Words of encouragement are gifts we can freely give and freely receive.
Today I was thinking about who inspired me to get on the back of the bike in the first place.
Especially since we were riding high mountain passes.
So, today I want to thank Andrea Thompson, whose enthusiasm, delight and vivid description of her ride with Stuart Burns in the Indian Himalayas was infectious.
Andrea's encouragement in 2010 made me think that maybe I should try again to ride pillion with Dick.
Since then we have been 'on the road' in 36 countries, ridden over 130,000km and have met wonderful friends along the way.
Thank you, for your encouragement Andrea.
When I looked out the window this morning I saw a promise of a wonderful day.
Dick has planned a day riding mountain passes.
Five major passes,
Narrow roads, winding roads, tight corners, motorways, tunnels, viaducts
Lots of high places.
Oberal pass, Lucomagna Pass, St Bernadino Pass, Splugen Pass, Maloja Pass.
Most with hydro dams at the summit forming lovely lakes.
South to Italian Switzerland,
The Italian Tirol...What is that haze we see? We are not very far from Milan.
Let's get back up into the clear air.
A wonderful scene to bless the morning.
Time for a map to show you where we are going.
Andermatt from the Oberal pass road.
We set off from Andermatt are are soon well up the mountainside when we spot the Glacier Express on her cogwheel assisted descent.
Timber and stone 'barriers' on the bends.
Hay making is in full swing.
People with pitch forks, rakes, and small tedders turning the hay.
Some mowers have spiked metal wheels to manage the steep slopes,
Some farmers are using weed eaters to cut the grass and leaf blowers to turn and move the grass down the hill where a truck with a hay rolling machine will compact the hay.
Five years ago we saw farmers gathering hay in big burlap aprons and carrying it up to the barn.
The smell of fresh hay evokes childhood memories for both of us.
The smell of the 'used' hay from the barns fills the air - sometimes near barns in the middle of villages.
At least the cows do get to be fed on fresh grass in the alps for part of the year.
We have seen cows grazing high in the mountains and the farmers and their families are living in their stone summer houses.
These young men are skate boarding down a mountain pass. Glad we didn't meet them at right at the hairpin bend.
They go up to the pass by holding a strop attached to the bumper of a car.
Splugen pass hairpin bends.
Lunch in Italy.
Beautiful lakes along the way.
This lake is near St Moritz.
Caprese salad for starters.
Followed by ravioli, sage butter and chanterelles. Simple and delicious.