Thursday, October 11, 2012

Caux, Switzerland to Lago d' Orto, Italy

We woke up to what every motorcyclist hates to hear: heavy rain on the roof.  A quick look outside verified the weather had turned cold, windy and rainy.  After a great breakfast, we packed up and waited for a break in the weather to take off.  The rain slowed for a bit and we rode back down the winding road, which was now a little slick with wet leaves.  Luckily we both ride with waterproof gear, so the wetness really doesn't bother us. Our plan for the day was to make it over the mountains into Italy.  We would ride through a massive tunnel, then drop down into the Valley D' Aosta, famous for their mushrooms, cheeses and wine.

Once over the mountain pass San Bernardo (yes, that's where the dogs are famous from), the rain stopped and we pulled into the village Aosta.  We ate lunch, explored the streets, and came across some kind of cheese festival.  They had cows and other animals out in the piazza for children to pet, and a couple dozen local cheese makers had tables out.  There was even cheese judging for anyone who wanted to compete in the middle of all of it.  It was pretty nice to sit back, drink a Fanta, and watch all of this happening.

After exploring, we headed east through the valley towards Lago D' Orto.  We read about a nice hotel on the water there and pointed the GPS in its direction.  By the time we arrived into town it was dark.  The GPS started taking us down narrower and narrower roads until we were riding on what seemed like walking paths.  The annoyed pedestrians were a sign that maybe we took the wrong route.  When we popped out into a piazza filled with restaurants and gift shops with our lights beaming onto dining customers, we realized that we really shouldn't be there.  A quick U-turn and a race back up the hill on cobblestone paths dodging tourists on late night strolls took us back to the main road.  We found a different approach on our own, and ended up in a different waterfront hotel that was as beautiful as the others.  The room had a view over the lake, and the other side of the hotel looked over the island San Giulio, which housed a massive monastery.  A great dinner of fresh pasta and local fish and mushrooms from the region was the perfect ending for the day.

- Matt

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