A great thing about my trips is the opportunity to meet and observe people of many nations and cultures.

I really enjoy just blending in and watching what goes on.

For example, go into a French café, buy a coffee and sit in the corner reading the newspaper. You’ll soon get the drift of what is going on where and with whom. I think that the French have got it right with the two hour lunch break, but watch out on the road at 12:10 when they are flying home for lunch and a snooze!

The Swiss that I have met during this trip have all been lovely, can’t think of a better word than that. Sure they’ll have your cash off you quicker than a sneeze, but so politely done! I also love the way that they speak German in those Cantons where that is the first language. Sie sprechen so langsam (they speak so slowly), in a rich, careful way; even my incredibly rusty German language skills. (skills, who he kidding?) could cope and understand. It was over thirty years since I last had a conversation in German!

The Italians I came into contact with we’re fabulous. Very helpful. At one petrol station two guys who were just having a coffee, popped out and even put the petrol in Harley for me when I was a bit slow on the uptake how their peculiar self service pumps work. I have already commented about the help with Harley’s front tyre, top people.

Now is it me? Or are Germans only allowed to ride BMW GS1200’s, blasted things are everywhere! Two stereotypes pulled up at the hotel earlier, big fellas that made the not tiny GS each look like a pit bike. Mind you, I met two guys from near Hamburg this morning riding Harley Fat Bobs, they couldn’t believe how grubby my Harley is at the moment, nor how far we had come in the time. Super chaps, but didn’t want to go over Izoard in case they grounded the bikes! Oh fellas, come on live a bit, chrome ain’t that expensive!

In the café/hut on Izoard was a group of three Irish chaps on a cycling holiday. I kid not, it was like a scene from Father Ted as they chose their souvenirs. They appeared not to speak any French and didn’t realise that the lady serving them could speak English!

…..and what is it with humans and water? Put a car park next to a lake with a beach and see cars of every European nationality you could imagine all parked up, barbecuing and splashing around in the water happily together.

Aren’t people great when you can just sit back and watch?

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