So the final installment of our 2021 Euro tour see's us heading over the Splugen pass and into Switzerland towards Chur, a pretty road with great scenery but eventually we ended up on the Motorway and that meant the dreaded Motorway tax or Vignette. Basically the Vignette allows you to travel on Motorways, a hefty 40 Euros each and valid for that year, unfortunately we were only in Switzerland for a few hours so as always its a bit of a huge rip off. The Police here are not known for lenience so its a huge risk to get caught without one as the fines are stellar. I suppose that is one of the few things the Swiss are famous for, Swiss knives, dubious banking practices (hoarding stolen gold etc) and robbing the poor people who have to travel through their country, I suppose though it was our own fault for not being better organised.
We skirted Lichtenstein and then passed the border into Austria, they also have a vignette system but after paying 120 Euros at the last petrol stop for two vignettes and some petrol I decided not to add to the collective wealth of the EU and take a chance, the roads were very busy and at one point I could see a wide load ahead which looked like it was being escorted by two bike cops so we kept the speed down and kept our distance, after a few miles of boring slow progress the wide load turned off but the two "cops" didn't, as we caught up Fiona realised they were just two sad buggers playing cops with BMW's white helmets and dayglo jackets, she shouted over the radio, they aren't cops, cops don't have Givi topbox's on their BMW's ! Into Germany and a sigh of relief kind off, the land of no speed limits and no vignettes, hooray.
Germany though has got terribly busy, 3 lane Autobahns of nose to tail traffic doing crazy speeds, that's when the traffic wasn't at a standstill, funny how a day which started in the superb picturesque roads of northern Italy can change into something quite different in a short space of time. Roadworks were everywhere with the corresponding queues everywhere and despite filtering being illegal in Germany eventually we just had to go for it to get moving, roadworks seemed to be everywhere seemingly due to the construction of a new a high speed rail link causing the roads to be diverted, Chaos and not recommended. Our stop for the night was just south of Stuttgart at a town called Kircheim unter Teck, arriving at what I though was our hotel it turned out to be a meeting place for young people according to the bewildered guy who was wondering why this crazy Scotsman was doing blabbing on about a booking for a room, a youth club! Our hotel was across the road, Doh! As we went to move a guy came up and invited us to a biker party nearby that night, he tried to convince us to come along but we were knackered and just wanted a quiet nigh so we declined, very friendly though.
After a night in a typical Bavarian Gasthouse we set off for Kaichen just North of Frankfurt, home to our good friends Tomas and Andrea who we hadn't seen for years, a pleasant night there before heading to Liege in Belgium for the Sunday night, once again roads very busy, in Europe trucks can't move on a Sunday but the inside two lanes were full of Motorhomes, the scourge of modern times and which made progress just as difficult. Liege was a tad disappointing, we stayed here before a few years ago but it seemed dirty, rubbish everywhere and it appeared that groups of migrants were hanging around everywhere, at night as we wandered into the old town for food it felt like it had a bit of an edge about it, right outside the cafe area we witnessed two guys grabbing each other by the throat fighting and shouting in Arabic, I won't rush back for a while.
Monday and heading through Brussels was the usual nightmare, the M25 looks quiet compared to this and it was pissing with rain but soon enough we arrived to our friends Guy and Karin near Gent, where we had a few excellent Norton rallies a decade or so ago. A very nice evening with our generous hosts, having a beer in Guy's excellent workshop and then back to the house for a typical Flemish meal expertly cooked by Karin, wonderful, the motorcycle family is strong! The following day saw us heading to stay with Geert in Kortrijk, a wonderful evening and a load of our friends appeared for a nice party, great hospitality and such a great evening, thanks to all.
The end of the trip was drawing near so we took our Covid test in Belgium and headed to Escalles near Calais for a couple of nights in a hotel, relaxing , excellent we even met a couple from Perth who live about a mile away from us, crazy coincidences. Friday dawned and it was very wet as we splashed up to join the Queue for the Chunnel, a bit miserable to be honest, compounded by the customs guy asking if we had enough petrol to get home as there was none in the South of England. Off the Chunnel and "No Fuel" signs at Ashford services (we had filled up and were both carrying a 5 litre jerrycan each) A bit further up the M20 we went into another services and managed a top up, now we were good until Cambridge, round the M25, M11 and eventually to Cambridge services where they had no fuel, the following services was the same but luckily the next site had fuel, after a lengthy wait in the queue we fuelled up but then mysteriously my Triumph wouldn't spin over on the starter so Fiona had to push, I also enlisted the help of two guys who were having a fag outside the building and it started. The following fuel stop I just kept it running then at Scotch corner forgot so Fiona had to push again, the A66 took 2 hours due to god knows what, huge queues and it had been closed earlier in the day. We had booked into the Buccleuch arms Hotel in Moffat thankfully as by the time we got there we were knackered , the usual warm welcome from Dave and his son Clint and I did warn Clint his pushing skills might be needed in the morning, in the event they weren't, it started.
So three weeks, mainly wonderful riding across Europe, so glad we got away, all in all around 250 Euros for Covid tests which is bloody ridiculous in my opinion, some rich people are getting richer out of this virus thats for sure, just hope they pay their taxes ! Until the next time.......
|Tomas and Andrea|
|Inside the hut at his secret garden|
|Leige, needs a tidy|
|Really nice old buildings, it could be so much better|
|With Guy and Karine|
|The Boffe bar!|
|Random guy paid for our coffee's|
|Our digs in Kortrijk|
|Geert and Fiona prepare the BBQ|
|Great night with great friends|
|pre dinner drinks|
|Ferry heading into Calais|
|Imagine what this would have been like during the war, horrific|
|Found this, we accidentally stumbled on the Escalles Hill climb course|
|Cyril Smith was a bit of a hero, nice monument in recognition|
|Up North, its a tad chilly for drinks al fresco|
|Why does it always rain here on the way home|
|Queue for petrol but at least we got some|
|Clint coming out to push the Triumph but it decided to start anyway|
Thank you for posting Gino. Further woes at chez Myreside, so lying low at present.ReplyDelete
Good health, Myreside
Oh, not so good Bill, take careDelete
Aye, a great finale tae yir trip.Jist confirms hoo guid a bike is at openin' doors tae great freens (oh an free cups o' coffee frae strangers).Ignorance aboot the Swiss permit disny get ye aff...a wis lucky,camped et Winterthur,rain hissin' doon, so opted fur dual c/way road tae the San Barnadino pass,it took me past yir Chur...never saw a polis,they widny see me wi' the spray(ower 200 mile o'stair rod rain),then intae the sanctity o' Italia..Bein' frae Paisley a hinnae went near Switz. since....Here's tae mair guid timesReplyDelete
Bèen avoiding Swiss for a while but sometimes it just catches ye oot. Best door opener ever, a motorbike.ReplyDelete
Aye for sure Geordie, mair guid times