After spending a lot of time and money to get ready it is finally time to take off on our trip. First going to my brother, who is also leaving on his trip on a motorbike, to have breakfast and to have an “all together takeoff”. Around 10:30 on Monday morning we got in the van to get to our first stop.
The girls have not seen Luxembourg, so our first stop would be Luxembourg, the capital to be precise.
Not being a big fan of cities it was not my first choice, the way there was just as good a start as I could wish it to be. Curvy hill roads passing a lot of country sites that every now and then changed to forest. The city Luxembourg is as I would imagine it to be and did not really surprised me with its architecture or culture. What did make me enjoy the city was a walk through the little valley that was cut out by the river. Finally down at the stream there was no touristic nonsense and the city felt miles away.
To camp the first night we got lucky, knowing the amount of time we would spent driving I planned to drive up to a lake. Not knowing if we would be able to park anywhere close to the water we drove op the lake while the sun was setting. As the gravel road got more bumpy and overgrown with trees we literally saw a light at the end of the tree tunnel. Arriving at the lake there was just enough space to park the van and still be able to walk around it. We were right at the water and through an opening in the waterplants that grew up to 2,5 meter we could see swans. The small opening left us unaware of the size of the lake, but the water was nice so we started walking to extend our view. With every step the horizon of the lake got wider and when we could see it all we were suprised to see so many swans. After a quick count we soon passed 100, and just decided there were hundreds of swan in the lake. Getting ready to sleep we felt happy, and exited about the trip really starting of. The first night was broken up by heavy rainfall that lasted until we drove off in the morning.
Driving south the second stop would be another lake, this time Lac de Annecy. To get there we had to cross what it seemed an endless string of rainy farm villages and small city centers. Even though the rain kept pouring down the whole day, the villages were colored by all the blooming plants, painted doorways and ripe apples laying in green grass already fallen from trees. Slowly the land got more curvy, while following rivers the Alps started rising in front of our eyes. In a short break of the rain we arrived at the lake, being deep blue as always, surrounded by mountains that pierce the rising clouds. Stunned by the unbelievable views that were thrown at us the whole day we drove up the hill looking for a place to sleep. A gravel road was blocked of with some logs looked promising, the logs were placed in a way that allowed the van to pass after trying 2 or 3 times. While the rain picked up again I pulled the handbreak and turned off the engine. Through the trees we were still able to make up some cottages a bit lower on the hill, but we were very much on our own as we got ready for the night. After some quick food we fell asleep by the sound of big drops that fell from the trees above us as soon as gravity got too much for the the tips of the leaves collecting the water.
The next morning the weather looked a bit better. Every now and than we would see some blue sky, After a lot of rain the first blue sky always gets my mood up. Driving down to the lake the blue was slowly taking ground on the grey. After visiting a boulangerie in one of the fairy tail towns the rain finally died down. When we arrived down at the lake the picnic table was already dried out in the sun and prepared out croissant and pain breakfast. Desy bought an inflatable donut 1 day before leaving Holland. Her excitement over the donut grew to proportions that even a lightning storm would not keep her out of the water. The sun breaking through made it impossible not to get into the water with her and we ended up having a good swim.
We took a quick shower at a camping nearby and filled up the van with water before we set off to our next spot. Me having a great appreciation for the Alps I wanted to share the mountain that I love the most with Desy and her sister. The drive up to Col du Glandon is Something I can not get enough of, if its with a Vespa a motorbike or this time in the van, it will always be magic to me. Having to admit that the van was not all that fast up the mountain, and I worried about overheating the whole way up, I still very much enjoyed the drive to the top. During cooling down breaks for the van we had time to take in the views more than I have ever did before, the mountain is still growing on me every time I drive up this road! The last part of the way up we barely drove faster than the cyclists that were climbing up this mountain by muscle power only, this gave us time to cheer them on and share something positive instead of just blowing diesel fumes in their face. We arrived at the top, in second gear the van climbs like a mountain goat and my trust in the van has never been bigger before arriving on top of this mountain. During a cloudy day the view from Col du Glandon is still amazing and we took our time to let it sink in. After the summit we drove down on the other side of the mountain to reach the lake which is not far from the top. We were stopped in out tracks by a herd of sheep witch was not impressed with the sight of the van at all, the Shepard and his dog did not give us any attention when we slowly drove between the sheep while taking pictures. Finally arriving at the lake, being surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, birds souring over our heads and a waterfall supplying the lake with a endless stream of spring water. This is a spot we surely had to spent the night!
While the girls went for a hike I decided to jump in my wet-suit and take a look under the surface of the water, not that you really needed to get into the water to see because it is clear as glass. Not a whole lot of fish, and none that is big enough to eat but this didn’t stop me from fishing later on. A white orange VW t2 van pulled up next to us to spent the night, bringing us our first new friends. The night was cold but the morning was something never to forget! Having woken up at beautiful places before this is the one that rises above them all.
Driving down the mountain to visit family on a camping further south was a big change, but all change has something good and this time it was family!