The final leg of our journey from the ferry port of Ancona back to the UK was completed in a matter of a couple of days. Leaving Ancona at about midday we easily reached our fist night's stop in the small city of Asti, south of Turin and home to the Asti Spumante wines, at about 4pm, ready for a stroll around the medieval centre and an excellent meal at the Osteria Vecchia Carrozza.
Next day we crossed the Alps through the Fréjus Tunnel. I much prefer this tunnel to the Mont Blanc. It's less busy, slighlty cheaper, and the route around Turin is also much pleasanter than driving around Milan on the way to the Mont Blanc. There is also the added attraction that you can take the old road over the Mont Cenis pass, which the tunnel has replaced. This is not a difficult pass to drive over and you are rewarded with some spectacular scenery. Probably adds about an hour to the journey, but make sure the pass is open, which it often is not from the end of October to the end of May. And again, unlike the Mont Blanc, both ends of the Fréjus tunnel are joined to the motorway network.
We spent the next night in Annecy, south of Geneva, one of our favourite towns. The picturesque centre is packed with lovely old buildings huddled around the twin rivers which flow through the town and into the beautiful Lake Annecy. There's no shortage of places to stay in Annecy. Make sure you try the local delicacy, tartiflette, creamy potatoes with bacon and mountain cheese, delicious and definately not part of a calorie control diet!
And then to Calais. The journey between Annecy and Calais took about 8 hours, proving how easy it is to drive from the Channel Ports to the ski slopes in a day.