So, after days of fruitless searching for internet, we finally stumbled across it at our campsite in Quincinetto. Quick update of the journey:
Day 9: Big day- we got to Yverdon, total distance 85 miles. Can't really recomend Portalier as a holiday destination, but the cycle over the Alps was beautiful. Not as bad as we thought it would be, but we were mentally prepared for cliff faces and crampons...
Day 10: Took half a day off! We went swimming in the enormous lake next to our campsite in Yverdon. Have a look at a map, it was huge. Cycled over to Lausanne, where we stopped at a bike shop to fix Anna's bike. Problem with the rachets in the back block, so the pedals didn't work properly. The man's face and the words 'Well, ha, it's.... how we say? Caput!' say it all, really. After cycling it over some Alps, Anna didn't see the funny side. We then cycled on around a lake that dwarfed our morning campsite lake. It was honestly one of the most beautiful settings we'd ever seen, a massive expanse of clear water ringed by mountains. Montreux, on the edge of the lake, has to be one of the most fantastic looking cities we've gone through. Go if you ever get the chance, it's a stunning area of Europe. Finished our day's cycle in the town of Aigle, a few miles south.
Day 11: Quick, flat morning ride from Aigle to Martigny, stopping for maps and food shopping. We thought we'd done the worst of the Alps, but found ourselves climbing again, up the St Bernard Pass, which was decidedly more difficult than we expected. It's a very international road, so many different number plates. Finished up in Bourg St Pierre. The air at the top of the mountains is so clean and fresh, you really can almost taste it. Camped next to a field full of cows with cowbells, which is the closest I ever want to get to tinnitus.
Day 12: Final climb over the Alps from Bourg St Pierre to the top of the St Bernard Pass, 2473 metres at its highest point. The pass is one of the lowest points in the surrounding mountains, and we've really very grateful to whatever glacier is responsible. Up near the top, we were surrounded by some snow, ice and low clouds. A man who was quite clearly a bit of a fitnes machine saw us at the top munching through Swiss chocolate bars, disapproved, and gave us fancy energy bars. Must have worked, because we carried that evening on through Italy into Quincinetto, just south of Pont St Martin. The ride down the Alps both times was absolutely incredible- like a massive, scenic assault course. The paniers may be a hinderance on the way up, but they really speed up the descent. Italian drivers, we must report, are a little unpredictable- lunatics, says Greg. They also love our yellow tops.
We've just started day 13, taken advantage of the dead early morning campsite to use the internet! We have custard croissants, muesli and tons of biscotti things for breakfast.
Ciao! Lots of love,
Anna, Joe and Greg