France, Italy, Switzerland & Germany - Summer '22

A fantastic trip across France to the Alps & back. After the last couple of seasons of rather restrictive movements was really good to stretch the legs and have some planned, and some more random adventures.

Starting off in the Haut-Savoie for a slightly delayed meeting with the olds & a bit of luxury - being given run of a room in a lovely alpine chalet they had arranged. The plan was to be in this region for another week to hit up some of the legendary cycling routes but sadly weather didn't agree - and that would be a slight theme of at least part of the trip.

So instead of taking on the likes of the Telegraphe, Galibier & Croix de Fer change of plan as we headed down to the Italian lakes in search of sunshine. A consolation week by lates Orta & Maggiore... such a beautiful area, and plenty of sublime roads, so yeah, that'll do!

Back into clouds & the mountains as we next took our chances in Switzerland, getting super lucky with a day of sun and the most amazing hike to Trift Bridge - highly recommended. A little cycling here too, but sadly cut short by, what do you know - a huge storm. Doh!

Looped back into France via the Black Forest as for us, no trip over here is complete without some German beer & schnitzel - yum! Couple more stops, including an evening of merriment with more family and... home!

After the last couple of trying years, can't help but think how amazingly lucky it is to do what used to feel 'normal'. More of the same in the years to come, please!


After a toasty day driving across most of France time to relax: well deserved appero in a shady camp spot. Cheers!


Seems 2hr+ dawn ride not enough today so took 100s of steps up to tiny church perched atop volcanic rock. Nice view!


Today's parking spot: on the shore of Lac du Lit au Roi. Lucked out here - it's beautiful! smile


Today's dawn ride: river Rhone, sheep, canals, Lac du Bourget, a tiny chapel, col du Chat & Jongieux vinyards. Phew!


What's this?! Dinner with old folk on the terrace of an Alpine chalet. Cheers everyone - thanks for having us! smile


Beautiful one day, rain & fog the next. That's mountain weather for you! Not to worry - I needed a rest day anyway wink


Rain & fog cleared by noon so: so much for a rest day. Mind you, this little forest hike was still pretty relaxing smile


Olds insist on taking us out for dinner. Who are we to argue? Beautiful food on an Alpine terrace. Nom, nom, nom! tongue


Left door ajar overnight & someone took a nap in the jamb. Hello little fella! Moved him on safely after he woke up.


Col de la Colombiere loop. Criterium du Dauphine here a few days ago so road silky smooth. Beautiful climb & descent!


No 'any driver' insurance on rental or surely I'd be behind the wheel? Still - kiddy seats in back aren't all bad wink


Erm, wasn't I just here? wink Sightseeing with olds on Col de la Colombiere. Kiddy seat bonus: I get a beer. Cheers! grin


Out of luck with weather so au revoir Haute-Savoie! Crossing Col des Aravis. Hope Pratiwi is praying for some sun! wink


... and so we find ourselves on the shores of Lake Orta. Quite pretty with some hills around. Weather seems OK. Phew!


Evening walk in Orta San Giulio. What a beautiful little place!


Today's ride: Lakes Orta & Maggiore. Ridiculously beautiful! Many cyclists out & even traffic is well behaved smile


Dinner at Pane e Vino, Orta. Absolutely loved our platter of meat+cheese & breads. Sublime flavours. Great beer too!


Just as we finished dinner this concert was starting in the square. Lovely ambience on this lakeside summer's eve.


Random shots from today's little drive along Lake Maggiore. Feriolo then coffee stop in Intra. Another glorious day.


Unbelievable Italian/Swiss ride. Lakes, spectacular Maggia Valley & super technical descent to the finish! Love it!


Found this tray of random pastries from the local bakery waiting on my return from this morning's ride. Score! grin


Short walk into Cannobio centre. Along the lake of course. Now... what's for dinner!?


Dinner? As if you couldn't guess: beer & fanta then pizza, pasta & tiramisu! Nom, nom, nom! tongue


Nasty hail storm. Thankfully not big enough to cause damage but could be our cue to leave! wink Arrivederci Italia!


Few minutes drive up the lake... Ciao Svizzera! Quick look around Ascona in the rain. Still beautiful smile


Lunch of Italian treats picked up as we left: Gorgonzola+mascarpone, tiramisu+pastries, ham, tomatoes & bread. Nom!


Swiss motorway toll is 40CHF so bit miffed sat in traffic. But at least didn't pay half a million plus to do so! wink


Stay on target. Stay on target!!! Erm... I mean... driving the Gotthard tunnel wink Almost 17km long so plenty of this!


Driving the Susten Pass (2,264m) in rain & fog. You'd think it would suck but: wow! Love me some misty mountains! grin


Awesome Swiss public BBQ pit. With firewood provided! Right by a spring on small riverside walking trail. Very nice!


Quite a drive today so short evening walk to get the legs moving. Parked up in Aareschlucht, Switzerland. Very nice!


Stumbled across on this evening's walk: Aareschlucht Ost train station. Sliding doors in side of a mountain. So cool!


Rain forecast, but awoke to blue skies so maybe it's our lucky day? Fingers crossed as we hop in this cute telecabin.


Short & sometimes steep hike up to the Trift Bridge. So lucky it turned out nice smile Sure, this is pretty, but wait...


The Trift Bridge. Because why wouldn't you build a rope crossing between cliffs above a glacial lake? A. Maze. Ing!!!


Onwards & upwards as they say! Last part of today's hike via Windegghutte. Few chains on this climb. Awesome route!


Late lunch after a morning's hike. Last of the fresh pasta from Italy sitting under a shady tree. We like it here smile


Grimsel Pass with an Italian champion. Nice! Was gonna do Furka Pass too but torrential rain came & killed that plan!


Yum lunch from Warung Kecil tongue Amazing so nice & sunny given downpour only 1hr earlier - see clouds up valley behind!


Random shots from today's instalment of 'Driving Through Switzerland in the Rain'. Bit of a theme forming here!


Lucky lunch find: amazing Thai buffet. Saw customers having seconds, followed the lead & had 2 plates like this! Yum!


Evening stroll in Vitznau, Lake Lucerne. Interesting train station here: Rigibahn was 1st mountain railway in Europe.


Today's ride. Too spectacular for words! Lake Lucerne, Lake Zug, Sattel, Schwyz, Illgau & return. Just wow!


Time to leave Lake Lucerne... really love this place. Last of the views on the road above Weggis. Tschuss!


Laufen Castle by Rhine Falls. There's a restaurant with beautiful terrace here, but it's bit warm for a Sunday roast!


Rhine Falls, Europe's largest waterfall (by volume). We were passing so had to have a look, but a little puny TBH tongue


Willkommen in Deutschland! 2 mins after crossing the border sat with a beer, eating schnitzel & pulled pork. Nom! tongue


In a bakery for dessert: huge slab of layered sponge & cream cake covered in marzipan & chocolate. Unusual & v. good!


Today's ride: awesome Black Forest tonne... & a bit! grin Bit toasty (cue obligatory ass sweat picture). Erm, sorry? wink


Huge post-ride dinner of German goodies: Schnitzels, chips, pork & spaetzle. Strudel & of course beer. Hits the spot!


Had a wonderful dinner in the town square here in Staufen. Love towns & villages like this. So colourful & historic.


German supermarket. Hallo! Showed great restraint only buying 2 cases. Few bottles of fave weizenbier too. Prost! grin


In German industrial area picking up snail part. Kebab shop here has huge plate easily enough for 2 & delish! Nom! tongue


Sunset at Lac de Vaivre. Parked up in a quiet spot by this lake. Very nice & thankful it's still not peak season smile


Easy morning ride through vineyards & villages of southern Bourgogne. Impressive monastery in Rimont. Lovely area.


Place we fancied for lunch in Charolles full so ate snails, duck & creme brulee in Digoin instead. Could be worse! wink


Nice spin in Parc naturel regional des Volcans d'Auvergne. Quite a mouthful! But great park could spend more time in.


Random rest stop overlooking Viaduc de Garabit. Build by Eiffel (you know, the tower guy) so an historical monument!


Dinner with sis who's more into wine than smiling for a selfie wink Frogs legs, 7hr leg of lamb & soft choco cake. Nom!


Obligatory, "We're on a road trip across France in July", picture grin