The mountains are getting higher and the roads more challenging, we were heading for the high mountains and the winding roads. We have found them in the French Jura and the Alps in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
The French Jura
On our way from Northern to Southern France we cross the Jura, a beautiful undulating landscape with small towns and villages.
We park our Milady Landy on the French side of the Swiss border near Geneva, a quiet parking spot that we found at Park4Night.
We have a view of Geneva and Lake Geneva or Lac Leman, as it is called in French.
The French Alps
Tour de France
In Geneva we already had a view of the Alps in the distance and that naturally lured us further into the Alps.
Along the way we are reminded again and again that the Tour de France will pass in this region in the coming days. Because we have never experienced this spectacle before, we are looking for a good place where we can also experience it. Because the Col de la Colombière is already closed when we want to drive there, we choose to look for a next stage on the Col des Saisies.
We find a beautiful campsite with a view of Mont Blanc where we can stay for a few nights while waiting for the Tour.
In this video we give an impression of our journey through the Alps.
The day of the Tour de France it rains, but luckily we can conquer a nice spot along the course early in the morning.
This way we can follow the advertising caravan up close and especially the battle between Wout Poels and Nairo Quintana.
Refuge de la Croix de Pierre
From the campsite we can drive via a mountain path to the Refuge de la Croix de Pierre, between 6 pm and 10 am this path is open to cars. Exciting to drive on the road, but also exciting whether there is a possibility to spend the night at the mountain hut (refuge).
At the mountain hut we are warmly welcomed and we are assigned a spot in the “parking” further on.
In the evening we eat in the mountain hut, a delicious extensive cheese fondue.
And we are surprised by the beautiful sunset.
The place invites for long walks, it is beautiful.
Alpe d’Huez and Brainçon
Inspired by the Tour and the high mountains, we continue south. On the way we pass the Alpe d’Huez, we went there in 2014 with the first trip of the old Milady.
As we travel further, deeper into the Alps, we pass Briançon, a beautiful city that is definitely worth a visit.
The Tunnel du Parpaillon
Daniel, whom we met again at the Tour de France, advised us to ride the Col du Parpaillon, a beautiful route with the tunnel as an obstacle for the Toyota Hilux that was following us. The video below gives an impression of, among other things, this mountain pass.
The Italian Alps
Also in the video above, an impression of the Strada dell’Assietta, famous among motorcyclists and off-road drivers.
After this Strada we go to Lake Maggiore where we take a few days of rest, a quiet campsite with few facilities and the possibility to take a nice shower and do our laundry.
Later we go to the Isola dei Pescatori, one of the small islands in Lake Maggiore.
There are countless restaurants on this island and of course it is busy with tourists, especially Italians.
When I (Gert Jan) was about 6-7 years old, that was in 1962 or 1963, I went camping in Cannobio with the family. I remember that from the stories and I still remember some images of the market. We are looking for this town on Lake Maggiore again. It’s totally strange to me now 😉🤣, but a beautiful town.
That evening we look for a spot via Park4Night and find a parking/picnic spot with a beautiful view of the lake.
Camping in Switzerland is expensive and free camping is not allowed, but we decide to travel through the Swiss Alps. We have been invited to visit Rita and Niggy in Lucerne for a long time. We met them several times during our tour in Morocco in 2020 and got along well.
Our first stop in Switzerland is Brig. Then we cross the high Alps via, among other things, the Sustenpass. There is still a lot of snow on top.
In Lucerne we visit Rita and Niggy and collect stories of our joint and individual adventures in Morocco. We can sleep in Rita’s studio, wonderfully spacious with a private shower and kitchen. The reunion is nice, we seem to have many things in common and agree that we will spend a little longer together at a later time.
In the city of Lucerne, as in the rest of northwestern Europe, a lot of rain has fallen and the water in Lake Lucerne and the River Reuss is extremely high.
On the advice of Rita we drive past Bad Ragaz on our way to Austria. An international open-air visual art exhibition takes place here every 3 years. The weather is beautiful and we are pleasantly surprised by the quality of the works presented.
We haven’t really taken the time to explore the Alps on foot yet. Near Schruns in Vorarlberg we find a nice campsite that becomes the base for some mountain walks. We unpack our walking sticks, tie our backpacks on our backs and take the cable car to a great height.
The first day goes so well that we decide to take a mini hut tour to the Wormser Hütte. It is wonderful to be able to walk freely in nature with splendid views and beautiful alpine meadows.