For a couple of weeks we had been thinking about our journey back to the UK and we were very nearly at the point of initiating the plan. But first we had a final couple of days of skiing to get in.
Final skiing days in Cervinia
We were back in Cervinia again now that Valtournenche had closed. Back in the same sosta as before. It felt a little different though now that the Easter visitors had left, just a handful of vans were still here.
It was mid week and so the free bus wasn’t running. We decided to walk to the gondola, wearing trainers and carrying our skis and boots. At Plan Maison we hired a locker for €3 to store our trainers while we skied. This was a bit of a faff, especially the uphill walk to the gondola station, carrying ski gear and sweating in warm sunshine, but it was do-able. We saw one group at the sosta getting a taxi which we hadn’t even considered but might have been tempted to do.
It was such a shame to be leaving, snow conditions were still so good, but we made the most of our last day. In the morning we skied as much as possible in the sunshine. We enjoyed an enormous panino for lunch as clouds started to gather and then had fun in the snow in the afternoon. A final Aperol Spritz and then we were done. Skiing was over for the year.
The following morning I went into resort for a few bits and bobs while Paul emptied and refilled the van then we were off, time to take our long(ish) way home.
Getting to Switzerland
In the interest of doing something different we didn’t want to return to the UK via the Mont Blanc tunnel. I had put out a request for some alternatives on facebook but all of the suggestions had involved a substantial detour, either further east or south. In the end we decided we would return via the Gran San Bernardo tunnel.
So yet again we were heading to Aosta, a quick supermarket shop and refuel and we were heading north towards the border with Switzerland.
The drive up the valley was pretty straightforward. The main road, SS27, ascended easily up through a number of villages as we approached our intended stop for the night. Crevacol ski resort was shut already, and very green and snow-free, but had motorhome parking we were intending to use before crossing the border the following morning.
We got to the parking but it was very uninspiring. It was near the road and the parking was very sloping. There was a larger, flatter, parking area but it was busy with road repair equipment. The motorhome services were a grid over a drain which was in an upper corner of the car park and seemed almost impossible to use for its intended purpose.
As it wasn’t late we decided we would be better off heading into Switzerland. We drove further up the road, it was covered at first, protected from snow and avalanche. It wasn’t entirely clear when the road ended and the tunnel began, giving it a bit of a sinister feel.
Driving in Switzerland
We haven’t ever driven through Switzerland before but plenty of other motorhome travellers have, so I knew there was a bit of admin to do before we crossed the border. Vans under 3.5 tonnes have to purchase a vignette to drive on the major roads in Switzerland. Vans like Bertie, big lumps that are over 3.5 tonnes, have to pay a daily rate to drive in Switzerland. To make life easier the Swiss have recently introduced the Via app. So you can purchase either online.
I registered Bertie on the app and looked for the most cost effective way to allow us to drive in Switzerland. The basic day rate is 3.25CHF, but there is a minimum charge of 25CHF even if you are only spending one day in Switzerland. In the end we decided that the best option was to buy ten days, we have a year from first purchase to use them so we can always come back.
For each day we were in Switzerland we had to activate a ticket online. Who knows how this is checked, but I felt good knowing we were road legal.