White Turf

Saturday 7th April 2018

Cathy posting,

By the way I have updated two previous blogs, Lost In France with a video, click here and the Imperia Statue in Konstanz, click here.

We are still on the pass in Rona. It’s a lovely sunny but cold morning in the shadow of snowy capped mountains, we considered driving along the west side of Lake Como but it will take too long as we plan a stay at Lake Garda, we’re on a mission to get to Garda as we were there in 2008 on a motorbike and the mist came down to ground level and we couldn’t see the lake even though we were stood on the edge at Val Di Sogno on the North East of Lago di Garda, So we head off through the sunshine towards the Julier Pass, the scenery is outstanding.

road to Rona from Chur (13)

Julier Pass (2)

Julier Pass (9)

We found driving on the pass amazing, some very tight hairpin bends with fantastic views, there were a few very green areas but mostly snow capped mountains, the pass is up and down, the sunshine through the window made it feel like 25°  but in reality it was about 16°

Dave coped well even with the hairpin bends.

Finally we descended and near St.Moritz we see a huge frozen lake.

Then we realise we’ve been here before, yes, you’ve guessed it! On the motorbike in 2008. The St.Moritz lake and it’s the place where the “White Turf” happens each February on the frozen lake, not summer!! as I said on the video! This is a horse race on the frozen lake and all the rich and famous gather to watch it, the horses and rider might get a bit damp in summer, ha, ha!

We stopped for a break and lunch, checked the search for sites and camper contact book for somewhere to stay, we decided not to head for Lake Como and instead stopped at Chiavenna, in the Lombard region, the sosta is free with services next to the river and there’s a small supermarket and laundry opposite. However even though we could do some washing we didn’t as the sun decided to make appearance we got our chairs out to enjoy the warmth, plenty of time for chores later.

ChiavennaCD (1)

Relaxing in the sun……

We had a meal that my sister Lou makes me, it’s chicken, gorgonzola, white wine, cream and chives sauce with tagliatelle and I love it and it just so happened the supermarket had the cheese, so it had to be done!

Found some wine for €3.50 and Dave found two large bottles of Moretti for €1 each and some cheaper Pils from Slovenia for €0.49 and the report back was that it was good!.

Cathy

Heidi Land – Switzerland

Cathy posting,

Friday 6th April 2018

We’re heading into Heidiland home of Johanna Spyris world famous Heidi story.

After making everything secure, it’s time to go to Switzerland via the Julier pass starting at Chur and ending near St Moritz, went to the service point for fresh water and the usual stuff. No fresh water here, it’s not working, and we have run out of water, never mind we will try and get some later. We drove literally around the corner after leaving the car park to the Swiss border control, the border runs right through the middle of Konstanz, oh! Let’s see what happens here then! The policeman has a quick visual at the windscreen as we slow down probably checking for the vignette and waves us through, however he pulled the next car over.

Great scenic drive through the countryside towards Bregenz, south of lake Bodensee and joined the A13 south to the Alps. The roads are super smooth and it’s a relaxing drive in the sunshine through Heidi Land, yes that’s what it’s called (most of Eastern Switzerland), we are intending to pitch up at Chur and stay for the night and tackle the pass tomorrow.

Pulled off the motorway, now on the outskirts of Chur, stopped at petrol station and asked if we could fill up with water, no problem they said, topped up & now we are ready to find our overnight stop.

In Chur there is a chargeable campsite and according to our own research also a free “wilding” spot, when we arrive the wilding spot is actually a Stellplatz for 5 Wohnmobile. This Stellplatz is literally a parking bay for 5 vans outside the gate of the commercial campsite plus it’s right next to a quarry entrance and lorries are noisy and whizzing past the end of our van, there’s concrete dust everywhere and the motorway noise is very loud! All this in direct contrast to the lovely Rhine river on our left. We go into the campsite next door to enquire about costs, it’s 33.50 CH francs, that’s €24-28, far too much! and after looking around it seems the campers are of a permanent nature, there were residents with permanent wooden structures attached to their Moho’s, some with guttering and drain pipes, we have seen it all now, it was a scruffy site and we decided it wasn’t for us. The sign on the Stellplatz said pay at the campsite reception so we asked how much to stay, 18 CH francs (about €13 or £15). We are hungry as we’ve missed breakfast, so we have some bread and cheese as it’s 3pm now and out comes the “saucisse expensif”! Feeling more comfortable we decide this isn’t the stop for us and we are out there pronto! As we hadn’t paid yet anyway, let’s tackle the pass Dave says, ok but what if we can’t stop anywhere? I say as it’s about 60kms, 1.5 hrs drive, Dave is sure we’ll be able to stop, and he wants to stay on the pass somewhere, so off we go.

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The weather is lovely and sunny and the views as we go up and down the pass are incredible! Snow capped peaks and then luscious green areas where the sun can get through, there are some very tight bends and I’m clenching my buttocks as we go around them, Dave is calm and steady even when he had to select 1st gear! We finally hit some ski villages and there are still a few people trundling along in the ski boots. We stop a couple of times to admire the views.

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Whilst we’re stopped I check www.searchforsites.co.uk (free to join) to see if there is anywhere on the pass to stay and it comes up with one 6 kms away at Rona, it’s a Wohnmobile Park with services and not sure if there’s a charge or not, we head there anyway as the photo looks good too. We find it easily, it’s a pleasant enough car park with EHU (electric hook up) and scenic holiday chalets and there’s still a heavy covering of snow but with spaces cleared for motorhomes.

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Aire in the Alps – Rona

There’s a shower block with washing machines but it’s closed, a restaurant is on site too and that’s also closed, so we thought oh it’s looks like it’s free then! There’s not a soul to be seen and the chalets are empty too.

Dave pops out to take a photo, it’s a very pretty spot even though the road is nearby.

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I decide to make a Russian’ish salad as I’ve got cold cooked potatoes in the fridge and Tuna instead of ham and some lovely Heritage tomatos picked up in France.

salad

Russian’ish salad, the photo doesn’t do it justice

 

We haven’t written a blog today but we decided we need to have a chill out night tonight and watch a DVD on the laptop tonight (The Way with Martin Sheen about his quest to fulfill his sons dream of walking the Camino de Santiago, the Pilgrims walk ) so we open some wine to go with the salad, we are relaxing now….”knock, knock” on the door, there’s a gentleman who looks like a farmer with his work clothes and wellies on, he speaks no English and we definitely don’t have any Swiss, he’s talking to me quite fast! I asked him if he speaks French, shakes his head, German I ask, shakes his head, out comes my phone with Google translate, I ask are you the owner? in Swiss, yes he nods, do we need to pay you, yes is the affirmative reply, how much? 25 CH Francs! that’s €21 or £18.50, ooh that’s a bit steep! With no services I thought silently, we don’t have any Francs so I offer him €’s he nods ok, I offer €15 and he smiles and takes it! (subsequently I realised that we had electric hook up! Time to wash and dry my hair!

Dave is laughing afterwards and he can’t believe I just bartered for a stay with google translate and a bit of a smile – Ha,Ha  yes I say but that £5 saved just paid for that wine you’ve been glugging away at whilst I’ve been working!

 

Cathy