I’d been warned about the mountain roads round here so was tempted to get the bus up to where the old road began prior to the St Bernard Pass. Thing is, I’d been told the wrong bus stop so the thing thundered past me without so much as pausing.
I returned to the campsite to rethink my timetable and got talking to a young lad from London who’d pretty much exhausted his backpacking money and decided to try and get home for as little as possible. Well, what’s cheaper than walking? Together, we made it up to the old road and we split up, James intending to get a lift through the tunnel and on as far as he could go towards Geneva. I started hiking up the old road.
Half an hour or so later, a black VW Golf pulled up and James jumped out. It seems the roads ahead weren’t as adviseable to walk on as I’d been led to believe and the German driver insisted I accept a lift. Well, I don’t want to get knocked flying off a cliff so I agreed.
I’m glad I did. Our driver was a Schumacher wannabe and he wasn’t the only one on the road. There was no safe walking path except at th very rare picnic / viewing spots. In fact, there were no barriers of any kind and walking on the inside of the curves would have been tantamount to suicide as cars squealed round the turns.
I jumped out to take a couple of photos at the pass on the top before jumping back into the car for the equally hairy downhill section. There is no doubt in my mind that I would have got squished on that road, plus I’d have struggled at the bottom as there are two long tunnel sections I couldn’t have walked through.
Our driver was heading for Frankfurt and said he could take us as far as Montreux. James definitely wanted to get as far as he could and I was desparate for company after the lonely days in Italy, so I reluctantly decided I’d reroute elsewhere to gain some miles and skip Martigny.
In Montreux, we booked into a nice YHA which included breakfast in the price and popped out for a beer and a burger for dinner. It was great to have the company.