Day 11 (25/08/2014): Brig-Aosta (167km/2,400m ascent/1 pass/drank 6.5 litres)

passes climbed:
Colle del Gran San Bernardo/Col du Grand-St-Bernard (2,473m)

towns passed:
Visp; Sierre; Sion; Martigny; Aosta

Bit of a grey day today – weather-wise. And leg-wise, I still felt the battle against the wind from the day before.

The flat ride through the valley of Rhône river took me through vineyards and to the French-speaking Switzerland, still in the canton Valais/Wallis. It would be the last bit that I was cycling through Switzerland.

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river Rhône near Sierre/Siders

But before I finally left it, I spent my last francs on THE perfect cheesecake – if anyone asks me again what type of cheesecake I like: it’s either the one of the American Cheesecake Factory, or that one from Coop in Martigny! The main ingredients must be butter, cream and lots of sugar 😉

With such invigoration the Great St. Bernard pass could come (depending on sources the 10th or the 12th highest pass road in the Alps). All the way up to the tunnel it was a fairly moderate climb on a wide road – clearly more of a transit pass rather than a touristy path like e.g. Großglockner or Gávia. This could also be seen by the significantly lower number of motorbikes and bicycles going up there.

From where the road split into Grand-St-Bernard tunnel and the route towards the ‘Col’, traffic became a lot less busy for me (who obviously went uphill and not through the tunnel).

But two comments on that “junction”. It was the very first time that I saw ‘Nice’ written on a road sign! Less kilometres than I still have ahead of me due to a more direct route they measured, however, still a clear sign that I’m getting closer.
And what was most surprising to me: apparently bicycles are allowed into the tunnel! Probably not a very pleasant experience, but still interesting to see.

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Nice, prepare yourself, I’m getting closer!

The German family who took my photo on top of the pass mentioned they felt a bit sorry for me when they saw me cycling uphill. But they thought “when he’s up there, he’ll get a beer”. What they didn’t know: I still had a piece of this wonderful cheesecake 😋

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on top of the Swiss/Italian Great St. Bernard pass – it was another 2,000m climb up there

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my descent towards Aosta

Back in Italy the weather was “Italian” – warm and sunny. And I got great views of the highest mountain of the Alps: Mt. Blanc – or as it’s called in Italy: Monte Bianco.

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view of Mt. Blanc from my hotel room in Aosta

498km/11,600m ascent/9 passes to go!

accurate route details (incl. GPS track):
Vienna-Nice Transalp – day 11 (Brig-Aosta)
Start date/time: Mon, 25 Aug 2014 9:15, distance (km): 166.08, elevation (ascent in m): 2,163

all photos of the day:

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