Kilometers (cumulative): 1142
Border crossings: France-Switzerland; Switzerland-Italy
We left Besancon in another fit of blazing sunshine. I could get used to this. Once again everyone congregated in a hypermarket car park and today there was a fancy-dress theme of mobsters and dolly birds so the 86 cars and their respective passengers gathered more strange looks from French by-standers.
As we set off, the GPS appeared confused, but in a stroke of luck took us through a phenomenal winding lane alongside the river that doubled back on itself up a hill. Perhaps Simon’s programmed a learning algorithm that recognizes our occasional intent to ignore it and plant the MX-5 on some tight bends instead. A to B, no motorways, no toll roads, if there is a hairpin bend within 25 kilometers, take us via that.
Check out a teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSNRq2h1R5A
The dry and rocky landscape turned to lush and flat green fields after some time and started looking distinctly more Swiss. The Swiss border crossing was a bit of an anti-climax an we were pulled over by a man-child who made us pay Euros for a motorway pass that he gave us Swiss Francs change for. We didn’t even get searched so we could show them those high-vis jackets and breathalysers that we definitely, 100% are in possession of. Although we did escape having it stuck to our windows and have it intact if anyone out there wants to buy it at a discounted rate. Also if anyone wants a good EUR/CHF rate we can sort you out.
We headed towards Lake Geneva and took the road that swept the north of the lake. A thin layer of fog sat above the lake and above the lake and above that, the snow-topped mountains jutted upwards. The water was calm, clear and still and even the birds flying across it seemed to do so carefully and slowly.
Halfway round the lake we saw the group of Stags also doing the Crumball Rally. Unfortunately the steering arm of one of their Corsas had bust and they had to scrap the car. The steering arm was, shall we say, nudged out of place. What goes on tour, stays on tour – sadly, that included one of the cars. All was not lost, as 6 stags between 3 cars became 6 between 2.
We continued around the lake and headed toward the mountains. The temperature had dropped considerably and it felt like a different season. The aim was to go up and over on Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard, which is the third highest road pass in Switzerland and lies in between Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, but due to the amount of snow on the Alps this year, it was closed and we had to go through the tunnel. Swings and roundabouts – we weren’t complaining in February.
It was unfortunate to miss out on the beautiful views of the pass, we did hear that some groups tried it anyway and had to turn back.
Turin has a dilapidated charm to it, especially just outside the city, but the shopping district still had shops where you can buy fancy bags that adorn the arms of most Italians.
After a delicious pasta course, Secondi and a couplorfew glasses of Barolo it was time to hit the hay. Final day coming up.