Bekermann’s Footsteps

Good evening from a very hot and thundery Annecy. I certainly hope we get a storm soon to clear the air around here!

Another day that’s hard to describe, without revisiting old superlatives and sounding boring!

Let’s just say that the adventure continued and did not disappoint!

Pretty good overnight stop at Seez, if a little noisy, but totally biker friendly…I bet they would have washed the bike if I had asked!

First off was the climb to La Rosière 1850, have a look on the Google Map thingy, just dwell on those wiggly bits…lovely!

Here’s one of ’em!


The first part was though deep pine forest, with all the heady sweet smells that go with it, then the road opened onto high alpine pasture and passed through the ski station.

There’s some of it below!


Col Du Petit St Bernard came pretty soon. What a bleak place, quite unlike the other Cols I visited this week. Off the road were loads of lingering snow drifts, the summer season certainly has not got going here just yet. Like Larche, the boarder runs right through the middle of the Col so we slipped into Italy again. Incidentally,,. At this place and at various other of the Cols are remains of border defences, some, like on Bonnette are part of the old Maginot line defences that France invested so much in only to see it fail whilst others date back centuries. All fascinating in their own way, but most buried in snow so just how good they were as defences I can’t really say, unless of course you were attacking on a bobsleigh!


The road then begins it’s long decent into the Aosta Valley, now we were in Italian Job country! Just before La Thuile there is a series of 8 hairpins that the kind Italians have thoughtfully numbered. It’s a great little stretch of road and you can really get into the groove on these babies!

Soon after La Thuile we passed through the famous tunnel from the film, it’s a little longer now as it has had avalanche shelters added each end, which changes the look of it, but it’s still the place where Beckermann meets his end, or bulldozer depending on your take of it! Here it is!


On then down the valley, which is a classical glacier valley if ever I saw one. This place is amazing, loads of agriculture, industry, tourism and transport all rubbing along together, I didn’t know where to look next! The small towns all seemed very busy and prosperous, Aosta is the centre of the area and looks quite nice too, for a big town anyway, I loved the way that grape vines were growing inside the towns boundaries.
From Aosta the E27 kicked off north west towards Grand St Bernard, just before the famous tunnel viaduct we took the old road, the S27 and aimed towards Switzerland. The viaduct features in the opening shots of the film, so I had to grab a picture as well.


I sort of decided not to take anymore photos and just concentrate on enjoying the ride, I failed and made two stops, one to grab a phot of this wonderful zigzag of road. Yeah, I know there’s a camper van in it, darn things get everywhere, should have smelt his brakes though!


The other stop was here, cos I just could! Ok?


The famous pass did not disappoint, it’s very different to the other places due to it’s history as a monastery and hospital, which it still sort of is, but also a hotel (if you don’t want any luxuries). I couldn’t find any dogs with brandy barrels though!


So that was it, the Italian Job completed, wow what a ride!

Running down from the Pass into Switzerland the road goes through about six miles of avalanche tunnel/shelter, just imagine driving that far through a multi story car park at 50 mph! Gets to you after a bit, don’t EVER ask me to go through the Mont Blanc tunnel, I might be a bit rude!

At Martigny, Harley and I hung a left and began our last Col climb to Col De La Forclaz, which is still inside Switzerland. Now that country is something, it’s so …… nice, oh and Swiss, yeah I love it. Might have to go back with Harley some time! Well the country may be nice but the weather, which is international I think, put on a little show of petulance and rained just enough to make the road like glass. So no pictures except this one.


At that it was time to turn back towards France and start the long trip home. Hang in there folks, we ain’t there yet, got more road to ride and stories to tell yet….like the Gendarmes in St. Étienne and the mad Dutchman on Col De Larche, more next time folks!

An air cooled V twin is great on a mountain, switch it off and it goes quiet; why do all those other bikes have such noisy fans that run for ages???????


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