Swiss Trip

July 2009

This year we decided that we would like to participate in the Swiss meeting and then trundle off on our own afterwards to blat around the mountain passes and do a bit of sightseeing (see below).

Distance travelled: 1,967 miles (2-13 July)

Countries visited: France, Switzerland, Italy & Germany

Stopovers: Joinville, Menzberg, St Moritz, Davos, Chiavenna, Grindelwald, Schaffhaussen, Condiment (nr Mulhouse), Nancy and Reims.

Weather: Mixed, when it was sunny it was hot, but too many showers, some extremely heavy and prolonged and plenty of low cloud.

Passes driven: Fluelapass (twice ), Albulapass, Julierpass, Ofenpass, Passo dello Stelvio, Passo di Foscagno, Passo d'Eira, Passo del Bernina, Passo del Maloja, Splugenpass, Pass del San Bernardino, St Gotthardpass, Furkapass and Grimselpass

Other good drives: Vosges mountains, especially Col du Ballon, which passes over Ballon d'Alsace, and the Routes de Cretes, which passes the Grand ballon. Incidentally, Le Tour de France cycled along the Route de Cretes soon after our return.

Other significant places visited: Rheinfall, Schlumf Museum, Circuit de Reims.

En route to our first stop at Joinville, we had a quick tour of Le Corbusier's Notre Dame Church
Our arrival at our second stop at Menzberg was greeted by rain, low cloud and a rainbow
The view from our hotel window the following morning, punctuated by the sound of cow bells
Ready for the final leg to St Moritz
The biggest Newton's Cradle we have ever seen!
Stunning scenery on our travels
En route to the ...
At the Hotel Steffani in St Moritz, we used a car lift... get to the car park on the 1st floor

I think, in total, there were some sixty 7s present in St Moritz including contingents from Italy, Germany and UK. On the Sunday morning of the trip when we all left St Moritz, we were allowed a convoy through the town and this certainly got the crowds gathering to watch.

View from The Schweizerhof Hotel overlooking the Engadine Mountains
Group shot taken by St Moritz Lake
En route to lunch at Hotel Piz Mitgel in Savognin via the Julierpass
View from the hotel

Having driven the passes I can totally understand why people get excited about them, we will definitely go back. We were fortunate, because the weather was not so good when we drove the Stelvio from the East, we had a pretty much uninterrupted climb of the 47 hairpins, no more than a handful of bikes, cyclists and motorhomes. As far as touring is concerned I reckon that blatting around Switzerland/italy is the track equivalent of going to The 'Ring.

Views from the top of the Stelvio taken on a mobile... our camera fogged up due to the heavy rain!
The other side of the Stelvio Pass was bright and sunny!
Descending the Stelvio Pass
A mobile milking station!
View from the top of Passo del Bernina
One of the tunnels on the Splugenpass
Lake Montespluga
In case we didn't know what a cow looked like!
Great view of hairpins on the Splugenpass
Top of the old San Bernardino Pass
Descending the Pass
Very effective use of an arm-waving mannequin to slow traffic down at roadworks!
View from the top of the St Gotthardpass
As you can see, we are in typical July clothing!
Coming down the St Gotthardpass...
...the weather was closing in
Still icy up at the Furkapass
Above the clouds at Furka...
...but nicer on the descent as we head towards the Grimselpass
Looking back towrds the Furkapass descent
Approaching the Raterichsbodensee reservoir
Unusual mural on the dam of the Raterichsbodensee

One big disappointment was that the weather was not clear enough to justify the trip to Jungfraujoch (Europe's highest railway station at 11,333ft/3,454m), the main reason for staying over in Grindelwald. Another smaller disappointment was getting water into the camera lens just before starting the Stelvio (fortunately it subsequently dried out quickly later in the day) so photos of the initial ascent remain on our mobiles.


Fortunately the 7 behaved impeccably and didn't miss a beat, only had to top up with 1/2 litre of oil all trip, the only minor blemish was losing the fog light lens (my fault, overfilled with petrol and didn't realise that this would have the effect of 'dissolving' the plastic lens as since advised by SVC). All that is left is 2 little circles of red plastic around the lens screws.

It is certainly worth getting a Sat-Nav as this enabled Maggie to enjoy the trip more, excellent navigator though she is, it was nice for her to not have to worry about keeping her nose in a map. Another plus point is that on the passes it helps to forewarn of the severity of the next turn.

You'll notice from the photos at Reims that the buildings are gradually being renovated, not so much in structure, but the fascias are being repainted by a group dedicated to restoring the pits, control tower and tribunes to their former glory.

Anyway, we had a fantastic trip, despite the sometimes poor weather conditions and furthermore this was done without the 'safety net' of a windscreen and doors . Helmets were donned just the twice when the rain was really, really too heavy, but otherwise goggles, zandanas/baseball caps were more than sufficient with the Brooklands and occasional half-doors.

During the trip we also stayed at Grindelwald, visited the Rheinfall in Schaffhausen, the Vosges Mountains en route back to Zeebrugge and clocked up our 50,000th mile in the Se7en since we purchased it 10 years ago.

Swiss 'celebration trees'
View from our balcony at Hotel Lauberhorn
View from cable car on Grindelwald-First
Grindelwald from First
Mountain flowers
First Flieger.....
.... an 800m descent at 50mph
Roller-tobogganing during the weekly....
....street party in Grindelwald
Rheinfall at Schaffhausen
Access to island via ferry boat
Rocky outcrop in centre of falls...
...view from the top
Typical sunflower scene in France
Memorial to a Halifax crew in the Vosges mountains
Field of poppies on the way to Reims
67,290 miles equates to 50,000 completed by ourselves