2019 – Jungfrau Treffen (pt 1)

28 August 2019

Here we go again on our way to Grindelwald. I left home at 2:00 pm in rain and passed a number of light showers over the next 4 1/2 hours on to our meeting point at Eureka Park near Ashford. The usual suspects gathered in the Beefeater next door for our first of many meals together. Our group will gradually grow over the next few days as others join the group from various starting points. We are off at 8:00 in the morning heading for the tunnel. Lets hope for a dry trip this year……

29th August 2019

We left for the tunnel at 8:00 for our 9:20 train. Check-in was easy and quick and we were vey soon on our way to France.

Today was mostly on motorway so not too scenic. Traffic was quite heavy in places and we made our way north-east at first before heading south-east towards Lille. We continued on past Bergen before turning off E42 to our hotel in the very nice riverside town of Dinant. The hotel is in a lovely spot overlooking the Meuse river. It was quite hot on the terrace as we rehydrated after a day in the cars.

Here we met up with Keith and Hillary who have joined the squadron. Welcome aboard.

It was just a short walk into the town for a nice meal. Apparently Dinant is the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. After the meal there was just time for a group photo with Mr Sax before sampling one last Belgium beer before bed.

30th August 2019

A relatively easy day today with a little time to explore.We left Dinant and all filled the cars just 200m from the hotel. It was sunny but a cool start to the day. We made god progress through the morning as far as Bastogne. After coffee most of the group headed on towards Trier but Shaun, Libby and myself headed for the Bastogne War Museum.

The museum was excellent exploring the war from the viewpoint of 4 different people. Rather than just the usual show of exhibits the museum included 3D cinematic sections and narrated stages with clever projections. A very interesting visit showing different perspectives of the war in a very engaging way.

We took the opportunity for some lunch and headed to the very impressive Belgian-American memorial erected on Mardasson Hill.the star-shaped monument is 31m long and 12m high and offers great views of the surrounding countryside from the top. The history of the battle of the bulge can be read on the walls and engraved plaques on at the point of each star show the location of the villages involved in the battle of Bastogne.

It was a lovely run from there all the way to Trier – our next overnight stop. It was quite hot by now but great driving through rolling countryside and along riverbanks. After our last coffee stop we joined the rest of out ever-growing group at the hotel.

We manages to find a restaurant that could accommodate 14 people and they did very well. The food was excellent. A very good end to a great day.

31st August 2019

It was a hot drive today. Everyone was very good and was ready for an 8:30 start. The petrol station was right next door so everyone filled up. Once we were out of the town it was a fast ride We did really well and kept the group pretty much together – not an easy task round the busy motorway network around Strasbourg. It was just one coffee stop today during our 190 mile route.

It was a much more pleasing route as we neared our destination in Triberg but it was now getting very hot. We found the hotel and squeezed into their underground car park only to find that the lift was out of order and we had about 5 flights of stairs to drag ourselves and our heavy bags up to reception. I was glad to get to my room but soon left in search of lunch and a drink.

We ate and drank almost opposite our hotel before walking uphill to the highest falls in Germany just outside the top of the town.  Foaming and roaring the water plunges 163 meters down the river called “Gutach”. There there are excellent pathways up to a number of bridges and viewing platforms over the falls. It was beautifully cool in the shade alongside the falls – very welcome. I think everyone enjoyed the walk after being in the car much of the day.

After perusing the cuckoo clock which ranged in price from a few euros to almost 23000 euros I settled for the inevitable fridge-magnet before heading back to freshen up before dinner.

Somehow Chris managed to get us a table for 17 people. The food was traditional German style and i had sausage with potatoes and Sauerkraut and it was good.

Although it has been hot today we have to make the best of it as it looks like we could be seeing some significant rain over the next day or two.

1st September 2019

A 185 mile run today from Triberg to the ski resort of Fiss. We all met ups at the Esso just down the hill before heading off on main roads heading west then south-west towards lake Constance. The group triggered quite a number of camera flashes as we drove this route – lets hope the fines are not too bad!.

We split into a number of little groups to explore the nearby cable-car system. When we met in the bar we added our own section to the black-painted ceiling. I think Paul did a rather excellent job with the 3-wheeler sketch.

After a coffee stop in Konstanz town we continues to press south-west. Eventually we enjoyed the twisty road up to the ski resort of Fiss. We are at an extremely smart hotel tonight that does not have a garage. It does however have a ‘car lounge’ complete with mood lighting. large photographs on the walls and piped in music. Very swish but completely unpractical.

2nd September 2019

The plan today was simple – Have a leisurely morning to allow the weather to improve before heading up and over the iconic Stelvio pass. Unfortunately a section of the pass has been closed due to a rockfall and will not be open for some days. The choice is to either simply take an alternative route to our hotel in Bormio or to Do the Stelvio pass but then take the long way round back to Bormio. Before deciding we had the morning at leisure. I joined a group and headed up the highest cable car out of the 3 for coffee at the top. The clouds broke in places revealing tantalising glimpses of the spectacular scenery. It was coffee at the top before we made our way down to decide what to do.

Can we really get this close and not ascent the Stelvio pass? After a little debate it was agreed to head up the Stelvio Pass for lunch then find a way to the hotel.

The weather turned out to be better than forecast and we made it along some great roads up to the top of the pass.

Although we were now only about 20 miles or so from our destination we had to take a 3-hour route to get there due to of the closure. That was a long detour but we were rewarded with some great views. After all, you can’t have a rainbow without any rain.

3rd September 2019

After the cloud and rain of the previous day, blue sky was a welcome sight this morning. We left at 8:30 and filled up just down the road as usual. The first half of the route today turned out to be quire uninteresting all the way through to coffee stop in a modern retail park.

Things greatly improved as we reached Lake Como. We took a diversion up a very windy road up to Castello de Vezio. The views over Como were just spectacular. What an absolutely beautiful spot.

After a bite to eat we headed back down to the lake to catch our ferry from Varenna to Bellagio. As usual we created quite a stir at the ferry but we didn’t have to wait too long before our ferry arrived. We all got on the one ferry together for what was a very pleasent crossing.

The road up from Bellagio was a great twisty climb. After a quick ice-cream stop we made our way down to Lecco. After a rather tortuous route round the town to the hotel we parked up at a multi-story close by.

After a wash and brush-up we walked out to a pizza restaurant for our evening meal. The lake treated us to a lovely fading sunset as a parting gift from an excellent day.