Day 4 – Mont Blanc

Map4This was going to be a big day. 900+ km through via Milan, Zermatt, Mont Blanc, Bern, Zürich and to Konstanz. Planned to leave at 5:30 to avoid the traffic arround Milan and catch the sunrise along the way. Unfortunatly, the Hotel  Cervo locks everyone in for the night with no way of getting out until the owner return in the morning, so there was no chance of getting away early to catch the sunrise or escape a fire.

Once away, I made a good pace down to Milan. The road was spectacular with a series tunnels and bridges through rugged mountains. The Italians drive like crazy so you had to keep your wits about you and the tunnels themselves were a challenge with flooded sections and traffic merging from all directions. Along the way I took the time to stop at some small roadside cafes with red and white checked table cloths. It was nice to nibble on a Frico or Bocconotti and sipping an espresso as I watched the world go by.

At Milan I took the toll road west to Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. This was a mistake for two reasons. The first is you cant get to the Matterhorn from the south so I did not get a change to see Zermatt or the Matterhorn. The second was the tolls on the freeway were €36 plus another €24 for the tunnel through to Chamonix which after the earlier Italian tunnels was pretty unexciting.

Mont Blanc or Monte Bianco, both meaning “White Mountain”, is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe after the Caucasus peaks. It rises 4,808.73 m above sea level and is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence.

It was a clear day but the very top of Mont Blanc was shrouded in cloud. From Chamonix I had a great ride through Col de la forclaz which still had the drawings on the road from the Tour de france run through the area a few weeks earlier. On the northern side of the pass there are great views looking down on Charrat where I stopped for a fondue.

I then had 400 to 500 km to get to Konstanz for the evening so put my head down and pushed on around Bern and cut through the centre of Zürich. If I had more time I would have liked to stop and walk around the waterfront / city centre. Pulling into Konstanz at around 6 pm we tried to find some accomodation by the lake without success.

We ended up getting a room contrete room, tile floors, with one double and one single bed at the Aqua Hotel & Hostel for €150 (not including breakfast). This was the most expensive overnight location of the trip with the poorest facilities and worst location. I would recommend you spend a bit more time looking around if you intend to stop in Konstanz or try booking ahead.