Motorbike trip through the spectacular French Gorges and the highest and most beautiful peaks of Haute-Savoie: the first, unforgettable two-wheeled experience of Alessia (and Cristian!).
The "first time" in motion
And here I am, to tell about my first summer experience aboard an MT09 Tracer. If I had been asked months ago what my idea of a holiday was, I would never have imagined such a trip: this year, in fact, my boyfriend's passion for motorcycle it has infected me too.
My name is Alessia, I am 22 years old and I live in a Piedmontese town in the Province of Alessandria, the starting point of our itinerario. The pilot is Cristian, my boyfriend, a crazy 24 year old who decided to tackle 5 days and 1633 km in the French territories with a ballast like me.
Street! on the first peaks!
Departure on August 21st. Passing through Barolo and the hills of the Langhe, we leave Italy by crossing the Colle della Maddalena. After crossing this magnificent natural border, we arrive in France, where the first worries for an anxious person like me begin: in fact, at lunchtime, we do not yet know where to stay overnight. The climb to the Colle della bonette, however, it can distract me from our lack of organization. Hairpin bends that seem designed, perfect asphalt and breathtaking landscapes enchant the rider (but there was little doubt about this) and the passenger. Its 2802 meters of altitude make it the highest road in Europe, a place where rock and sky seem to touch each other.
We continue our journey reaching the col de la Couillole, lower in altitude (1678 meters), but nevertheless of great effect. A succession of curves makes this real immersion in nature even more suggestive. Once the way points of the day are finished with satisfaction and enchantment, we just have to find a place to stop for the night and recharge for the next day. Our choice falls on Guillaumes, a town of about 700 inhabitants, small and charming, the right place for some well-deserved relaxation. That Italian food is unparalleled is not just a cliché, but I must admit that I cannot complain excessively about French cuisine. In fact, in Guillaumes we spent one of the best dinners of the whole holiday.
Gorges du Daluis and the Verdon
It is morning, and here comes, even before leaving, the first obstacle of the day: being able to close the suitcases. It is never easy for a girl to select what she needs to spend a few days away from home, let alone when the space available is so limited. With a little ingenuity and a lot of patience, especially for Cristian, we succeed in the enterprise and go in search of the first French brioches. With the bike loaded, we set off towards the gorges de Daluis or, rather, towards the French Colorado. The red rock eroded by the Var river marks the way, giving us a succession of lights and shadows, landscape and galleries, grandeur and privacy. We continue towards the older sisters, or the Gorges of the Verdon. The road to get there is truly spectacular. It is the belief of many, including myself up to a year ago, to think that being a passenger on a motorcycle is just a great inconvenience, that there is nothing exciting in staying perched for hours, while the rider is passionate about bend after bend. Instead, I must confess that this is not the case at all. It is possible to be an “active” passenger, that is, to participate in the guide, in the movement of the rider, until you become one with the bike and get to enjoy the beauty of the asphalt, bend after bend.
Furthermore, the surrounding spectacle is truly unique. It feels small compared to the very high cliffs overlooking the river Verdon, which reach about 1500 meters in height. Almost embarrassed in front of so much greatness, we decide to continue our journey in search of the place where the watercourse originates, that is the hill of Allos. The weather, however, is not favorable to us and we are forced to arm ourselves with oilskin to protect ourselves from the water. Fortunately the rain does not last long and we can reach the top of the hill. The road is not the best, narrow and bordered by overhangs. The final show, however, justifies the tortuous path.
Later, we decide to reach a city to spend the night and so we head towards Gap. About twenty kilometers before the destination, however, the rain decides to keep us company. We arrive at the hotel tired, but happy with the day, looking forward to taking off the oilskin and leaving the waste of time behind us. Removing the suitcases, however, we realize that the water has decided not to abandon us: something has gone wrong with the waterproof coating of the bags and our clothes are completely soaked. Nervous about what happened, we ask the owner of the hotel if there is a laundry room open 24 hours a day and, for once, luck seems to assist us. But the hour is late and so we decide to stall and go to dinner (also because in France after 21:00 we don't have dinner anymore), drying the clothes we need to change with the “very powerful” hair dryer in the room. We would go to the laundry later. And I say we would be because the laundry in the end was closed. Here's how a hotel room turns into a camp.
From the Gorges to the breathtaking Hills!
23 August. Fortunately, everything is dry, we can start again. The program of the day includes the passage to the col de la Bataille, the col de la Machine and the suggestive Gorges de la Bourne. Steep terrain, wild scenery and 24 km of road cut into the cliff: pure feast for the eyes. We spend the night in the city of Grenoble, without missing an evening walk along the Isère.
New day, new adventure and now we have become very fast to put the suitcases back together. Today we go back in Italy, but not without a final farewell to France: the Col du Lautaret, the col du Galibier and the col de l'Iseran await us. Out of breath, here is the only possible way to deal with them. Surprising scenarios, the fresh air on the skin, the shadow of the clouds on the mountains, hairpin turns so perfect that the bike seems to dance: someone tell me that you can stay here forever. Our journey, on the other hand, continues and we cross the border crossing the Piccolo San Bernardo hill. The Italian side offers strong emotions when driving (for a moment I seriously think that the pilot unloads me and the luggage for a solo descent). After a stop at Lake Verney, we head to Courmayeur.
25 August. Our vacation has almost come to an end and for the last day we have no plans, just lots of ideas to try to end our trip in the best possible way. We therefore decide to reach the third station of Skyway Monte Bianco, that is Punta Helbronner: 3466 meters above sea level and it seems to me that I can touch the sky with a finger. After a tasty lunch in La Thuile (we have missed good Italian cuisine), we head home, aware that this will be the first of a long series of motorbike trips.