Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps Tour  10 – 21 September 2016

The Group on the top of the Petit St Bernard Pass - only the second time we have run this tour and as good if not better than the first with predominantly good weather. With lakes, mountains, hairpins, synchronised swimming, cable cars, chair lifts, toboggans, more hairpins, glaciers, fab roads and of course a kidnapped marmot we hope there was something for everyone to enjoy!

The Group on the top of the Petit St Bernard Pass – only the second time we have run this tour and it was as good if not better than the first with predominantly good weather. With lakes, mountains, hairpins, synchronised swimming, cable cars, chair lifts, toboggans, more hairpins, glaciers, fab roads and of course a kidnapped marmot we hope there was something for everyone to enjoy!

“Hi John and Jen,  in the moment I thought the tour was excellent, but on reflection and aided by the photos that everyone has shared, I think you provided an outstanding holiday to us all!  The effort you guys have put in to researching the roads, hotels, breaks and events made all the difference and I will look back on a fantastic mix of memories which include phenomenal roads, beautiful scenery, laughs with new friends (mobile-chicanes) and the odd maladjusted marmot. Thank you for a first class holiday!”
 Dave Nicholas, 6th trip, Kawasaki H2

We start with breakfast & a pre-tour briefing

We start with breakfast & a pre-tour briefing

Pretty lunch stop

Pretty lunch stop

“Hi John & Jen,  thanks again for another brilliant biking adventure on tour with Bike Normandy. We both had a brilliant time and lots of fun & laughs with a great group of people. Once again we stayed at some lovely hotels with beautiful views in ideal locations. Can’t get much better than overlooking a glacier, or Italian and Swiss lakes and mountains.  It all seems so mundane now we are home. The biking roads were fantastic with so many hairpins in the mountains but also some good sweeping fast roads too.  Scenery was stunning. We are so pleased we did the optional ride out to the Stelvio Pass despite starting off in rain. We thought we must be mad but it got drier as we got nearer and we all had a sense of achievement on reaching the top. We have the tee-shirts to prove it!

Special thanks also to Martin & Denise our back markers on tour who did an excellent job of keeping the flock together and rounding up any lost sheep along the way.

All in all a brilliant tour and such fun. Thanks again. Best wishes.”

Alan & Julie Grieves, 3rd tour, Ducati Multistrada

We always regroup before & after any motorway

We always regroup before & after any motorway

“Thank you Jen and John for another fabulous trip! From start to finish great roads, scenery and hotels which we thoroughly enjoyed with some old and some new biker friends. As usual your research and attention to detail meant a trouble free couple of weeks and great riding.  Hairpins? Bring them on! We are looking forward to seeing you next year, and the next.” 
Wendy and Steve Henrys, 5th trips, Triumph Bonneville & Kawasaki Z1000SX
“Hi John & Jen,  thanks again for another superb tour. From the 30° heat in the Italian Lakes to 3° on the ski slopes of the Alps you managed to find us some great roads and superb hotels, Morteratsch being my favorite ! See you at the NEC.”
Rob Palmer, 4th tour, Triumph Tiger 1050

We take the scenic route

We take the scenic route

Ice creams in the afternoon

Ice creams in the afternoon

Even though this was our highest mileage day (270 miles) we arrive at our hotel at 17.45 hrs with plenty of time for a swim & drinks before dinner

No Gold Medal for the BN synchronised swimming team!!

The BN synchronised swimming team!!

Keith & Simon enjoying a beef after their swim

Keith & Simon enjoy a beer after their swim

“Hi John and Jen, very many thanks to you both for another super tour: Well researched, great roads, challenging and superbly led. Excellent hotels, all shared with a great bunch of riders. Most enjoyable…Again many thanks and very best wishes to you both.”
 Keith Bowen, 5th trip, Honda NC 750S

Drinks on the terrace

Drinks on the terrace

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“Hi Jen and John,  Rod and myself really enjoyed the Tour and have great memories from it. Everyone had a part to play in making it a success and along with both your great research, knowledge etc it was fantastic. We will keep in touch and hope to see you next year.”
Rod Kemp & Anita Bartholomew, 1st Tour, BMW K1600GT (to be replaced by BMW S1000 XR!)

The "Speedy Boys" !

The “Speedy Boys” !

Dinner is included thomight

Dinner is included tonight

Having visited 5 of Bike Normandy’s weekend experiences we booked for the Italian Lakes and Swiss Alps tour. As with the weekend trips everything was organised for you, even the backup van carrying your luggage, spare fuel and tools.
The hotels selected by John and Jen were above and beyond what we would have expected from a biking holiday, many with secure parking and swimming pools.
Well organised, well researched, comes highly recommended, thanks John and Jen for a great unforgettable tour.
(I hope we didn’t blip or annoy too many people!!!)”
Paul Tinkler, 6th trip, Suzuki GSXR 1000

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Always a morning briefing

Always a morning briefing

“Hi John & Jen,  can I just add to the other comments and say what a great time I had. Can’t fault the choice of hotels or the detailed planning of the itinerary. Like many others I was amazed by the stunning scenery and hairpin passes. Apologies for the troublesome BMW not starting. A special thanks to you both for being patient and in particular to John who emptied the van of luggage to ferry my bike to the nearby BMW dealership who fitted a new switchgear in minutes, John really pulled out the stops and went that extra mile to assist me without any hesitation. Perhaps you could add ‘European Breakdown Service’ to the list of services that you already offer !!” [No way – we’d be too busy with all the BMW’s that break down!! J&J]
Mike Bishop, 2nd trip, BMW K1300S

Morning coffee stop

Morning coffee stop

Riding a Kawasaki H2 Dave needs to refuel

Riding a Kawasaki H2 Dave needs to refuel

“John, Jen, many thanks to you both for a great tour. Thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“Inflatable” Jon & Pillion, 3rd trip, BMW R1200GS

A somewhat lengthy coffee stop!

With one cafe closed this became a somewhat lengthy coffee stop!

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Bikes parked up at lunch stop

Bikes parked up at lunch stop

Watch the speedboat racing

Watch the speedboat racing

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Afternoon coffee stop

Afternoon coffee stop

Mike & Rob with ice creams

Mike & Rob with ice creams

Honest - it was this big !!

Honest – it was this big !!

Julie & Alan

Julie & Alan

John with a whopper!

John with a whopper!

Before leaving, Speedy Dave is "cautioned" by the Gendarme !!

Before leaving, Speedy Dave is “cautioned” by the Gendarme !!

Our next hotel

Our next hotel

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Drinks in the bar

Drinks in the bar

Explore the back-streets

Explore the back-streets

Lots of restaurants to choose from

Lots of restaurants to choose from

Some of us dine together

Some of us dine together

Where Rob has a "Breakfast Salad"!

Where Rob has a “Breakfast Salad”!

The town lit up by night

The town lit up by night

(for those that didn't see it!)

(for those that didn’t see it!)

After a slight mishap we borrow a drill...

After a slight mishap we borrow a drill…

so Paul can fit a new gear-lever

so Paul can fit a makeshift gear-lever

We head for the mountains

The next day we head for the mountains

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Stopped at traffic lights

Stopped at traffic lights

Stopped at roadworks

Stopped at roadworks

Another pretty coffee stop

Another pretty coffee stop

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Jim & Dorothy

Jim & Dorothy

Wendy, It's a Marmot - not a Beaver !

Wendy, It’s a Marmot – not a Beaver !

Fab scenery as we head into Italy

Fab scenery as we head into Italy

Glacier in the distance

Glacier in the distance

Anita with a real St Bernard

Anita with a real St Bernard

Do Not Disturb - I'm tired!

Do Not Disturb – I’m tired!

Jim & Dorothy

Jim & Dorothy

Lunch on the top

Lunch on the top

Ready for the off...

Ready for the off…

Hairpins going down...

Hairpins going down…

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We meet bikes coming up...

We meet bikes coming up…

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Wendy has company...

Wendy has company…

The cutest St Bermard & Marmot

The cutest St Bermard & Marmot

We always regroup...

We always regroup…

Something to see even on the motorway

Something to see even on the motorway

Animal cruelty! The result of speeding along the motorway!

Animal cruelty! After speeding along the motorway!

Our hotel in Italy for two nights

Our hotel in Italy for two nights

Keith has a swim before dinner

Keith has a swim before dinner

The Isla Bella seen from the hotel

The Isla Bella seen from the hotel

The Borromee Palace

The Borromeo Palace

Drinks on the terrace

Drinks on the terrace

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We dine "Al fresco"

We dine “Al fresco”

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John recalls the motorway riding...

John recalls the motorway riding…

With Keith as his W.C. (Wing Commander!)

With Keith as his W.C. (Wing Commander!)

A day off - take the cable car...

A day off – take the cable car…

The islands as seen from the cable car

The islands as seen from the cable car

The cable car has two stations...

The cable car has two stations…

Then take the chair lift

Then take the chair lift

Fab views of all seven lakes

Fab views of all seven lakes

Take the toboggan ride down!

Take the toboggan ride down!

Jen goes first!

Jen goes first!

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Taken through the cable car window

Taken through the cable car window

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Walk alongside the stunning lake on the way into town

Walk alongside the stunning lake on the way into town

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Quaint back-streets

Quaint back-streets

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The view from the Sky Bar in town

The view from the Sky Bar in town

A water plane

A water plane

Our hotel

Our hotel

Aerobics in the pool

A few of us enjoy the pool

So where's Simon ??

So where’s Simon ??

A lovely sunset in the evening

Lovely colours over the lake in the evening

Bikes waiting for the ferry

Bikes waiting for the ferry

give us a wave !

Give us a wave !

Jim & Dorothy, Wendy & Steve

Jim & Dorothy, Wendy & Steve

Rod & Anita

Rod & Anita

Alan & Julie

Alan & Julie

Jen's leading today

Jen’s leading today

Avoiding Italian police we park on the pavement !!

Avoiding Italian police we park on the pavement !!

Coffee on Lake Lugano

Coffee on Lake Lugano

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Steve & Wendy "Leaning on a lamppost..."

Steve & Wendy “Leaning on a lamppost…”

Moving on to Lake Como for lunch

Moving on to Lake Como for lunch

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We stop for fuel before heading to Switzerland

We stop for fuel before heading to Switzerland

Really ?!

Really ?!

More hairpins

More hairpins

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En route to our hotel

En route to our hotel

Fab views of the Glacier near our hotel

Fab views of the Glacier as we arrive at our hotel

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Fab setting of our hotel

Drinks before dinner

Drinks before dinner

Jen with Wendy & Steve

Jen with Wendy & Steve

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Hands up for reindeer!

Hands up for reindeer!

Dinner is included tonight

Dinner is included tonight

New shirts then ?

New shirts then ?

Is that really a chicken ??

Is that really a chicken ??

Breakfast area in our hotel

Breakfast area in our hotel

Anita points the way to the Glacier

Anita points the way to the Glacier

David Joesbury ny the marker where the glacier was in 1860

David Joesbury – where the glacier was in 1860

Dorothy & Jim at the 1900 marker

Dorothy & Jim at the 1900 marker

Alan & Julie at 1920

Alan & Julie at 1920

Rod & Anita at 1940

Rod & Anita at 1940

Steve & Wendy at 1950

Steve & Wendy at 1950

Us at 1960

Us at 1960

We get closer to the Glacier

We get closer to the Glacier

The group who walked to the Glacier

The group who walked to the Glacier

Craig at 1970

Craig at 1970

Martin & Denise at 1980

Martin & Denise at 1980

The 2015 marker - see how the Glacier has receded

The 2015 marker – how the Glacier has receded

A few continue over the rocks...

A few continue over the rocks…

The rest are left behind...

The rest are left behind…

Negotiating the rocks...

Anita & Wendy negotiating the rocks…

We've made it !

We’ve made it !

Anita can't believe she's touching a Glacier!

Anita can’t believe she’s touching a Glacier!

Anita, Steve, Wendy (& Jen) at the Glacier

Anita, Steve, Wendy (& Jen) at the Glacier

Coffee back at the hotel

Coffee back at the hotel

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The Bernina Express stops at our hotel

The Bernina Express stops at our hotel

Rob & Mike take the train

Rob & Mike take the train

Mike on top of a mountain !!

Mike on top of a mountain !!

Rob too

Rob made it as well (thanks for the photos guys)

Deep wells caused by water erosion

Deep wells caused by water erosion

In the afternoon a few ride to the Stelvio Pass

In the afternoon a few ride to the Stelvio Pass

Hot chocolate stop en-route

Hot chocolate & cake stop en-route

Capricorn

Jen – Capricorn!

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Keith starts up the Pass

Keith starts up the Pass

Jen rides pillion

Jen rides pillion

48 hairpins on the way up!

48 hairpins on the way up!

Keith at bend Number 34

Keith at bend Number 34

Getting closer - bend 30 !

Getting closer – bend 30 !

The hairpins get tighter

The hairpins get tighter

Still more to come...

Still more to come…

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Not what you want - Keith meets a bus!!

Not what you want – Keith meets a bus!!

The weather improves as we approach the top

The weather improves as we approach the top

Looking back over our ascent

Looking back over our ascent

Btavo !!  We did it !!  Especially well done Keith - 76 years of age !!

Bravo !! We did it !! Especially well done Keith – a mere 76 years of age !!

More hot chocolates !

More hot chocolates !

We start our descent

We start our descent

Only 27 hairpins going down !

Only 27 hairpins going down !

Alan & Julie followed by Simon

Alan & Julie followed by Simon

The view heading down

The view heading down

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Ride along train tracks...

Ride along train tracks…

But watch out for oncoming trains !!!

But watch out for oncoming trains !!!

Meet the locals !

Meet the locals !

Simon followed by Alan & Julie

Simon followed by Alan & Julie

Drinks before dinner

Back in time for drinks before dinner

The Stelvio bunch

The Stelvio bunch – wearing their t-shirts!

Dinner is included again tonight

Dinner is included again tonight

Hands up for lamb !

Hands up for lamb !

A goat escapes !

A goat escapes !

So cute !

So cute !

Morning briefing

Morning briefing

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A surprise at coffee stop

A surprise at coffee stop

The group who take the chair lift up...

The group who take the chair lift up…

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and take the toboggan run down !!

and take the toboggan run down !!

John goes first

John goes first

Closely followed by Dave (nothing new there then!!)

Closely followed by Dave (nothing new there then!!)

Speedy Dave races down..

Speedy Dave races down..

Paul goes next

Paul goes next

Then Simon

Then Simon

Mike's next

Mike’s next

Then his Dad, Rob

Then his Dad, Rob

Mike B follows...

Mike B follows…

Then Keith - who's doing everything !!

Then Keith – who’s doing everything !!

Alan takes his turn

Alan takes his turn

Steve in a Kawasaki green toboggan

Steve in a Kawasaki green toboggan

Rod goes next (Anita took the chair lift)

Rod goes next (Anita took the chair lift)

""Inflatable's" pillion !!

“”Inflatable’s” pillion !!

Wendy's not too sure...

Wendy’s not too sure…

Jen's gone & Julie's last !

Jen’s gone & Julie’s last !

Simon's down safely

Simon’s down (Dave & Paul too quick for John!)

Mike filmed his run down

Mike filmed his run down

Rob arrives

Rob arrives

Mike B

Mike B

Keith loved it !

Keith loved it !

Alan

Alan

Steve

Steve

Rod

Rod

Guess who ?!

Guess who ?!

Wendy

Wendy

Jen's caught Wendy & Pillion

Jen’s caught Wendy & Pillion

Jen

Jen

Julie

Julie

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The welcome committee

Ride through pretty villages

Ride through pretty villages

Super views

Super views

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Mike's overtake caught on camera

Mike’s overtake caught on camera

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

Leaving lunch

Leaving lunch

We ride through the clouds

We ride through the clouds

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We regroup after lengthy roadworks

We regroup after lengthy roadworks

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Wet roads as we ride the Susten Pass

Wet roads as we ride the Susten Pass

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Regrouping half-way...

Regrouping half-way…

This is what the view should be like !!!!

This is what the view should be like !!!!

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Welcome to at our next hotel for 3 nights

Welcome to at our next hotel for 3 nights

Fabulous setting

Fabulous setting

Stunning views over the lake

Stunning views over the lake

The hotel pool

The hotel pool

Time for a swim

Time for a swim

The view constantly changes

The view constantly changes

Drinks before dinner

Drinks before dinner

Reserved for us

Reserved for us

Dinner in the conservatory

Dinner in the conservatory

Dinner is included tonight

Dinner is included tonight

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Morning view

Morning view

A day off - take the steam train

A day off – take the steam train

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Wendy is not happy...

Wendy is not happy…

The marmot has disappeared !!

The marmot has been kidnapped !!

Most of us go for a ride-out

Most of us go for a ride-out

We head to the Grimsel Pass first

We head to the Grimsel Pass first

Mike & Rob

Mike – Street Triple R – & Rob

Rob on his Tiger 1050

Rob on his Tiger 1050

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Rob followed by Dave

Rob followed by Dave

Dave on his Kawasaki H2

Dave on his Kawasaki H2

On top of the Grimsel Pass

On top of the Grimsel Pass

Hot chocolates inside

Hot chocolates inside

Fab mirror

Fab motorbike mirror

Paul & Dave have found their next bike !

Paul & Dave have found their next bike !

Ready to go

Ready to go

Great roads

Great  – dry – roads

Dave with Alan & Julie

Dave with Alan & Julie

Twisty enough ?

Twisty enough ?

Here come the boys !

Here come the boys !

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Mike B on his BMW K1300S

Mike B on his BMW K1300S

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Mike & Paul - GSXR 1000

Mike & Paul – GSXR 1000

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Top of the Nufenen pass

Top of the Nufenen pass

This is what the view should look like !!

This is what the view should look like !!

Always stops for photo shoots

Always stops for photo shoots

Simon in the lead

Simon in the lead

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We're going up there !

We’re going up there !

Re-group after Craig misses the marker !!

Re-group after Craig misses the marker !!

Unscheduled lunch stop

Unscheduled lunch stop

Craig is recovered by our back-markers !

Craig is recovered by our back-markers !

Pizza's all round

Pizza’s all round

Cobble stones !!

Cobble stones !!

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Craig rode the old cobbled route !!

Craig rode the old cobbled route !!

Rod & Anita on their BMW K1600GT

Rod & Anita on their BMW K1600GT

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Oncoming traffic !

Oncoming traffic !

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The cows continue round a hairpin !!

The cows continue round a hairpin !!

We ride the Furka Pass

We ride the Furka Pass

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Heading back to the hotel

A free night - more pizza's !

A free night – more pizza’s !

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Newsflash:

Wendy has posted a "Missing Person" note

Wendy has posted a “Missing Marmot” note

And gets a ransom demand !!

And gets a confidential reply !!

Some of us ride to the Trummelbach Falls

Some of us ride to the Trummelbach Falls

The Group at the Falls

The Group at the Falls

The fab waterfalls inside the mountain

The fab waterfalls inside the mountain

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Martin & Denise

Martin & Denise

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The corkscrew

The corkscrew

We go to Grindelwald for lunch

We go to Grindelwald for lunch

Where if it was fine you could see the mountains

Where if fine you could see the mountains

Hello cutie !!

Hello cutie !!

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

Woodcarvings around the lake

Woodcarvings around the lake

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Another free night - we hit the same pizzeria

Another free night – we hit the same pizzeria

Huge calzone !

Huge calzone !

Rob orders a dessert...

Rob orders a dessert…

so he has a present for his wife !!

so he has a present for his wife !!

Breakfast in the conservatory

Breakfast in the conservatory

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Coffee stop

Coffee stop

David Joesbury on his Bonneville Scrambler

David Joesbury on his Bonneville Scrambler

Newsflash :

The Marmot has fallen into the wrong hands !!

The Marmot has fallen into the wrong hands !!

A ransom note has been delivered...

Another ransom note…

Swiss Chocolate & a Shrubbery !!

Swiss Chocolate & a Shrubbery !!

Mike's BMW won't start !!

Mike’s BMW won’t start !!

Mont Blanc appears through the clouds

Mont Blanc appears through the clouds

Afternoon coffee in Chamonix

Afternoon coffee in Chamonix

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Our penultimate hotel

Our penultimate hotel

A free night - we dine Thai

A free night – we dine in a Thai restaurant

Breaking Bad !!

Breaking Bad !!

or ???

or ???

Mike has coconut shells...

Mike has coconut shells…

Sake on the house

Sake on the house

Scary !

Scary !

Our hotel by night

Our hotel by night

Morning briefing in the hotel garage

Morning briefing in the hotel garage

Mike's BMW won't start - off to a garage

Mike’s BMW won’t start – off to a garage

Pretty coffee stop

Pretty coffee stop

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A different bridge

A different bridge

Ride through the Loire

Ride through the Loire

Our final hotel

Our final hotel

Parking in the hotel grounds

Parking in the hotel grounds

Jen

Jen

Drinks before dinner

Drinks before dinner

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Newsflash :

Wendy has a letter from the Marmot

Wendy has a letter from the Marmot

The captors want Lindt - not Toblerone !

The captors want Lindt – not Toblerone !

Who's this - Larry Flint ??

Who’s this – Larry Flint ??

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Dinner is included our last night

Dinner is included our last night

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John says a few words...

John says a few words…

Thanks to Back-markers Martin & Denise

Thanks to Back-markers Martin & Denise

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Newsflash :

The Marmot is returned under a Silver Service Cloche !!

Marmot is returned under a Silver Service Cloche !!

Wendy is so happy !!

Wendy is so happy !!

The vegetable  joke...

The vegetable joke…

So how did Paul know it was a marrow ?!

So how did Paul know it was a marrow ?!

The penguin again !

The penguin again !

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Ahoy - are you in the Air Force >

Ahoy – are you in the Air Force >

Wendy takes a turn

Wendy takes a turn

Jen reads Ken's cheese scones joke

Jen reads Ken’s cheese scones joke

Jim also knew some penguins !!

Jim also knew some penguins !!

Keith needs an assistant !

Keith needs an assistant !

Rod takes a turn

Rod takes a turn

Ith it Dithco ???

Ith it Dithco ???

our final briefing

The next day our final briefing

Jim & Dorothy on their BMW K1600GT

Jim & Dorothy on their BMW K1600GT

Wendy - Bonneville, Steve - Kawasaki Z1000SX

Wendy – Bonneville, Steve – Kawasaki Z1000SX

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

We ride over the Pont de Normandie

We ride over the Pont de Normandie

All back at Le Havre for the ferry

All back at Le Havre for the ferry

Our longest trip hence the amount of photos !!  A great tour with a great bunch of people, we hope to see many of you again in the future. Ride safe, John & Jen…

Newsflash :

The Marmot has the last word !!!

With two fingers up to his kidnappers the Marmot has the last word !!!