Going North

Trip Start Mar 03, 2012
Trip End Jul 03, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hotel Crabun Pont-Saint-Martin
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Italy  , Valle d'Aosta,
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another beautiful morning and reluctant to leave Alassio and the crystal clear waters of the Mediteranee but I am in the last month of my European holidays and I want to spend a bit more time in Switzerland. Following the coastal road to Albenga I veered north on a great scenic road to Garessio, Bagnasco, Murazzano, Dogliani, then rejoined the autostrada before Turin and continue north via Ivrea to spend the night at Pont-Saint-Martin.
It is so nice to ride on scenic roads full of bends, up and down the mountains with so little traffic that I wonder why not more people are doing it.
Just before arriving at Pont Saint Martin, my GPS gave the ghost, so it was back to basic trying to locate the Hotel I booked on the internet.My knowledge of Italian improved very quickly.
After freshening up at the Hotel, I borrowed a mountain bike (FOC from the Hotel) and rode to the Town centre to have a look at the "Pont"which is a Roman Segmented arch bridge dating to the 1st. Century BC.
Another 8 km further north is the Fort Bard, a fortified complex built in the 19th. Century on a rocky prominence above the town. It has a museum of the Alps and Arts exhibition.
There is a beautiful view from the Fort to the narrow valley leading to Aoste and then through the Alpes to the Swiss border. 
At 11am the next morning, I left Pont Saint Martin to return to Switzerland and stay with a long time friend of mine at Billens. 
I was going to climb to the top of the Grand Saint Bernard pass (2400m) and also to take some pictures of St.Bernard dogs which are sometimes used for searching bodies trapped under the snow after an avalanche.
Unfortunately, the pass was still close due to the abundance (15m) of snow which fell this last winter. 
I was forced to go through the long tunnel and fork out another 14 Euro in toll fees in order to get back on the other side of the Alpes. 
The weather was so nice that I decided to side track to Champex, a charming little village where I got stranded once in 1974 due to an unexpected overnight dump of snow.
I had lunch by the lake side and by chance I saw the owner of a St Bernard dog seating a couple of tables away. I took this opportunity to take the photos you will see below.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Pete on

Brilliant shots, love the dog. Is the owner holding the dog or the dog holding the human?

Zarko and Elizabeth on

What happened to BMW? have you been degraded to a one manpower bike?

76onabike on

Forgot to tell you that the Master was the dog. The owner was trying to make it sit to no avail!

76onabike on

Alassio to Pont Saint Martin is only 270 km via the scenic roads. With such a short ride, I needed a bit of exercise at the end of the day.

Peta on

It must be incredible to visit places and have all those wonderful memories come flooding back. I suppose that its the one advantage of growing old, we have lots of memories. Glad to see you are adding lots more to your stockpile. Take good card of you.much love

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