Tag Archive: Chamonix


The view from our bedroom window

We awoke refreshed just in time to see a bunch of paravane parachutists enjoying themselves, swooping and swirling about in the clear mountain air above Chamonix. One tasty continental breakfast later, we were packing the bikes under a blue sky in bright sunshine and getting ready to set off. We have been so lucky with the weather.

In no time at all we were enjoying throwing the V7’s around some more twisty roads with stunning views and before we knew it we were at the Swiss border. We slowed down at the customs post, ready to be checked out, but no one appeared so we just rode on through. We were on our bikes in Switzerland!

We stopped to refuel and had a pleasant surprise as the petrol was much cheaper than in France. The prices were displayed in both Swiss Francs and Euros but my mental arithmatic quickly revealed that it was cheaper in Swiss Francs than Euros. I paid on my card and we decided to keep our eyes open for a cash machine so that we could pick up some Swiss Francs. No problem, after all this is Switzerland, renowned for it’s banks.

Near Martigny

We had a great ride and got to the town of Martigny, which was not too far from the village of Collonges where the Valais Moto Guzzi Club were having their rally. We had been looking out for a cash point on any likely bank looking type building since crossing the borderbut had failed miserably. Sarah pulled up in a layby outside the tourist information office and I went into the bank next door to try and get some Swiss Francs. As I walked in I realised why we hadn’t been able to find any cash machines: they keep them all safely inside. A few moments later I walked out much relieved, with our Swiss Francs in my hand. We were soon on our way again, destination the Moto Guzzi Rally.

Riding down the road from Martigny to Collonges, we had to pull over to admire a cascading waterfall that spewed out from halfway down a mountain. I love waterfalls, actually being around water generally, and this one was pretty spectular. A couple of photos later we were on our way again, only to halt once again by the side of the river we crossed over once we left the main road. We’d noticed when riding through the alps that one of the streams we followed was an amazing bluey-grey colour, and this was a river that was exactly the same! We had no idea whether it was because of being glacier run off or what, and later discovered that it was none other than the Rhone, so at some point we’ll do a little internet research to find out the cause.

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I don’t know about the sun shining on the righteous, but we left Camping Moto in fantastic weather, determined to make it as far towards Switzerland as we comfortably could. We planned to use the more interesting roads again, but accepted that it might be necessary to use one or two bits of motorway if we were going to get close to Switzerland.

Stopped to enjoy the view

Well, what a fantastic ride! Some truly amazing roads through stunning scenery. It was a constant fight between concentrating on the road and taking in the breath-taking views. More than once I had to drag my eyes away from a fabulous vista as the road was disappearing around a steep hairpin with a rock face on one side and a steep drop on the other! At one point we saw our two neighbours from Crest coming flying around a bend in the opposite direction. Mr Ducati seemed to be right on the limit and determined to get every last bit of grip out of his worn tyre! His mate on the GS behind was more relaxed, and had time to wave back.

When it started to get late we decided to jump onto the motorway so that we could get to Chamonix, which is just on the French side of the Alps, before we stopped for the night. We rode around a sweeping bend onto an elevated section of motorway that suddenly became a twisting turning bridge hundreds of feet above the valley floor. Stunning and nothing like I have ever ridden on before.

We continued into the dusk and were suddenly presented with a breath-taking view of the last of the sun’s rays striking Mont Blanc. Unbelievably beautiful and one of those moments that makes you realise just how good it is to be alive. We spotted a parking area and were able to stop and take a couple of pictures. The light faded fast and the spectacle quickly disappeared. We had been in just the right place at just the right time 🙂

We got into Chamonix at 9pm and struggled to find anywhere remotely within our budget that had any vacancies. No problem if we had been prepared to spend 150 Euros for one night! The owner of one lovely 2 star hotel turned us away with apologies but came rushing out after us saying that she had made a mistake. She had put two people who were sharing a room down as being in separate rooms, so there was room at the inn. Excellent.

They stored our camping gear on the ground floor for us and we gratefully moved into an en-suite room on the top floor. What an interesting room, with wood panelling and a bath that extended into the eaves – that made sitting up in the bath rather interesting!

We ate and drank our provisions and Sarah had a soak in the bath (being careful not to hit her head), whilst I blogged on the laptop. After a while we fell into the lovely soft bed and drifted off to sleep with the moonlight shining on the alps outside our window and thoughts of Switzerland in our heads.