We left Chatillon and eased Bertie up the road to Cervinia on the Wednesday before Easter. It wasn’t clear how busy Cervinia would be this Easter but it was likely to get quite busy. Snow conditions had improved later in March, exciting the skiing community, and the Italian long weekend always enticed families out to make the most of the extra days holidays. Italian schools don’t have a long Easter holiday like may other European countries.
Defying the cold
As we climbed up the valley we could feel the temperature dropping. It was both a good and a bad sign. Good because it would mean better snow, bad because there is no electricity in the sosta at Cervinia and so we would have to use our gas heating for the first time this trip.
Before we set of on this journey Paul stripped out and reconfigured the ducting for our blown air gas system. The original ducting had been squished and, in some places, disconnected, delivering heat in random places, like the food cupboard (melting our chocolate biscuits and encouraging vegetables to send out shoots). We were hopeful that Paul’s work would improve the heating but were still concerned that we would overheat at night.
Unfortunately our Cervinia experiments didn’t give us the results we had been hoping for. The heating was more uniform but even on minimum our van was settling at 17 Celsius. Way too hot for us at night. I was getting the sweats in the middle of the night. It doesn’t help that I’m now experiencing hot flushes (fortunately the only symptom of menopause so far),
For a few nights I would get up and turn off the heating as soon as I felt too warm, but in the end we resorted to the old pattern of running the heating in the evening, turning it off at bed time and then turning it on again at about 6 or 7am when the first of us got up for a morning wee. When we get home it will be time to investigate replacing the thermostat.
Paying for parking
In our previous visits to Cervinia the sosta has been monitored by someone who comes round a couple of times a day. But things have got a little more high tec with a QR code at the entrance to the sosta which will take you to a website where you have to divulge all sorts of personal information in order to make an online payment. Ok, it’s not that bad but I really don’t understand why some places in Italy ask you for passport details etc whereas others are just pay and display.
We also noticed that there were now very clear no motorhome signs in other car parks in the town. We met a couple who had managed to get a parking ticket and we also saw the police moving people from other parking areas up to the sosta.
We tend to prefer to use the designated parking where possible, but have to admit that in Cervinia the long walk to the slopes makes it very tempting to park a little closer.
On our first afternoon in Cervinia we didn’t go straight for the slopes, no matter how tempting. We took a walk into town to try to decide how we were going to manage the practicalities. The Cervinia sosta is great but is a good couple of km to the slopes, further than we want to walk with all of our ski gear. And last time we had been here we found the buses to be pretty random.
We popped into tourist information to get the bus timetables. The ski bus only runs on weekends and holidays at this time of year and they didnt have the timetables for the daily paid bus service (we eventually found something on the arriva website). While there we asked which ski hire shops would offer ski storage. After a little language difficulty we worked out there were two options, either use the 2.0 Ski Rental shop in Cervinia, or the lockers up at the Gondola Station.
We opted to try 2.0 Ski first of all who gave us a bargain price of €30 for a week. We took a look at the lockers to see what we were getting for our money, we haven’t used lockers very often so they seemed very high tec with their warming rails for helmets, gloves and boots (all of that sweaty damp kit slowly drying does make the area a bit pongy though). We didn’t look any further, we were sold.
A few drinks
On the way back from sorting out our ski storage we popped into a new Irish Bar in town. It didn’t have any Stout or Cider. Very odd. It did have London Pride bitter on tap so I treated myself, but we were a little disappointed.
After that I stuck to a spritz (Aperol mainly). Paul tried to get gin and tonic, but found that many bars had tonic but no gin or vice versa. Aperol and tonic became his drink of choice, not bad actually even though he got some funny looks. Our favourite spot for a post ski drink was in the Paninoteca at the Plan Maison gondola station. Big dollops of Aperol and accompanying aperitivo snacks for a reasonable price.