The light morning sunlight streamed through the open window. The tall trees swayed in the gentle breeze and I looked into the deepest blue sky with a sense of relief. The past few weeks had been hard on us- with rain and clouds making it difficult going for us. We were at Lyon, staying with Bertrand Desgrippes the President of the Ducati Club of the city- and this morning we will ride to Bern. “I promise you good weather” Bertrand had said last night- and looks like he delivered on his word, I thought.
Bertrand and his son Julien were both avid motorists- and true to their soul, they insisted upon doing the chain cleaning and lubrication of our Scrambler before we started out. We took the Çourse d’Herbouville following the course of the Rhine through Lyon and then the A42 which travels through picture perfect landscapes and greenish blue lakes. Near the little town of Montignieux we crossed the swift A’Lain river… from there till Geneva, we were fording steep valleys and rushing through hairpins of the French-Swiss Alps. As we were navigating these regions, the skies changed again- and high in the Alps, the rain gods showered their blessings- yet again. In these altitudes there are also strong crosswinds in the mountain passes- and there were times when we struggled to stay on course against the lashing gusts, the torrential downpour and the accompanying temoerature of 10-12 degrees centigrade. Cold, wet and hungry, we laboured on until we climbed down the slopes to Lake Leman in the Geneva region.
The French-Swiss border crossing was easy, except that we had to purchase a ‘Vignette’ their highway toll sticker. The issue: it comes in a single denomination- One Year. Thus we paid the Swiss road toll for one year though we were not more than a week in the country- Ouch that hurt!
Perhaps our toll fees was also the ticket to sunshine- because that very moment, the rains stopped, the skies went blue and the sun shone bright. A word about driving/rding in Switzerland: speed limits are enforced extremely strictly – beware speed at your own risk. It made sense for us to take to the country roads- and sample the Swiss countryside. What a great decision… because we were soon in the middle of amazing countryside. All around us were green fields- of wheat and barley interspersed by orchards of apples and grapes. Along the lazy hillsides we would cross bunches of cows grazing and there were occasional farmhouses with steep roofs and chimneys. I could picture a grandpa, sitting out on his porch-bench, smoking his pipe and watching the day go by. Mmmm… life here was really pretty- almost surreal in its appeal. So perfect that even the cows on the hillslopes seem to be positioned just perfect for the picture!
The shadows grew longer, the sun set upon us somewhere along a tiny village called Faoug bordering the Lake Morat. We finally made the last 50 kilometers to Bern where the beautiful, kind couple- Ruth and Thomas Eggenschwiler awaited us.
“Au Revoir” France… and “Hello” Switzerland!!