Get ready for more mountains. Three in one day.
I woke to a gorgeous sunny day and headed off quite early. I neglected to put on thermals as it was such a nice day - consequently had to pull over 10 minutes up the pass and strip down on the side of the road to put my thermal pants on.
I reached the top of Col de L'Iseran after several photo stops and for once this pass had a shop and a proper toilets (albeit French ones).
The trip down was slower as the road surface was not great and I had to contend with 100's of bicycles - no doubt practicing for tomorrow's race. The hairpins were quite close together so you can't get any speed up but Henry is quite an expert at hairpins now.
The town at the bottom was another very touristy ski town with enormous chalets and tons of very expensive restaurants.
It was already 11am and I still had two passes to go before I reached Switzerland. I stopped at a bakery for a snack and the lady pretended she didn't understand my butchered French. She was quite rude and managed to sell me a very sad looking slice of quiche - then gave me change for 10€ when I'd only given her 5€.
The road immediately ascended into another pass - Petite St Bernard.
This was the prettiest pass of the day and the one with the least amount of traffic - mostly motorcycles and a Land Rover convention. The French Army also put in an appearance, ambushing unsuspecting tourists. Perhaps they were playing war games with the Italians as this is the border.
The road was almost single track in places and there was a lack of places to stop and take photos of mountains.
It was then a short hike to Aosta - a fairly major town with equivalent traffic. The road signs are not brilliant so I managed to get lost a few times before finally finding the right road. The Grand St Bernard pass was the most frustrating. A queue of us were stuck behind a very slow minivan - who refused to pull over and let the quicker ones pass - and who moved into the middle of the road whenever there was a clear stretch.
He seemed oblivious to the abuse he was coping from drivers and riders alike - although the motorbikes mostly got past him without a problem. Henry is not so great at acceleration uphill and at 2200m he's a bit sluggish. I still managed to eventually get passed the road hog - with a great deal of effort!
This pass marks the border into Switzerland! It feels like a homecoming.
It was 5pm and I was heading for Montreux - one route only - the motorway. I was immediately amazed at the fantastic behaviour of the Swiss drivers. They overtook correctly in their own lane, gave me plenty of room when pulling back in and the only van to cut me up had French plates. I was chuffing along nicely at 100km/h and felt totally safe doing so. What a contrast to French roads.
I made it into Montreux not realising that it is the weekend of the Jazz Festival. The place was simply heaving with people and traffic and I was cooking Henry's engine trying to get to the campsite.
Stunning camping ground right on the water's edge and only 10€ per night. We were packed in like sardines but you could not get a more fantastic location.
The campsite has a kiosk so I had a lovely hamburger for dinner then went to bed early.