Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I think the first bit might be a bit hilly ...

The view from my hotel room window in Andermatt.
We arrived in Andermatt just before 9pm after an epic 510 mile drive from Lille.

Or rather it should have been a 510 mile drive, but for a few wrong turnings and a failed attempt to find lunch at a nice local restaurant en-route.

I can only imagine that the whole of France must have been on holiday or strike, because despite it very definitely being lunchtime every single restaurant we found (in three separate towns) was closed.

The climax of our failed attempts to find lunch was when we stopped at a Best Western hotel just off the motorway on the basis it would be definitely open, at 1.58pm. After answering the call of nature we returned to the hotel bar at 2.01pm to find the barmaid turning off the lights.

Thankfully we had better luck at the motorway services, where I was able to have a steak cooked to order. I think that could only happen in France.

The remainder of the days calories were provided by a bag of acacia gums, which came in a range of flavours, all of which seemed to be located on a continuum of flavour that began with pine resin, and ended in toilet duck.

I do not recommend them.

It turns out my driver Damian has some history of driving this route, having previous driven a "£60 Volvo with no brakes" the exact same route passing through Andermatt in the Staples to Naples rally a few years ago.

Thankfully he has upgraded his car since then.

My first impressions of Switzerland are very good. It's been on my list of places to visit for a long time and the scenery is as stunning as the people are warm and friendly. Despite managing to reserve a hotel room online for the wrong evening, the manager just laughed and charged me 80 swiss francs less than the agreed price.

Andermatt is a lovely little Alpine town, that seems to be doing almost as well with hikers, cyclists and touring motorcyclists in the summer as it does in the winter when it turns into a ski resort.

We spent the evening having a pizza and a couple of beers in a friendly local bar that never seemed to want to shut. In the end the bar tender outlasted us and we headed back to our hotel to grab a few zzz's before the morning.

I'd definitely come back here, however now the time has come to ride.


  1. Good luck Mark. No chance of getting any food in France unless you're at the seaside - it closes for the summer as they all head off on holiday.

  2. Good luck Mark. We,re tracking your route here(especially Isla) she has just informed me we need to get a better map :) so off to the shop we go!

    1. I better watch what I write then ...

  3. Good luck, looks like a tough journey. Fat controller is checking your route for tomorrow. Don't over do it looks like a fair trek ahead