27 July 2010

So the holiday – France/Italy/Switzerland.

We had a great time, 2000 miles round trip on the Harley. We had rain, lots of sun, thunderstorms and rain, luckily more sun than anything else.

Our base for the trip was in St Gervais at the foot of Mont Blanc, a beautiful area, lots of twisty roads and hair pin bends! We arrived on the Friday after riding down from Folkestone on Thursday morning and over-nighting in Nuit St George. It was very very hot so we ended up riding in t-shirts carefully. I got sunburned lips and woke on Saturday with a trout pout, women pay £££ for the look, there are no photos!! Our journey was fairly uneventful apart from one fuel stop. Radio masts + Harley = blocked ignition, so we had to push the bike away from the aerial along the hard shoulder of the motorway, not much fun in 32C heat. It must have looked funny to passing motorists as at one point we were going downhill so Peter had to coast on the bike leaving me running behind, once we were clear the bike started!!

On Saturday we were up early and headed off to the Swiss Harley Days Rally at Lake Lugano in Switzerland, this took us nearly 6 hours, longer than I had been promised, however interesting ride! I’ll say nothing about Italian drivers. We managed 3 countries in the 6 hours. Our route to Italy took us through the Mont Blanc tunnel and was mainly motorway all the way, the cost of the tolls was incredible! Arriving into Switzerland we got caught another 40 euros for a motorway pass, so all in all an expensive exercise. Lake Lugano was busy/noisy as you’d expect with 1000’s of Harley, but it looked like a good time was had by all. The temperature was 35C and very humid. We managed to find ourselves a hotel - courtesy of the Swiss Tourist Board, for the night as the trip had taken longer than expected. Shower and change and we felt much improved. We had a good day walking round looking at all the bikes, eating ice cream, a few beers, a good dinner and then rain/thunder stopped play, as all the entertainment was outside the evening sort of ended, fireworks weren’t set off. I expect the local police were really happy.

Sunday dawned sunny and dry and we decided to head back via the scenic route rather than motorway, took us longer but it was worth it for the views. Lunch on Simplon Pass. Across Mont Blanc via the Cols des Monets pass. My knee breaks work really well! Still must be good for the inner thighs.

The most of the rest of the holiday was spent in the St Gervais area, we went up Mont Blanc on the Tramway du Mont Blanc to Nid D’Aigle (about half way up) and walked around a bit checking out the glacier etc. Lots of nice lunches, pastries (you should have seen this shop), wine, ice cream. We had another sortie into Italy to buy Parmesan and Bresaola then came back via the Petit St Bernard Pass (knee breaks again!! Phew it was twisty.) A few walks, trouble is what goes down has to come back up and in this area that’s steep, still I guess it worked off some the things we ate.

A highlight of the trip were the cats at the property we rented, one of them had 3 little kittens – so cute, by the end of the week they were letting me handle them without fuss, wish we could have bought them home as no one seemed to be feeding the 2 adults. We went through a whole pack of cat food, plus bread and milk and leftovers, they seemed to be happy to eat anything.

Time to go home and Thursday nights thunderstorms gave way to pouring rain, Peter packed up the bike in the rain and we set off in it too. All day we rode in and out of storms, not fun I can tell you. We finally made it to Reims for our overnight stop, a large glass of wine was needed I can tell you.

As I said it was a good holiday, but it’s always good to get back home, even if you have 10 days worth of washing and the garden has gone berserk – how does stuff grow so quick? Thanks to Rachel and Stuart for looking after Audrey, the house and watering all the pots and veggies, much appreciated.

Photos to follow......

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