A restless night by all. We are in the middle of woodpecker land and the little buggers were hammering away on the hour, every hour, all night long. Mac n Tosh thought someone was knocking at the door. Yap yap every time the pecker pecked. The noisy little head bangers don’t sing, so tapping, pecking and drumming trees is their way of communicating…and yes, we heard them loud and clear!
It is hot and clear during our four hour drive southeast to Bourg St Maurice, where we stay the night. Our slow pace is in keeping with the countryside and its twisting roads. Up, down, up, down, its like a roller coaster for the big boys. Our journey is an equal mixture of driving and stopping to admire the views.
Cow bells chime and car horns honk as we wind up Petit Saint Bernard Pass. Today, is some sort of classic sports car rally and the pass is dotted with a vintage theme. Classic BMW’s and roadsters zoom around endless curves that follow the ancient Roman route to a 4,500 feet vantage point at the peak. Feels like we are back on the Grossglockner! Here the classic’s gather around their wicker picnic baskets for a baguette n fromage to the sound of a finely tuned engine.
We head over the pass and stop for a cool drink and a butty on a peaceful and idyllic picnic spot. That’s one thing this route has…lots of wonderful places to pullover or stop. Cyclist pass us by as they continue to cycle up the mountain path. Men and women made of tough stuff. How they cycle up these mountain inclines and passes is beyond me. I break out in a sweat just watching them.
A trickling stream splashes over the rocks…tranquil and soothing. We were lost in the world of mountain streams until a bloody toad jumps on to the path and startles us. Even Mac n Tosh whimper. With full bellies and rehydrated we clamber back in Vin. As we set off and Craig swerves. We all shoot to the right and the dudes slide across Vin. “What are you doing?”. Craig grins and replies “Missing the toad”. We look down and the little skin of warts hops merrily on its way.
That afternoon, we head for Bourg Saint Maurice, a town with a blend of industrial and residential buildings. A town were the train connections go straight to London Waterloo! We park at the funicular station, its shut for the season, so quiet and plenty space. Located right at the side of Isere river and in the shadow of Tarentaise mountains, it has a nice feel about the place.
We do a spot of washing before we cycle in to the town. Alongside the large chain sports shops and ski centres there is a small high street with cafes, boutique shops and souvenir booths. It doesn’t take long to window shop, so we head back and play ball with the dudes. Mac takes a general interest in between chasing swifts as they fly overhead in pursuit of flying insects. Tosh on the other hand is fixated on his ball, its his world. And Craig…well he discover a problem. He likes problems (sort of) as it gives him something to solve. This time the back wall panel. It was hanging off due to a split in the wood.
An early night as tomorrow we’re heading up to the highest pass.