Saturday, 27 October 2012

Starting the blog from scratch

This is me busy following the commands of my 'course director' sat next to me at an early stage of Le Grande Tour
Its took ages for us to post Facebook pictures on Nina's FB due to us being:

  • In Macdonalds with obvious distractions
  • Travelling through vineyards with similar distractions
  • No WI FI apart from yesterday 26 Oct walking by some guy's house in a pretty Alsace village and piggybacking, cheers mon petit pois
Been in MDs for around 4 hours now and Nina is getting a square rear so will post a few pics hopefully to get ths blog up and running to add to later

Alsace country full of vines that produce Pinot Gris which we rather like, hic

Managed it!
Plain and simple I'm afraid until I get a bit more adventurous and have more time and Wi Fi to play around a bit
Next bit of tour sees us going hopefully across the borderto Germany and the Black Forest, both region and famous dessert!

After a great start to the trip you may ask what could possibly go wrong?
Well after crossing the Rhine in foul weather and heading for the Black Forest we journeyed uphill in drizzle, then sleet, then a few Kms later, heavy snow with nowhere to turn around

Which resulted in this..

Next to the van on the right is a 50ft drop, the stuff of movie dramas
To be honest after the van slid sideways towards the barrier several times further up the hill, I was relieved to get back to this position
We made the embarrassing, but essential call to Fiat Camper Assistance who sent after an hour, the cavalry in the form of a large flat back recovery vehicle which when coupled to the van promptly slid backwards in to the barrier just feet from the front of our van.
My heart was in my mouth...

Several friendly German folk stopped and offered assistance, usually by asking if we'd got winter tyres fitted! It was summer yesterday so why do we need new tyres?
One of these friendly couples stopped on the way back down the hill and got us right out the crap by providing much needed translation with the team that arrived later.

Christian & Nadine were real stars..even trying to give us extra traction when the recovery lorry failed.
As the reality of being stuck in freezing temperatures 1200m up a hill was setting in, the Gritter man volunteered his services on the condition that I signed away my Insurance rights with the recovery team.
After much thought we went for it as there was no way we could get off the hill otherwise for what would probably be several days and 12km from the last village downhill.

Top of the hill looked like this after a hair raising 2km high speed drag by the gritter

Thanks to this guy and Chris & Nadine we spent the 1st of 2 nights @ minus 7 deg C but glad to be in the picture still

Next day saw us stranded on the top but in good company as Chris & Nadine returned with water for us as the pumps on the van had frozen up and we were winging it a bit, not the usual comfort but at least we had lots of LPG for the heating and cooking, but by Christ it was cold outside!

Nina getting her kicks with the Dyson (Powered by the generator in case you were confused)

Every cloud has a silver lining...
I took these at 0100hrs the following night with moonlight as the light source, well worth getting stuck..

More scenes at the top of the hill before our departure
The SOS phone was in poor taste I thought!
Needed it down the hill!

Shots taken down the escape side of the hill after we rekkied the route

Redressing the stress balance

More moonlight shots taken from a "wild camping spot" after dark

Not our next venture, but shot from the tourist boat on Lake Konstanz

A great day at Uberlingen on Lake Konstanz