The eighth day of the eighth month of the year was the end of all bad weather. Watching the prognosis I was sure that the last day I would need any of my waterproof gear was yesterday. Any wet part for the rest of my trip would have to do with my sweat. It would take some time though to see any drop of it since I still haven't finished with the French Alps. I actually had one of their best part ahead. I leave Valmeinier on wet roads which started drying from the morning sun hence the day begun kinda hazy. I drive conservatively on the decent but wet tarmac heading West till I meet signs on D1006 forcing me to deviate. They have closed both this and the A43 for a reason I couldn't understand since I can't read French. I try to find my way on an alternative route going up the mountain till I come to a corner with view were I stop since I hear a helicopter flying very low and very slow. What has happened was a landslide which cut both roads while the helicopter was feeding the workers hanging on the almost vertical slope with metal nets to prevent further problems. Impressive and unfortunately not possible to picture. The combination of the morning sun and the humidity from last rainfall left no space for decent pictures. You can get an idea though at my video at the end of this text.
At some point I manage to get back on the initial route and I start going up in altitude and on the map as I am already in Vanoise National Park. It is an ultra scenic area, one of the best I've ever been. Valleys, glaciers, high Alpine passes, cows giving concerts with their bells, flowers and many other beauties made me forget the traffic which was heavy despite the fact that it was still early.
Have a bite:
You can enjoy the cows at the video which as usual ends my texts. I continue my way after all these necessary stops for eye bath, pictures and other personal needs, going up heading North till I reach at 2770 meters at Col de l'Iseran:
This is one of the best passes I've ever done. Very high, very beautiful and the route up to the top really unique cause this part of the Alps has the wild beauty of the rest with a spoonful of sweetness. A second pair of eyes wouldn't be enough. At this altitude a visitor can also see this really inspired bicycle:
I could stay up there all day but I still had lots of km to do. I ride on heading North going down towards Val d'Isere. Instead of stretching my "better than Trump but worse than Obama" English to describe you how it is like, better have a look at it from above and imagine how the route and itself is like:
Here's one more from the happy center dressed in little flags:
Can someone please beam me and my bike there whenever I feel down? Thanks in advance.
Beauty goes on at the artificial lake of Chevril right after:
Water like mirror, a few clouds just for diversity, what more can someone ask for? Well, there was more. The valley offers nice km to the lucky ones crossing it but definitely so does the ascending road to Italy up to the little Saint Bernard pass:
Together with Saint Bernard at 2188m I was leaving a lot of important things behind: No more France, no more high altitudes, no more cold. I go down to reach Aosta valley again on a scenic route:
It's already quite hot down there and I start to get hangry (angry & hungry). At some point I see a restaurant on a square and I stop playing the picky guy since I had no more patience. I decide to celebrate my entry to Italy and the epic moments I had with a pizza. I was drooling while browsing the menu and I show to the waitress (who of course spoke no English) my choice. "No pizza" she responds. Since I didn't kill her I have no idea what a girl should do to me in order to commit a crime like this. I fingerpoint her a focaccia and she says "no focaccia" (obviously their oven was over - don't ask me why). I see on the other end the owner's little daughter eating the last focaccia while smiling at me. Since I didn't find a good word to say for Herodes Atticus at this moment I guess I never will. I finger point a dish with tagliatelle to the waitress and wait for my beer to easy my thirst first. I was so hungry that I came close to start eating the table. Remember what I showed her for my order? Well, see what she brought to me:
My hunger, my wrecked nervous system but above all the total absence of substantial communication made me accept and start eating it otherwise I'd run the risk of spending the rest of my life in some Italian jail. If I was recording the whole thing it would instantly go viral under the title "Only in Italy". Whatever edible you see in the above image was consumed in less time than the one between lighting and thunder. I nod at the waitress - love of my life not - to check out and she asks me (of course in Italian) if I'd like a desert. As if she'd bring me what I would order. I pay and disappear. Traffic and lots of heat. Around 20 C more than what I had up in the Alps before. After more than 360km on that day I arrive outside the place I rented outside Milano. At this point I find out that my dear cell provider has left me without signal once again in Italy therefore I couldn't call my host to say "hi I just arrived". I try to connect manually to the local networks, no luck. I read the door bells to see if any of them looks like belonging to my host - no luck again. Since I am a kind and discrete boy I didn't want to start ringing all of them and bother people at 4:30pm, let aside that finding an Italian able to communicate in English is similar to falling from Acropolis and escape with minor scratches and find a wallet waiting for you. Sometime later two girls appear so I ask them for help. Fortunately they I didn't have to put in practise my almost non existing Italian cause they spoke English. I ask them to call my host on the phone and tell him I'm here. He doesn't answer. The whole scene starts looking like one more "only in Italy" so I kindly ask them to send him a message. Super kind and helpful they do so. Alone again, waiting outside the huge door of that complex of houses and after 15 minutes the door opens and a woman approaches me who must be my host's mum. She shows me the place, of course strictly in Italian partially using the Google translator on her phone. I spend the next couple of hours showering and washing my clothes and when I was over the heat outside was bearable so I decided to have a walk and do some necessary shopping. Around the corner I find this abandoned house. They always attract my attention and this couldn't be an exception with such a wonderful garden and yard which the image doesn't show in its full beauty:
The local supermarket was really nice and I must say Italy does great on that. Even the products branded by chain stores are quite decent. I come back to short the files of the day and fall to sleep early being tired after all these. Next day it was Lago Maggiore's turn at the Swiss border so I couldn't wait to do its round. Thsi was actually the sole reason I chose to overnight West of Milano.
Watch the video - see you on the next one: