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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Germany/Austria/Switzerland/France - 6 May, 2004

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Hopfen am See (Josef Guggemos Bauernhof) N4736.544' E01040.150' 780 meters .
German Alpine Road . . . .
German - Austrian border . . . .
Austrian - Swiss border . . .  
Swiss - French border . . . .
Finish Beaune, France (Hotel Alesia) N4701.345' E00450.329' 210 meters 613 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

1,028 km

Total (other):

455 km

Total:

1,483 km

 

Weather: In the morning cloudy, foggy and snowing and cold with temperatures as low as -3C.  In the afternoon and lower elevations, cool with occasional rain.  In the late afternoon it warmed up to 14C, the clouds cleared and it became sunny.

 

 

In the morning we eagerly get out of our warm bed to see what the weather has in store for us - what a surprise!!  We pull back the curtains to see falling snow!!!.  Jacqui had said a few days earlier that, while she has seen snow, she has never seen falling snow.  For better or worse, her wish has come true.  Over breakfast, we debate which route to take - the safe and boring highway route that skirts the alps or the German Alpine route that winds through the lower Alps on the German side of the border.  In the end, we decide to take the slower and more exciting Alpine road.

 

We pay our bill, load up the car, and head off on our way.  As we make our way along the alpine route, we go up and down in elevation, with the amount of snow and rain varying accordingly.  At times the temperature drops below zero and we drive carefully on the roads, bearing in mind the possibility of ice.

 

It is a wonderful drive.  We have gone from the fairy tale world of Ludwig II at Schloss Neuschwanstein to the wintry, fairy tale world of the alps (even though it is almost summer).  We make a number of stops to take some pictures and to enjoy the snow covered trees and buildings.  While the temperature is below zero, it does not seem that cold during our short visits outside the warm cocoon of our car.

 

Just before noon we arrive at the Austrian border.  The border post that Lars is familiar with has been replaced with a toll collection operation.  It appears that Austrian and Switzerland now require the payment of tolls (through the purchase of stickrs) to use their roads, so we buy the pair of toll stickers to stick to our windshield.  We then make the drive through first Austria and the Switzerland to get to France.  We finally cross into France shortly after 3 PM and make our way to Burgundy.

 

As we do not have a guide book on France with us, we just look at the map and pick out a city to visit.  We decide that Dijon would be too big, so we select Beaune as being close to the highway and of a decent enough size to have a tourist information office.  It turns out to be a wonderful choice.  It is a beautiful town that has been well preserved.  We drive into the old part of town and are lucky to find a parking place.  But we are too late to get to the tourist office -it closed five minutes earlier.  Right on the dot at 6 PM.  This is a government office in France, after all.

 

So we decide to wander the streets and see what we can find in terms of accommodation.  We find a few options, but they do not quite work for us - we want two nights and they do not have a room available for both nights.  So, we decide to search in the outskirts after we have explored the city some more and had some dinner.  This evening we just take in the city form the streets - we will reserve the interiors of some of the buildings until tomorrow.  The sky and lighting has become very dramatic - dark, ominous clouds on one side and a bright sun on the other.  The facade of the Collegiale Notre-Dame stands out brightly against the dark sky.

 

Soon we are back at the main square - Place Carnet.  The sun has come out and is brightly shining, so we decide to pick one of the cafes, Le Grand Cafe de Lyons, with tables on the sidewalk facing the setting sun.  We take a seat, order our food and bottle of wine, and sit back and enjoy the setting.  As the sun slowly sets, the temperature begins to drop.  But we have picked a table right under one of the space heaters, so we are very comfortable.

 

We notice that once we have finished dinner, the city has slowly gone to sleep.  It is very quiet, so we decide that it is time to head on and find a hotel.  We drive the short distance to the outskirts and quickly find a clean hotel with a very reasonable rate.  It has been a long day of driving and we ready to call it a day.

 

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