17.06.2011 28 °C
Tuesday 14th June
French pit stop for the Bird
A little bit of a late start from our camp in Guise but what the hell, we’re on holidays. Pointed the Bird towards Reims & in no time we were having a coffee ’n’ croissant at a local café. We had a chat to a couple of Frenchman using our limited French & their limited English. We managed to get directions to the local Honda dealer as the Bird was up for some new rubber & fresh stoppers. I spotted something cool in the centre of Reims so we checked it out; it was the Cathedral Notre Dame. My Sister Michelle told me about this place & it totally blew us away. It’s absolutely massive & I’ve never seen such ornate stonework & I’ve seen a bit in my travels so far. Bird needed a pit stop so we found our way to Honda & fitted a new Pilot Road 3 tyre & new rear brake pads. The owner offered me a job because I did the work myself & he was impressed. The mechanics back home are total rubbish so I’ve taught myself how to do it properly. Anyway we were a fair bit behind schedule so we made a B line to Epinal which we did in great time with the help of a couple of wood ducks traveling at 150km plus. Set up camp & went for a walk into town & managed beers & Pizza for the night.
Wednesday 15th June
A Perfect Day
We eventually left the town that did not want us to leave (Epinal) due to road works and Denis not giving correct directions which also became the theme of the day. I think Denis was out on the town the night before & was suffering a major hangover. Denis giving incorrect directions allowed us to see some fascinating little villages and a registered horse and cart with a travelling family. Our breakfast was divine from a local bakery in a small village still in France, quiche and chocolate éclair with chocolate cream…mmmmmmm yummy. The roads started to get twistier and we started to climb in altitude the closer we got to Switzerland & with a fast traveling Audi in front of us that obviously knew the road very well the pace was very entertaining. Finally we were waved through the border check at Switzerland and immediately the scenery became absolutely breath taking, winding through hills, up and down and around, Ross was having a ball but was also disappointed he could not take in more of the view, you could even see Mount Blanc in the distance covered in snow. We arrived at our 4 star Camping ground just after lunch and took care of the mundane stuff (washing) which was slightly entertaining working out how to use the machines with no English instructions. Finally with that out of the way we headed to the shores of Lake Geneva………..Freakin Awesome this would have to be the most beautiful Landscape I have ever seen and the moment we clapped eyes on it I will remember forever. Winding down through vineyards on a narrow road sided by stone walls we looked down on Lake Geneva and Looked up at the Mountains. The water was blue and calm and even though there was a little haze in the air the mountains were picturesque. As soon as we parked the bike in Vevey and walked out onto to the shores edge a gentle calm came down on us and we knew we were in for a perfect evening. Ross’s first stop was a bar where a boat was moored and the owner was enjoying a beer, then we found a beach bar with sand and beach chairs which was right up our alley so we kicked of the boots and wriggled our toes in the sand while throwing back a couple of beers enjoying the awesome view. We then proceeded back towards the bike and grabbed a couple of pizzas where the waiter told Ross his French was not as good as he thought it was Mate Hehehehe was funny. We sat on seats stuck to the rocks and watched the sunset on Lake Geneva. (Words cannot describe the beauty of this place) To finish the evening we ordered a bottle of wine back at our camping ground and sipped and enjoyed twilight in Switzerland.
Thursday 16th June
Tess’s Planned Day
Chateau Chillon on Lake Geneva
We woke early due to a hole in the air bed caused by one of my rings. So we were away to get to the Chateau Chillon for opening at 9am because I had been warned to get there early to beat the crowds. We spent 2 hours exploring the Chateau which was very cool, I even managed to super impose Ross into some armor in a photo and we managed to stay ahead of the bus groups and school children which by the time we left were swarming all over the Chateau. Our next stop was Gruyere village and Chateau where we were to get chocolate and cheese. The roads on the way to our stop were to Ross’s liking as they were very twisty and bendy and windy and twisty and bendy and windy all very good for the bird and her new tyre. Why you would pay to take the toll roads and miss out on the scenic route I do not know cause we had more fun and did not pay a cent. We arrived at Gruyere and parked at the bottom and climbed a steep hill in 27 degree heat while viewing snow capped mountains, the weather was fantastic again. The only disappointing thing about our stop was the battery died on the camera due to me taking too many photos, lucky I did not miss too many picture opportunities. Then of to our final destination for the day, Interlaken, via even more twisty, bendy roads. The ride in was awesome following the mountainest shores on another lake through heaps of hand cut tunnels, pity the cars in front were not traveling at a pace we preferred. We thought the views of the mountains around Lake Genève were specko but the ones coming into Interlaken are even better and that is where we are going tomorrow up through the alpine passes, COOL! Denis (GPS) failed on the first attempt to find a campsite but the second one was spot on, best campsite yet. Right on the shores of a glacial river which is a bright turquoise blue due to the melting ice. Pity we weren’t here last week as there was a music festival here with bands like Foo Fighters, System of a down, Disturbed, Apocalyptica & Wolfmother to name just a few. Next stop Andermatt.
Friday 17th June
Swiss Alps & Strawberries
Today was the day to have a crack at a couple of Swiss passes we have watched heaps of times on YouTube, Sustan & Oblepass. First victim was the Sustan pass which is only a bit over 60km but climbs 8000ft in that distance so you can imagine how many bends are on it. We made our way to the summit through the clouds, above the snow line and on mainly dry roads, the only damp patches were in the tunnels carved through the mountains. We stopped for the usual photo & for Tess to do her first snow angel in real snow, there you go Wendy she has now done it. Over the other side & down into Andermatt for a break & a refuel. Oblepass was next which is over 2 hours of more mountain roads to the town of Chur which we covered with a huge grin on my face the whole way. There were a couple of tunnels along the way that went down through the mountains & took at least 10 minutes to get through, furkin huge. My new tyre are going to be worn out on the edges instead of the centre & I bet we are going to be a little sore in the morning. We made camp at Chur in another spot on campsite which I found without the use of Denis cause it had no idea where it was.
We had tea at a small motorway café and conversed with the owner whom did not speak English but we managed to get our information across and so did she. While we were eating we watched a lot of people walk into the forest across the road and decided we were going to investigate what’s going on after tea. We walked under the motorway and up the path to discover it was a hot spot for young people to drink and sit around the fire and also along the walking path we found wild strawberries and proceeded to gorged ourselves on them as we walked. Back at the camp grounds we also found that the tree bearing fruit next to our tent was a Cherrie tree YUMMY. Plan for tomorrow is off to a new country, Germany & explore the Black Forrest.