France & Switzerland

2006

3 weeks through france and visit Switzerland and return via Germany

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The2006 family tour in the motorhome - Sunday 13th august 2006 - Friday 1st september 2006
 

the eiger of switzerland

The Eiger , Switzerland

  The plan travel down to Dover ferry to France call to visit Brother, continue to Chamonix in the bueaty of Mont Blanc.

The head for switzerland and the Berneese Oberland to do a little walking.

Then up sticks and head for Germany, although time would run out and a dash through germany would be made and a promise to retirn next year.

Well more dilemmas more planning more shall we shall we not moments and here we were planning a trip back to Switzerland and pronominally Interlaken. This will be about my seventh visit Okay another route another means of transport, but still Interlaken. The trip is set at 3 weeks split one week down one week there and one week back.
The scenery and excursions from Interlaken has to be one of the best in the world. My favourite being the train journey up the Jungfrau

 
 
The original plan except we missed out 8 and 9 and went straight from line to Koblenz

1970 miles

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Sunday 13th August 2006 -

Buysschere (15km NE St. Omen , Somewhere in Northern France (392 miles 7 hours)
Camping La Chaumiere,

 
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First nights camp site
     
  Okay it was not the best start 9 o'clock before I turned the wheel. Only 352 miles to the ferry the GPS said and in a time of 5 hours 50. After a full day at the match on the Saturday I was not looking forward to it. It was chucking it down, damp and miserable. In the end it went rather smoothly taking 6 hours door to door. On the ferry as I catch up with the maps and decide how much further to drive today. Well we managed another 50 miles to find a campsite recommended in the MMM magazine, and it was well recommended a lovely quiet small site in a small village which came complete with a bar restaurant.

 
 
 

Monday 14thAugust 2006 (3nights) -

Muides-Sur-Loir , France (270 miles 5 Hours)

 
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all parked up
 
 
 

The journey was going to plan and that was to catch up with my brother Anthony and his wife Tracy who had been here for a week already with the 2 kids. We arrived to find a lovely campsite complete with all the children facilities and a nice small bar restaurant. The children facilities and pool were excellent. The biggest complaint on site had been the weather over the past 3 weeks. However we stayed dry during are 3 days at the site with the rain falling at the right times of the night.
Most of the journey was completed on peage (expensive toll roads) to cover the miles more quickly. The N roads are wonderful but tend to go through all the small villages and the time disappears before the miles.

During are stay we were to visit the chateau of Chambord, a chateau built in 1509 and a wonder to see both inside and out. The Michelin guide was right in awarding it a "must see" category.

The village of Muidas was a very pretty village which was closed for all intent and purpose. After a 2 mile frog march to find a bite to eat we were back at the campsite.

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  Tuesday - No Miles just lazy visits  
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Harry and Paul outside the chateau
 
The Chateau
 
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Chamboard from the rear
 
Chambord from the front
 
 

Thursday 17th August 2006 - Montargis , France (80 miles 2 hours 20Min), Camping du la Foret
Well time to leave, 11 chucky out time. The morning had started with a downpour so leaving became a bit easier. We all decided to have a run to Orleans about 30 miles to the east. although the guide book did not give it much rating it turned out to be a worthwhile visit with a splendid Cathedral plenty of shops to keep the girls happy, oh and a merry go round for the kids.

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Helen and Paul in Orleans

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stained glass in the Cathedral

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Merry go round time for Paul and Harry

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Reportedly one of the tallest in France

By the time we had run the town dry we said our good buys to the family and only managed another 50 miles before calling it a night at a municipal campsite in the forest at Montargis. (okay dark and spooky woods). I soon realised at 13euros the difference between the 41euros we had paid the previous 3 nights. For our sins of stopping after 80 miles we were short of our 200 mile target of Bueane, so an early start was the plan for Friday.

Friday 18th August 2006 (2 nights)- Chamonix-Mont-Blanc , France (338miles 6 hours)(1090Miles total)

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Sleep torture, no choice last night but to park under a tree and as we had learned through experience don't park under a tree. If it rains and rained it did the leaves fill up to the brim with water then deposit it load at once on the roof of the camper. Its like being bombarded with pebbles from 10 yards metres. Never mind the excuses we were up and fed for 8.30am and ready for the off.

1Today we will travel to Chamonix (4).This is where the scenery starts to unfold as you approach Mont Blanc. The run was pretty boring until you approach the last 150 miles when you realise why you have travelled so far to get here. In 5 visits it is the first where upon on arrival a cloud in the sky was not to be seen. The Mont Blanc range is a marvel and crowds had gathered at the side of the approach road to take photos of this magnificent impressive view.

Camping du la Barrett's was to be home for the next 2 nights, the difference in France with the campsites is no firm commitment just pay when you leave for the number of nights you have stayed. so if the weather is bad then you can always move on. A passport guarantees your payment as you leave (nothing daft about this lot).

view from the campsite of Aiguille De Midi


Saturday the excursion of all excursions it was to be a risk from the start get up early make our way to the cable car station, pray for good weather that one the cars would be running and secondly if they were then the visibility would be worth paying the money for. this of cause is a visit up to the Aiguille de Midi, a mountain by the side of Mont Blanc standing at 3800 metres.

We arrived at the cable car about 8.30am and it looked not to good not to bad. The station was open the visibility was variable, the cable run across the glazier from the top was closed due to high winds. Undeterred we paid our money (£70) and we were on our way.

Well what a mixed bag we had but overall it developed into one of the best days we have had. The view came and went the cold got colder and at the altitude we all felt dizzy. The final lift accent to the top was free because of the variable visibility, but I could not complain as I could see all I wanted it just came and went. The sight of mountaineers heading off into the White Valley from the top just made me wonder how mad or how fit these people could be.
 

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Central peak at 3842m.

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North Peak at 3802m

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At the top

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Lift notice on central peak

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the clouds open up at Central peak

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It looks impressive from the bottom, but what is is?

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Ice cave at the top

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Proper walkers- the difference of 5000foot

On the return we departed the cable car at the change over station at 2317m (7500ft) and went for a walk as to not take the shear altitude change in one hit. You move 1471meters in 5 mins this is the highest cable car in the world.

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Time for a walk at halfway point-Plan de l'Aiguille at 2317m

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View of Mont Blanc from the first station

The temperature change here on the day in the return run was 28c in 11 minutes departing the cable car back at base was 25c an end to an unbelievable experience.

As we walked back to the motorhome a lot of activity was to be seen, the rescue helicopter was flying relays the local hospital next door to the campsite appeared to be active with police and staff staring up the mountain. We were to learn that the body of British climber lost 17 years previous had been found on side of Mont Blanc.

Sunday 20th August 2006 - Randa, Switzerland (90 miles, 2 hours 30 mins)
Sadly time to leave Chamonix this would not be last visit here, it is truly a wonderful place. Just to ease my passage onwards it rained like I hadn't seen for a long time. However by the time time we arrived in Randa just a few miles from Zermatt it was 26c. The plan had been to stop at Visp, however on the spur of the moment I decided to drive down the valley to Randa which would make the train journey a little easier the following day.
 
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The wonderful town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

The road to Switzerland leave Chamonix (4) today and travel to Randa (5)

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Interlaken is shown (6) and grindlewald(7)

The camp site at Ronda, camping Attermanzen must rate as one off the best views offered in Europe.

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campsite Bar, Restaurant and play ground

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Pitch for the night

Monday 21st August 2006 (3nights) - Interlaken , Switzerland(110 miles 3Hours 15Mins)

Up early take the train to Zermatt which is one of the few towns in Europe not to allow cars and another top marks from the Michelin guide. An excellent day for the weather a cold start but soon heating up. 8am start for the train and I can never believe how busy this place is a train every 20 minutes to take you the 5 mils or so into Zermatt.

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The train to Zermatt

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No cars allowed

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Then the beauty appears from around the corner

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The Materhorn-A picture says a thousand words


After arriving back to the motorhome we made a late start to reach Interlaken via the Furka Pass to visit the Glazier and a for Paul to buy more stones, and finally the Grimsel pass to complete our day of mouth watering scenery.


 

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furka pass Glazier

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Well chilled out

Campsite Interlaken The campsite at Interlaken the Jungfraublick was complete with one of the most friendly owners I have come across, only too willing to help as a guide and advisor ( without selling the tickets). it was complete with kids play area and swimming pool. Situated a mile from town it was perfect.

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shall we

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water testing time

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Jungfraublick camping Interlaken

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another site with a view

Tuesday/Wednesday -  No move (except to the repair shop)

Well all days can't be good can they, Well it started early in the morning to go wrong. First I am always a little choosey where I do my toilet necessities, always best at home with peace and quiet not sitting in a row of a dozen or so cubicles hoping the wind is not too loud etc etc. Praying no one is standing outside yours waiting for you to finish. Only to quickly to go and tell the whole campsite what a smell and noise you make. I always prefer to slip out with no one watching.

Well my nightmare, I was sitting there happy in my own world , when the door opened, The lock had failed to engage properly. Not sure who got the bigger shock me or him.
My belief was in that half second would he recognise me, or me him. Well he did when at the same time the next morning he walked into me coming out from the toilet block and said with a nice smile " You finished today ?". Worse was to follow I spotted him on the campsite and he's English he could bump into me anywhere.

Then two minor things, the regulator that keeps my battery in the camper part was not charging the battery. We then walked into town to ask at a camper dealer about a repair and while away the wind decided to launch one big gust onto the campsite on  an otherwise perfect day (weather wise) and tear my awing from the side of the van, fortunately for me another close by Motor homer Roger was at hand to wind the awing in with the help of the site owner which minimised the damage.

The damaged awing had to removed the following morning and thankfully help was at hand on the site to remove the damaged awing. This was later reaffixed by the local dealer Top Car and received same day service.
 

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Easy with the right tools and labour

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help was at hand from Chris and Roger


Despite all the happenings it did not spoil the day, we decided to make use of a six day rail and cable car pass on this lovely sunny day and headed for the mountains to start to do a little hiking. The rail network here is fantastic especially if you get on the right train.So the train we ended up on dictated what walk we would do. You don't only get platforms you get it broken into sectors so it may look one long train but it is actually 2 or three trains. These trundle of together to make better use of single track the you find the one in front turns right to your destination and yours trundles off into the unknown.
7000 foot up doing a walk in perfect sunshine with a view of the Eiger can't be bad. even the bill for the awing would not spoil the day.
 

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Cable car station which was the start of our walk

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North Face of the Eiger

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The end of a nice walk

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And the train back - even the stations are pretty

Thursday 24th August 2006 (3 nights) - Grindlewald ,Switzerland (10 miles)
Today's short journey took us only 10 miles from Interlaken (6) to Grindlewald (7) only 10 or so miles but worth it for the scenery and quietness of Grindlewald.
The reason I chose to stay here was for the beautiful view of the Eiger. Providing the cloud is high enough. Which is only about 2 miles away.

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The site at Grindlewald
 

On the way in to grindlewald we decided to catch the train from Wilderswill to Shynige Platte to do a little walk, which turned out to be a long wet walk it started fine enough but the weather in the mountains can change so fast.
 

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It started fine enough-Schynige Platte station at 2067m

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Paul starts in high spirits

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And then.....

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We got wet, it was only the lightening that hurried Karen

Friday- cable car to First and return from Bort
Today looked like cloud stuck to the van, then as the site owner predicted within minutes it had cleared and we were off. An excellent 30 minute cable car journey took you up 1000 meters to First at 2168m and the start of an excellent 6 mile walk. Taking you to the lake of Bachalpsee at 2263m for lunch and then Waldspitz for ice cream and finally an almost shear 400 metre drop to the cable car station of Bort at 1570m.

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Saturday - Time for another walk, Eiger Trail
the ease here that you can catch a train of cable car to another part of the region is fantastic. Along with the views it makes for a wonderful day out. Today I chose one of the Eiger stations and the possibility once there to walk the Eiger trail. a walk right beneath the north face of the Eiger. Starting at over (7500ft) 2320m you could feel the difference in the air. The walk would finish some 4 miles later back at another station with an easy return back to Grindleweld.
 

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Eigergletscher station - The start of the walk at 2320m

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The North Face of the Eiger

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Back at the bottom

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Another train on time and in the right place

Sunday 27th August 2006 - Lauterbrunnen, still in Switzerland
the original plan had been to spend a few days driving back through Germany at an easy pace to catch the ferry home on Thursday. However such is the experience and love of this place we have decided to stop 2 more nights and make a run for it on Tuesday.

We have also decided to change campsite to Lauterbrunnen not that we have any complaints here its just that we fancy a look at a different town and it will ease the time taking to do a couple of walks we fancy. The site at Lauterbrunnen, Camping Jungfrau has to be without doubt the best site I have visited in terms of facilities. It was big very big without feeling big. Everything nicely screened and the view was outstanding as this is the valley of the waterfalls.

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Lauterbrunnen campsite was a gem

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And so was the town

Okay it was great except on our last night which was to a visit of the local beer bars it rained. it rained so much that we never made it passed the campsite bar. Not to much worry the daytime was dry to an extent and gave us the time to visit Timoloch falls (3stars in Michelin again) which was well worth the hour spent.

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Top campsite award was going to take some deciding

Tuesday 29th August 2006 - Koblenz, Germany (360Miles, 7Hours)
Only time to head for home now.. No day excursions only miles on the Autobahn. Excellent located site exactly where the Mosel joins the Rhine. It said in the book that if it rained it muddy, it was raining and it was muddy. The 1euro ferry across the Mosel was fun.

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This was on one side of the river

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Motor home on the other

Wednesday 30th August 2006 - Kinderdijk, Netherlands (220 miles 4hours 20Mins)
This was billed as the home of the windmills, we where to discover it was not home of the campsite as we spent the night in a car park marked no motorhome overnight. The local pub landlord explained it was against the law to sleep overnight but at the same time said the police normally turn a blind eye for one night. How stupid to have a world heritage site and then no campsite for miles.
It turned out to be a good bar a good car park and a good tour of the windmills.
 

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Thursday 31st August 2006 - Ijmuiden , Netherlands (66 Miles 2 hours) and the boat home . Total mileage 1970Miles
One of the beauties of the the ferry from Ijmuiden is the fact it docks back in North Shields only 5 miles from home. While the travel outwards is never a chore the return miles are always hard work and this will be a joy only 5 miles and back home.

We made one slight detour to visit Delft and the pottery factory (thanks dad) a wonderful looking town with a little pottery, which only added 6 miles and passed away a couple of hours.

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top car, Interlaken (motorhome repairs) -

interlaken camp site -

interlaken railways - www.jungfraubahn.ch

camping Jungfrau, Lauterbrunnen www.camping-jungfrau.ch