
  • The only campsite in Turin (at least, in the mid-ninties).
It was going to be easy...I thought...

1 comment:

  1. Haha, sound like an adventure. but the bigger the surprise will be to find the place finally :)