Postcard from the Edge of a Precipice

There is an old expression:

Heaven is where …

  • the cooks are French
  • the policemen are English
  • the lovers are Italian
  • the car mechanics are German and
  • it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where…

  • the cooks are English
  • the policemen are German
  • the lovers are Swiss
  • the car mechanics are French and
  • it is all organized by the Italians.

Well, a 1,100 mile (1,700 km) European motorbike tour of some of the highest peaks on offer just goes to support many parts of that expression. Italian organization is so atrocious, it has to be seen to be believed – from road works to shop opening times, I am not sure how they get anything done. The Italians and the French also seem to have a competition about who can craft the more lethal roads on mountain passes, examples hereof:

  • No crash barrier available? Not to worry, we can just tie a bit of string between a couple of trees – that will stop a car or bike going over the side.
  • Not enough obstacles in the road? No problem – lets get some cows to meander across them
  • Bridge swept away by raging river? Use the treacherous, unpaved, mountain footpath – that will do
  • Mountain pass road surface washed away? Not to worry, just leave it, it will freeze over in the winter.

The trip took us from Germany to Austria, Switzerland (about 4 times), Italy, France (down to Côte d’Azur) and back to Germany on a car (well, motorbike) train. On the bright side, the French food is OK (sometimes, see picture below), the Swiss countryside is breathtakingly beautiful (and windy) and the Italian people are so friendly and kind, it borders on the unnatural. We had one day of rain, and as all the hotels in town were full, were taken in by a convent where we were fed and watered for € 22 a person (and a couple of prayers). Heavenly.

Take care all,
PS Personally, I still feel hell is wherever the French people are, but that is a different story…

(c) Ian Kimbell - All rights reserved

(c) Ian Kimbell - All rights reserved

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