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It was a tough 12 hour journey from the Vendeé to Morges [our Marc & Jocelyne refuge], partly due to rain and darkness. We had planned to stop over in a lay-by to sleep for the night, but decided at 4pm to push on, as the lure of sleeping in a warm bed was strong. We arrived in Morges just after 10pm and we slept like logs for 10 hours! This is the sunrise over the Mont Blanc that we woke up to!
Mr Stubby developed a wheel vibration at 65mph on the way, so Marc made an appointment for a wheel alignment check with his mechanic. The mechanic pointed out that the front tyres had worn erratically, so we ended up fitting two new winter tyres, which should help in the snow - even though it burned a hole in the purse!
Views from the apartment over to Lausanne in the distance,
and over Lac Leman to the Alps
Francois and Marion and Anne Christine came for supper and Jocelyne fed us exceedingly well as usual: starters, 2 helpings of main, 2 of dessert, followed by chocolates, bricelets and coffee! Our waistlines are ever expanding, which was not helped by a similar experience the next day when Christian came for lunch!
Christian enjoying his "Ostrich egg" dessert; Pèches avec crème vanille

Christian enjoying his "Ostrich egg" dessert; Pèches avec crème vanille

We walked down to the shops for some specific last minute Swiss items
and came across these black berries along the way [no idea what they might be]
On the Friday evening Jocelyne took us into Lausanne to the Christmas market at Place St Francois. The lights were gorgeous and the vibe was good as everyone stood around drinking vin chaud. Sandi found a delicious cornet of Spanish churros.
Jocelyne and Sandi with the Cathedral lit up in red, which you can just see in the background

Jocelyne and Sandi with the Cathedral lit up in red, which you can just see in the background

Sandi about to milk that Swiss cow!

Sandi about to milk that Swiss cow!

Marc reckoned that we would not be able to cross the Brenner Pass from Austria into Italy with the van without winter tyres all round, so recommended that we go via the Simplon Tunnel. One has to drive the vehicle onto a train which takes you through the tunnel, but the height restrictions looked as if we were not going to fit! Anyway David measured the van again and reckoned that we would actually fit without having to let the tyres down. If we didn't fit, then our choices were to negotiate the high passes of Brenner or Grand St Bernard or drive around the coast via France [a very long detour!] We wanted to catch the 10:30 train as the next one after that was only at 13:30, which would mean that we would get to Merano in the dark.

We set off rather anxiously in the dark at 07:30 on Saturday morning for the two hours to Brig. There was snow on the ground at Brig, but fortunately the roads had been cleared. We bought our ticket and drove on to the train with our mirrors folded back. At last we could relax!
While sitting in the van on our way through the tunnel for 20 minutes we made sandwiches for our breakfast, and we out the other end before we even finished chewing. The remaining 5 hours of the trip down, from the Alps via Milano and up the valley to Merano was easy, as it was mostly on autoroutes, with umpteen tolls to pay along the way [not as expensive as the French ones though!].
Buongiorno Italia!

Buongiorno Italia!

Posted by davidsandi 22:46 Archived in Switzerland

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