It didn’t take long for a card to be shown from the window of the Polo needing another stop for a technical problem, this time being the tyre pressure sensors causing a light on the dash. We had a short stop whilst Ed sorted it out and checked everything was OK and then carried on down the motorway to our first location in search of breakfast / lunch.
In the town of St Die des Vosges we parked up, scavenged a Euro from a friendly Dacia driver to pay for our parking (since the machine wouldn’t take our 2 Euro coin!) and wandered down into the town to the nearest patisserie. The vanilla eclairs there are very good!
Once fed, we wasted no time and got back on the road, now away from the motorways and upwards into the Vosges mountains. Very briefly it dried up and the gaps in the cloud gave us wonderful views up and down our ascent onto the ‘Route des Cretes’ - the road along the summits.
However, once we reached our first summit at the Col du Bonhomme at ‘only’ 949m we hit the cloud and visibility went down to nearly zero. The chance of any scenery was off. We continued onwards anyway, soon catching up a bus that served a good purpose being something to follow so we didn’t drive off the side of a mountain. Once it pulled in we were on our own again until we happened across the tail lights of a Volvo which we followed for a couple of miles before realising we couldn’t actually match his pace as he disappeared into the mist.
After an age of unspectacular roads (which should have been everything but) we arrived at our next point for a driver change - the Col du Grand Ballon. I’d seen this one previously though only managed to do one half due to snow at the top, about six years ago in my first 106. So at least I could now tick it off as fully done, even if it was nothing to write home about.
At this point both me and Steff decided the foggy cloud we were driving through was the best opportunity to drop the roofs. Well, if they were being stupid enough, I was going to be to… After they’d hidden under my tonneau cover (which they are carrying as it doesn’t fit in my boot…) we cracked on and made our descent. And to our surprise, it actually dried up a little. We even had our first bit of sun come out. Hooray!
We soon hit the motorway again, back on covering the mileage to get us further south again. As we crossed into Switzerland we had flashing blue lights from the Gendarmerie behind us, who luckily passed us by and pulled in the Mini that we were following. Preparation being key, we all had our vignettes stuck to the windscreens to allow us to use the Swiss motorways and we were waved through into the maze that is the Basel ring road. We somehow managed to make it through all together and pulled into the services on the other side to refuel, make more car sandwiches and contemplate whether a 4.5kg 119 Franc Toblerone would fit in the boot of the S2000. Erm, no.
After getting back on the road we arrived at our hotel in the daylight where we found little in the way of parking until we realised it had a hidden underground car park. Nevertheless, Steff made his own space on the grass…
The Ibis was by far the nicest hotel we’d stayed in so far, especially the lovely comfy beds. Though the view of the building site wasn’t quite ideal. Never mind, we only wanted it to sleep in.
A short drive down the road and after a few laps of Fribourg town centre guided by Ed in the Polo we all managed to get parked at opposite ends of the town and after finding the other group we then had to find a suitable restaurant that wasn’t going to cost a fortune. We eventually settled on a posh looking Italian which as it happened served a beautiful pizza, even if the extreme temperature inside nearly made me keel over and faint.
From there it was back to our hotel and some more shut eye ready for a day in the mountains, this time hopefully not as wet as the week had started...