After leaving the French Alps we wandered around the lakes of northern Italy… Maggiore, Como, Orta and Lugano. Lake Lugano shares its shoreline with Switzerland so in the name of in-depth exploration we crossed the border, only to be shocked at how expensive it is there… and when an crotchety old man with more money than brains reversed his (very expensive) car into our van and then just drove off without checking to see what he´d damaged, we thought that we should really rather get back to Italy, where people are just as likely to reverse into you but at least their reactions are likely to be more… normal? So much for Switzerland.
The lakes are beautiful but not really camper van territory… there aren´t many open spaces to spend the night, so we mostly camped in parking lots in the baking sun. Summers are hot and humid here with frequent thunderstorms, which meant that the van was transformed into a sauna and some of our most unpleasant nights were spent on the shores of lake Como. On our last night the heat broke with a massive storm and we discovered a relatively remote monastery hidden in the forest near the north of the lake, which made for a slightly more pleasant overnight spot.