Sunday, August 21, 2016

Over the highest mountain pass in Europe (13.08.2016 - 15.08.2016)

We drove over the french alps back home to Switzerland! 

But first we had another night in an old castle surrounded by vineyards in the Piedmont region. The following morning we took the most direct route to France. Not exactly the fastest but it made us cross the lovely Colle delle Finestre. At least the uphill part was... The downhill part was a dirt road the first eight kilometers. Not so funny on our tiny wheels.

Anyway, we made it and then crossed the mountain pass between France and Italy. Next was the Col de L'iseran, with 2770 metres above sea the highest in Europe! Okay it was only ten metres more than the Stelvio pass which we did in the beginning of the trip ;)
Snapped some pictures and then we descended to the village of Val d'Isere. Exhausted we decided to enjoy the lovely weather a bit more and stayed for the night.
In the morning we drove on to Chamonix to see the mighty Mont Blanc. And then we were only two passes away from Switzerland! Over some tiny passes we then progressed to Gstaad/Saanen for the final night. 
The night was short and the morning after brutal but we still managed to drive all the way home. 
In total we did 3'504 km in three weeks... At least I did, Winstons odometer displayed 90 km more?! Don't know which one is right :D

Top of Europe!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Along the Côte d'Azur (10.08.2016 - 13.08.2016)

After leaving Andorra (and crossing one gigantic traffic jam uphill) we drove to Carcasonne for the night. The little city is well preserved and looks really nice towering on the hill.
The following day we drove all the way east to the coast but didn't quite make it. The crazy Mistral made riding our micro machines way to dangerous. We were almost blown off and had to lean into the wind at certain times. It was blowing up to 60km/h from the side o_O. So we spent the night in Salon de Provence and continued the following day with a big headache ;). A lovely stretch between the hills later and we reached St. Tropez! 
Here we stayed on one of the luxurious yachts anchoring in the gulf. Okay it was an old rundown boat, but still! Having a swim and enjoying the view was awesome. Also at night we got picked up were all the fancy people waited to get to their boat :D The illusion was a bit spoiled when our broken little dingy arrived, but still! ;)
St. Tropez otherwise isn't really worth mentioning... A lot of ladies dressed as girls and a lot of girls dressed as ladies. Weird world between the yachts and Ferraris.
The next day I would never have traded our motorbike against one of these luxury cars. Almost all the way to Cannes was one never ending traffic jam. We must have overtaken millions of cars... 
A brief stop and off we where for lunch to Nice. Enjoying a last time the fresh spoils of the sea.
On to Monaco, country number eight of eight! Almost three thousand kilometers behind us and still not home :D
We toasted to our success and drove on.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In Barcelona and through Andorra (06.08.2016 - 09.08.2016)

After 24 hours on board we finally had land under our wheels again! Country number five!
In Barcelona we stayed in the (touristic) heart of the city, Las Ramblas. At the hostel we were met by Melanie, which had flown in for the weekend! :D
The next three days we spent drinking wine and eating tapas. I don't remember how many pinxtos we ate, but too many! Of course we visited the obvious places and walked around the gothic quarter.
To relax from the hard life the three of us drove south to the Platja de Gavà. A lovely beach with a little shack and bar. Here we got joined by some more friends on the way to Portugal, right off the ferry from Genoa with their hippie buses ;). A nice little reunion!

Then it was Monday and time to say goodbye. Melanie flew home and we drove on to Andorra. Some unpleasant motorway later we were on a winding street up to Andorra, country number six!
We got warned that it isn't worth a visit. What an underestimation... Gas stations, car and motorbike stores and way to many hotels literally filled the entire valley! We slept in an expensive hotel, filled our tanks with cheap gasoline and drove on. The mountain pass over to France was nice. But even on top of it at 2400 metres above sea where three! gas stations, wtf?!?

Friday, August 5, 2016

All roads lead to Rome (01.08.2016 - 05.08.2016)

Rome, Check!
Vatican, Check!
Ferry, Check!

We did finally reach Rome after a night of camping half way from San Marino. There we got the first rain on this trip, about an hour in our tent. Lucky so far!
Our two days in Rome where spent between sightseeing (just the bare minimum, the tourist masses and the heat made it impossible), some Vespa maintenance (leaky oil valve fixed, a new rear tire and oil change), drinking (did I mention the heat?) and eating (soo good!).

The time was up and we drove as close to the colosseum and the Vatican as the police would allow before chasing us away. Snapped some pics and we where off to the coast!
We boarded the ferry as one of the first and checked out our cabin. Many people opted for the cheaper option and slept everywhere on the floor. One couple even raised a tent on deck. Bad idea, once the ship started moving they got almost blown over board. The next day we arrived late in Barcelona due to a late start and rough weather.

During the ride we were afraid the rolling would make our Vespas topple over... Nothing happened, phuu!