Another day starts with summer heat already in the morning, so I develop the ultimate technique for a cool travel day: as soon as the pool is open, I jump into the bright blue water for some relaxed sports. The next jump is out of the bikini, right into the van (and into some light clothes) and off we go. After a shortness of time my TomTom navi leads me through Noves, another one of the typical Provence’s sleepy villages.
After shopping on today’s market, I continue to Bourdeaux. No, not Bordeaux (Western France, wine etc.), but rather a small village in the mountains of the Département de la Drôme. Ignored by every tourist guide that I possess, but in perfect distance (and in Northern direction) between St. Rémy and Basel. Around noon I arrive at Camping Les Bois du Châtelas and go for a walk around the half-empty campground in order to chose my preferred spot for the night. With no sea-view being available, I can accept a wide view on the mountains and on the ruin of some old castle, located half way between the swimming pools and the showers / toilets. I am grateful for the temperatures of about 37°C, otherwise I would pity the fact that I am already on my way home and thus must ignore the offered mountain-bike tours, hiking trips or similar activities. For today I am happy with some extra ice cubes in my coke and the total of three swimming pools that interrupt the lazy afternoon every now and then with a refreshing bath.
The next day starts with the same routine again: a bit of yoga + some swimming in the morning sun and then Hector gets back on the road. It is a relaxed trip with exception only to the “navi bingo” playtime, when my TomTom suggests adventure roads instead of the thick red ones that are offered by my 15 years old French map.
As soon as I cross the border to Switzerland, the atmosphere changes. This country is obviously not fond of tourists, strangers or vivid life. Every time I pass through, I have the same sensation over and over again. Swiss barriers and prohibition signs keep me away from any nice spot. Today, the Lac de Neuchâtel looks inviting for my lunch break, but there is no chance in getting there. Any ground at the lake’s shore is either a private front-yard or some expensive parking for small cars only (= below 2m altitude) and they do take care of not offering a bench or a meadow where you could sit on for a while. After 15 minutes going back and forth, I give up and have my lunch break on a forgotten bench that has been positioned on purpose behind trees and houses that block any view on either the lake or the medieval center.
There is a bit of relief when I leave Switzerland and come back to good old Germany this afternoon. With a warm welcome, I enter the house (“The Marble Palace”) of one of my stepbrothers. What a difference to 3 weeks of camping, I even have a bathroom for myself! After wonderful dinner and festive candles, I am happy to find out that I am still able to sleep in a fixed bed with no humming sound from Hector’s electricity panel – obviously I am not immune to civilization yet.
The last day of the trip shows up with the most spectacular navi bingo of TomTom so far: the avenue somewhere between Austria, Switzerland and Germany is wide enough for Hector, but as soon as other cars come toward, I need to slow down and wait in between two trees until the road is free again. Five minutes and some drops of sweat later, the alley leads straight to a small bridge with wooden roof on top when I decide that a courageous use of the brakes combined with a turn to the right seem more attractive than testing which roof (the wooden one of the bridge or the silver one of Hector) is more stable.
Two hours after passing the Lake Constance, Munich gets into sight and the holidays are over. The entire route as well as a resumé will follow soon…