We left Chamonix about 10.00am following the D1506 up into the hills. We crossed the Col de la Forclaz before staring the twisty descent into Martigny. With the GPS set to survey roads/avoid tolls and fees we followed a little country road (route 9) along the river running roughly parallel to the motorway. About half past 11, we stopped for an early lunch in the deserted town of Riddes, at the only cafe open. It seemed strange that all the shops in both Martigny and Riddes were closed on a Thursday – it was like passing through ghost towns – people were few and far between – we don’t know why?
We carried on again following the back roads until we came to Steg, where I noticed some twisty roads etched into the side of a hill on the other side of the valley, and of course we had to try it out! We followed the beautiful mountain road up into the hills until Vince decided it was taking us too far away from our intended destination, and so we turned around. This is where the fun began as we found ourselves at what we thought was a toll booth….the lady at the window demanded 19 Swiss Francs….. Vince questioned this excessive amount for the short distance we had travelled, only to find she thought we wanted to board a train with our bike. After finding a colleague with more English skills we explained that we wanted to go to Tasch (which we knew how to get to)…we were informed we were on the wrong road and were sent up towards the cars queuing to board the train and were redirected back down the hill ….and were soon on our way….goodness knows where we could have ended up if we had just paid the fee and joined the line.
We returned to Steg, enjoying the twisty descent of our little detour and headed off towards Tasch/Zermatt. A short time later we arrived in Tasch and easily found our campgrounds, conveniently near the Terminus for the rail to Zermatt, where we intend to go tomorrow to see the Matterhorn. I had a bit of trouble with the office as the lady did not speak English, but we managed to indicate two people, one motorbike and one tent…..my miming skills are improving! The cost was 66 Swiss Francs for two nights, over double what we were paying in Chamonix…..Switzerland is very expensive!
We walked to a nearby shop and got some supplies for dinner and tomorrows breakfast. Texas Marinade Chicken tonight for us! We love our new frypan! As we ate our dinner, Vince notices two wild mountain goats that had come close to our campsite….much to the amusement of the local campers. The goats had really, really big horns. Their front halves were all black and their tail ends were all white. They munched happily on the flowers and stalks on the hillside.
We chatted to a neighbouring camper, Earnest, who has travelled extensively, two 12 month trips. One from Europe through Siberia into Mongolia and then back through the Stans, Iran and Turkey before returning to Europe, the other was the West Coast of South America up the Pan American Highway to North America and Alaska, before heading East to New York. Both trips were done in a large truck that looked like a mobile hotel but now he and his wife have a smaller, but well equipped Mercedes Motor Home.