Our Grand Tour across Europe was later this year because of finding a care home for my mother, so we eventually arrived at the end of April. We expected the weather to be glorious, but it was the worst we have ever experienced. Throughout France, Germany and Austria we had sleet and snow, and on top of the Brenner Pass we followed a snow plough for about 25 miles.
People were in a hurry after the delay, but we drove steadily down towards Verona and changed drivers. The Venice-Milan motorway is always busy but this was exceptional. After once attempting to overtake a lorry, and being flashed and tooted at, I decided to stick to the slow lane, surrounded by huge lorries but just doing a steady 50mph. Naturally, I was concentrating very hard.
Out of nowhere the car was hit on the rear corner which sent us spinning left, to be hit squarely in the side by a huge lorry. The impact sent us through another 90 degrees to end up facing oncoming traffic roaring past on either side. Terrifying. An absolute miracle we were not hurt.
The lorry driver wanted me to sign an agreement, claiming that I had a lapse of concentration, but I insisted on calling the carabinieri who took photos and notes, then insisted I had to pay a ‘ caution’ of €312.50 because I couldn’t find my driving licence. (It turned up later, of course). It will be refunded, but I confidently expect endless form- filling to get the money back again.
My car was towed away and we went with the breakdown truck. Sandra and Riccardo, ever helpful and supportive friends, came to collect us and carry the contents of the car (lots of boxes of ‘Cose Inglesi’) back to Battaglia. The car is awaiting an insurance assessor, parked there at a cost of €7 per day. They think the repair bill will be more than the value of the car so it will have to be scrapped.
After that nightmare we count ouselves lucky to be alive, and the Canale Fiorito Market was a great success.