October 2010 Italy Switzerland Austria Germany
Part 3: Switzerland
On a late October morning me and Tobias leave Torino and our good friends there behind planning to drive our bikes up to his house in Switzerland. During the first pit stop I get a chance to water myself using his bottle. Look how the latter, aptly coloured, looks like a piece of his bike:
As we reach Aosta valley we decide to put some warmer gear on since we later expect much more cold riding close to a couple of thousand meters above sea level:
The SP26 goes through scenic sharp and steep slopes and the closer you get to St Bernard via SP27 the higher the altitude and interest go. I can't forget the golden brown colours that the trees wear this season. We take the Great St Bernard tunnel as the pass is closed due to snow and when we make it to the other side in Switzerland where we stop for some pictures:
A few km later downhill we picture ourselves at a (closed) gas station with a nice Joe Bar graffiti behind us (my favourite biker comic btw):
Have you noticed that we don't even dare to take our helmets off in the last pictures? Yes, it is that cold. However, nature shows mercy for the rest of the route and we arrive at Tobias's house at Troistorrents drama free.
Next morning I grab the chance for a couple of pictures from the balcony and as you can see there's not much to complain about with a view like this:
It's a Saturday so Tobias is available and willing for some riding around which is bound to include places he would also see for the first time. We ride North up to Yvorne where we make a stop at the local winery of Domaine de l'Ovaille. We didn't try any wine but unavoidably tried the view. I have to say at this point that yes, Switzerland's beauty is no secret but the view of these slopes covered with vineyards combined with the snowy Alpine peaks in the background is priceless. The cloudy day and lack of proper gear can't do justice but still you can get an idea from the following images:
Superb. And we're not done yet! We continue North to Corbeyrier and after that village this nice winding route (known as Route de L'Hongrin) takes us to a single lane unlit tunnel built pre WWII and then to a nice view point at Les Agites overlooking Valais, Port Valais and part of lake Geneva:
A few kms later North the next view point offers wider view to Geneva but better choose a less cloudy day than this one:
This route later takes us to the military zone of Petit Hongrin. The road is open only on weekends as on weekdays they're doing shooting exercises and doesn't sound like fun to be around as a civilian. A few meters away from the military base a Swiss tank makes me stop immediately. I park my bike and walks towards it,
I start climbing,
And then achieve one of the highlights of my travelling career:
We make a loop around the mountain and then head back to the house to warm our bones.
Sunday is even colder and the clouds make the slope on the other side look like it's on fire:
Monday is one more step closer to real winter and I start wondering how I'll manage to continue my trip. I still have to do Switzerland, Austria and Germany while the winter starts showing his teeth with snow getting close to our altitude:
Tuesday is a bit similar with a bit more sun:
I decide that tomorrow I'll leave the place anyway no matter what. I spent time on my laptop preparing the lowest route possible (without toll roads though) as I have to cross the whole Switzerland up to its North East end to make it to my next destination in Austria.
As I wake up next morning I rush to the window to see how my ride will be like. Have a look at the temperature:
Trust me it tells no lies. Look at my bike:
Yes, that's a thin layer of ice all over it. I still had to go anyway though so I put my gear on and start one of my coldest rides ever.
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