Time flies when you’re looking forward to something! Just a blink of an eye ago, our counter on this site showed 7 weeks to go…and already it’s time to get in our trusted TWIKE for a new 10-day adventure across Europe.
Although we had sustained torrential rainfalls during the last week – if someone told me that we were going to be driving through rain for our first day of TDAF2016, I insisted that our first day crossing Switzerland would be a picture-perfect day. The more I spoke about this first, perfect day, the more convinced I was that just this would happen. What happened? See for yourself 🙂
JC arrived at 6.30. With a very relaxed routine, we packed all our luggage into TW560 and even had time to have a coffee (jc) and a strong cuppa (me).
We bade our farewells and were on our way.
Just a few minutes into our drive, we were convinced that this would be a perfect day – early morning mist was still clearing and we already were able to see the alps…where we would be in just a short while!
As always (I think I’ll create a page for all the team pictures i’ve taken in my TWIKE in the near future) we take our team picture to show how pumped and happy we are to be on our way.
Although traffic in and around Zurich was heavy this morning, we were compensated with the view of the alps clearing up by the minute.
We cross Zug and Lucerne we head out direction Hergiswil and Lake Sarnen.
And how does the new battery affect our trip? We have no need to rush or think about where we’re going charge next. With over 300km range, we just can stop anywhere and take pictures, talk to people, have a drink or just stop to take in the scenery. This massive battery and resulting range needs getting used to!
Every now and then, we stop and get out of our TWIKE to look at things or talk to people.
It’s very difficult to describe the beauty of the landscapes we encounter today: We are basically driving though a picture-perfect postcard. Quaint little villages with their wooden houses, red Swiss flags and many flowers are framed with deep green pastures with grazing cows. We hear their bells and our very low-key hum from our electric motor does nothing to disturb this idyllic scene.
I’ve been at this very point with TW560 very often (and blogged about it in 2008 and 2014). It gets me every single time!
After crossing the Brünig pass we drive along the lake towards Interlaken and its many, many tourists. Many a picture is taken of TW560 in the process of crossing the town. We, however, know Interlaken very well and therefore don’t stop. I’ve picked a very small road / shortcut to Frutigen and am looking forward to seeing Interlaken and lake Thun from a new perspective.
See for yourself! 🙂
Fancy a drive-by video from just this point? You’re in luck 🙂
We then drive up to Kandersteg and have TW560 taken to Valais by train. JC and I haven’t done this with TW560 since 2009.
15 cold and windy minutes later we emerge in an even hotter and sunnier upper Valais.
Chamonix, our final destination for today is still 135km away and (most importantly) we still have to cross 2 medium passes to get there. We decide to give the batteries a quick 1-hour quick charge in Sion, a beautiful town with a 6000 year history (one of the oldest, proven settlements in Europe), complete with castle and cathedral.
We arrive in Sion and quickly find a park garage complete with 7 charging bays – new and old infrastructure – included in the parking fee. (Zurich: look, this is how it’s done!)
During the charge, JC and I wander around the old town and eventually settle in a cafe with outside seating. We completely forget about the charge and only get back to TW560 after 90+ minutes and 185km range.
Our next challenge is to leave Switzerland and the Valais by climbing and crossing the Forclaz pass -> 200m to 1500m. The road winds its way up the hill and is visible from afar:
On our way up, the view opens up and lets us see the lower Valais from a new and interesting angle.
What could the perfect addition to such a perfect day?
An important anniversary!
TW560, my trusted vehicle for so many years is about to reach a milestone just very few TWIKEs have reached: 200,000km!
On our way up to the col de montets, the odo-meter clicked over and I was able to capture this moment.
I’m looking forward to the next 200k!
Just a short drive down very bumpy French b-roads, we reach Chamonix.
I was luck to find a reasonably priced 4-star hotel for the night, since Chamonix is booked over 90% and prices are sky-high for any kind of stay.
After checking-in we head out to Chamonix and see a village in the iron grip of tourism…
After some good and (for me used to Swiss prices) reasonably-priced food, we both feel tired and head back to the hotel for some rest.
This was our trip for today.
TW560 gets a free parking spot and plug for the night – good night!
Check out our interactive map to see our plans for tomorrow.