Jim and Elsie’s 1978 Tour – Day 21

Friday, 21 April 1978


Good motorway. Lots of cultivated fields, fertile plains, very windy. Steep climb to top of Semmering Pass. Snow on hills – a winter skiing area. Travelled alongside river Mur and passed many little villages.

Semmering Pass

Lunch at —– a very interesting host. Anxious to look after everybody. Very neat and well painted dining room. Soup, salad, meat loaf, slice of rich cake.

Three-hour drive to Italian border. Road narrower. Lots of  heavy traffic. Many timber trucks, large timber mills. Passports collected and stamped at the border. Whole process takes about ½ an hour. (£1 = 1550 lira).

Went to the bank and collected 64,470 lira – at this rate we will soon be millionaires. Inflation in Italy is running at 20-25%. Cup of coffee 400 lira, tea 300 lira, Kit Kat 200 lira and [only] a 100 lira coin from a thousand lira note. It is like using monopoly money.

From the border [it] was not far to Tarvisio – a ski resort for the overnight stop. The hills are quite steep, covered with snow but are shrouded in mist. The room has a large balcony that overlooks the mountains. Should be a good view but it was still mist-covered the next morning. The sides of the roads are lined with snow that has been cleared from them. The footpaths have heavy drifts in some places.

Tarvisio from the hotel balcony

Much slurping and laughing in the dining room as everybody ate their spaghetti. Meat (camel’s meat the waiter told one small girl) and small chunks of fried potato and fruit.

Elsie thirsty at 9.30 and said she would have a large beer thinking it would be in a glass. Came in a large 1 pint mug. Helen (Alan’s girl) took a photo.