The French Alps was interesting for a variety of reasons… first off, because the entire time we were in France, the Football world cup was on and by the time we got to the final, Portugal against… wait for it… FRANCE, while we were in France, you can imagine that the locals were somewhat ambiguous about us being Portuguese. Before we wiped the floor with them, the French were polite but quite smug in their convictions that their team would beat the Portuguese. But then, they didn´t… and their smug politeness vanished into thin air. So we decided to head to Italy, where people are less polite but at least you know where you stand.
To get to Italy, you either need to pay a fortune to use one of the tunnels that cuts through the mighty Alps, or you travel one of the many steep mountain passes. Since we are not rich and were, at the time, quite unemployed, we went with the mountain pass option, via Mont Cenis, which was beautiful but very cold (even in July, peak of summer). We decided to spend the night on the shores of Lac Cenis surrounded by brown cows and decend into Italy the next morning. Luckily we didn´t choose too remote a spot to spend the night and had the company of a few other camper vans, as it was the coldest night of the entire trip (it snowed on the mountain tops around us) and the next morning, we couldn´t get the van to start. Thank goodness for jumper cables and friendly neighbours!