Its Been A Hard Day’s Night…
Not long after we had fuelled the bike up, we checked the map and realised that we were not that far from the border of Switzerland…wow that came up quickly.
The sun was going slowly going down and it was getting chilly, we were thinking may be we shouldn’t have spent such a long time relaxing and warming up in Lindau at lunch time!..
We decided maybe we should look for a place to stay for the night.
After stoping and enquiring at many hotels on our route for hours, we found they were either fully booked, closed down (but still had signage to say otherwise) or they were ridiculously over priced, the most expensive we have come across and believe me these rooms were nothing exciting, there was no way we were going to pay that as our budget has been taken a hit recently, so we made the decision to carry on riding until we get either tired or hoping something would come up!
It seemed like we were riding for hours and of course we were, the small towns and lush green countrysides went on and on, the sun was slowly leaving the beautiful, clear blue skies behind, we were now riding in the dark, which is something neither of us are keen on.
At times i found myself dozing off, maybe for a minute or so, Clive awoke me as my head would crash into his!
Clive was also feeling the effects of a long day, and both needing to take a break, we rode into a town and kept a look out for some where to rest, we found a Macdonald’s on the outskirts of Zurich and stopped for a bite to eat and a much needed coffee, discussing our next move, making our selves at home in Maccas for about an hour.
Feeling as refreshed as we could get we decided to hit the road again, maybe finding somewhere we could put the tent up, the motorway was dark and there was a lot of traffic about for this time of night, particularly big trucks.
We rode on until about 12.30 am, and decided this was getting stupid, we could get wiped out at any minute with the big trucks thundering pass so we pulled in at a service centre, we noticed that there was a hotel foyer in the mall area that housed the takeaway food venders it was then that we decided that what ever the cost we will just have to pay it, Clive went to check it out, while i stayed with the bike, he came back saying that he couldn’t get into the building, it was closed up, so we rode around the car park looking for some where to put the tent up, but then decided the place didn’t feel right, so back onto the bike and down the motorway again.
We find another service centre, there was no hotel but there were some big trees with a huge canopy so our idea was that the tree cover would keep the cold and damp off us (as it was now getting pretty cold).
We had a idea if we put the bike onto its centre stand we could sit on it and maybe get forty winks, So with the bike on the centre stand, Clive leaned forward with his arms on the tank bag and i leaned into him.
I think we managed about 10 minutes of sleep then it got too uncomfortable plus there were lots of coming and goings of people, so we got back on the motorway until we came across the next big service centre.
The next service centre, which looked pretty new and had a huge car park, we pulled up and went inside the service centre, to have a hot drink and a wash and to thaw out my hands under the hot water, while i went back to the bike Clive was off wondering the car park grounds, there was a small area that was grassy and a few RV’s were backed up to the grass area, Clive had a brilliant idea of putting the tent up between the RV’s so we couldn’t be seen (as camping was not allowed), we didn’t have much choice as Clive was really tired and felt he couldn’t ride any more, plus it was nearly 3am.
With the tent up we dived in and didn’t even bother taking our motorbike gear off (except our helmets!). It didnt take long for both of us to fall asleep.
We woke up as the sun was rising, packed up our damp tent, before anyone noticed we were even there, and went off to have a wash and some breakfast, we don’t want to be put in that position again if possible, with both of us feeling better for a few hours sleep we set off in the direction of Vevey, which is on the northern shore of lake Geneva.
It was really a gorgeous morning once the fog had lifted, clear blue skies…just perfect.
We got off the main highway and took the country roads when we could, Switzerland is a visual delight, we rode past lush green hills, snow capped mountains in the distance, turquoise blue lakes that looked very inviting!- simply breathtaking.
As we neared Vevey the scenery was very mountainous on both sides of us, produce gardens were perched up on the sides of the rocky hills, this area is very beautiful.
Riding through the town, trying to get closer to Lake Geneva was a challenge, as there were lots of man made barriers blocking the streets, it looked like there was some sort of push bike race happening today.
Eventually we made it to the lake, the water on the lake was clear, a few boats were sailing around but not as many as we expected, may have had something to do with it still being early!
Some great artwork along the shoreline…
Eager for a coffee we were disappointed to find no coffee shops around this area that overlooked the lake were open, so back on the bike, the roads were quiet and the scenery was awesome, we had the lake to the right of us, the lake was a mirror of ‘grey’ that blended in with the mountain backdrop.
Still eager for a coffee we find that ever popular restaurant Macdonald’s again, taking our time to enjoy our coffee and the backdrop of the mountains… but we need to keep going, the lure of the South of France and warm sunshine was getting closer each day.
Gradually we start to climb, we are now heading towards the Great St. Bernard Pass (Col Du Grand St. Bernard), which is the third highest road pass in Switzerland with an elevation of 2469m or 8,100ft. It connects Martigny in the Canton of Valais in Switzerland to Aosta in Italy.
It is the lowest pass lying on the ridge between the two highest summits of the Alps, Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa.
Great St. Bernard is the most ancient pass through the Western Alps, with evidence of use as far back as the Bronze Age and surviving traces of a Roman road. In 1800, Napoleon’s army used the pass to enter Italy.
A few sportbikes ‘fly’past us on these twisting roads, they certainly aren’t loaded up like us!
The view from up here was mind-blowing, but that wasn’t the only thing that was blowing, the wind was keeping the temperature pretty cool, even more so when we were in the shade of the mountains.
Once we enter the tunnel we pay the toll and head off through the tunnels towards Italy, the tunnel wasn’t a solid wall of rock all the way through, there were large ‘gaps’ that gave us glimpses of the surrounding mountains, boy this area is beautiful, a few K’s before the end of the tunnel we could a ‘roar’, all of a sudden a red Lamborghini heads towards us, the noise was incredible, made worse by the fact we were in a tunnel, this car was defiantly not doing the required speed limit of 80 km/h or 50 mph and then it was gone, leaving a faint sound behind.
We exit the tunnel into glorious sunshine we are now in Aosta Valley, we start descending down this smooth road, as we have said many times in our blogs and i shall say it again, we were over whelmed by the amazing scenery.
The roads zig zagged through small villages with dark stone and slate roofs, we have gone back in time, in the distance sat castles on top of ‘lone’ hills, picture perfect.
We were now getting quite warm so we found a ‘lay-by’ stripped off our bike gear and made a cup of tea. There were a few benches so we made use of them by spreading out our damp tent, in this heat and wind it won’t take long for the tent to dry.
We did have to chase the tent around the ‘lay-by’ when the wind decided to take the tent with it!
With our cup of tea finished the tent was dry enough to be packed away properly.
As we declined further the scenery, got boring, or was because we had just ridden through some amazing scenes?
The towns were bigger as well, some pretty some not, much of this lower lying area was surrounded by corn fields.
There seemed to be a lot of girls wearing practically nothing standing on the side of the road in the gaps of bushes, hmmm.. what were they selling….
Trying top avoid the expensive motorways was impossible at times, but apart from being expensive they were boring straight roads, with not much to view but the barriers.
It was now mid afternoon and our lack of sleep from the previous night was catching up with both of us.
Turin was the next big city, but we really didn’t want to start trailing hotels in a big city to find the best deal, being tired can make you short tempered!!!!
I could see that there was a hotel located near an exit off the motorway, i pointed at it to Clive, as we got closer to the hotel we could see it was Holiday Inn, fearing that it was going to be out of our price range, we thought we would ask anyway.
Clive pulled up and i got off, taking my helmet off, i tried with out luck to tidy my hair, thank goodness for my scarf, it has hidden many bad hair days lol.
As i approached the entrance doors a well groomed lady asked me if i needed any help (i thought maybe she was going to stop me from going into the hotel!) i explained we were after a room.
At the front desk, i enquired about a room, wow a bit pricey, but not as bad as Switzerland.
As i exited the hotel, feeling a bit deflated, the well groomed lady asked if i had got what i wanted, i explained it was a little out of our budget, she then said we can have the room for 60 Euros, with free parking in a secure park plus an all you can eat buffet breakfast, wahoo.
The receptionist who checked us in said the mangers has never reduced rooms like that before…
After registering we freshen up in our big, clean modern room with lashings of hot water.
We hadn’t eaten much today, so we decided to go into the local town which was 10 minutes down the road, on the way i felt something hit my leg, i mentioned to Clive about it, he immediately knew what it could be, his glasses, upon turning the bike around we could make out something on the road, but as we got closer to them so did a few cars, running over them we feared that they would be crushed, i finally managed to pick them up in between on coming traffic, the frame was bent out of shape but the glass wasn’t broken, thats amazing, it would help to have an odd shaped face to wear them now!!!
At this time of the day we found not a lot open, we did find a super market and stocked up on supplies, on our way back to the hotel we noticed a patisserie, and feeling the lure of a cake, we stopped off the get a couple of ‘samples’, it was our duty to keep small businesses going!
An early night was on the cards for us, hoping to catch on on some much needed sleep, but first we had to Skype the kids…
Breakfast as we thought was amazing, the manager really did us a great favour, we think most people there were paying triple what we paid for the night and the breakfast.
We once more loaded up the bike and a great nights sleep we sped off in the direction of the Italian/ French border.