The manager of our hotel, despite a startling resemblance to Blofeld, is kind and helpful and it's no problem staying another night. Once the die is cast, we have a relaxing day of buying postcards, eating ice cream and walking in the woods around the lake, with dinner in an old railway carriage. My day is made when I spot two Junkers Ju 52s circling the lake.
The next morning, Howard takes delivery of a small blue Hyundai and we leave at last to catch the others in Interlaken. The road winds prettily through a green valley and I think cockily that I should overtake the car and go in front when a good bit of road comes in sight. I soon discover, however, that Howard is just as adroit on four wheels as two and I'm struggling to keep up.
We stop for lunch on a café terrace overlooking a mountain lake and congratulate ourselves on what good time we're making and how we should be in Interlaken around 3PM, early enough to do some sightseeing.
This sort of thinking is never wise. Half an hour later, on the Furka Pass, a motorcycle runs into the back of the car.
Not my motorcycle, fortunately, nor any of our party's: a German on an elderly BMW, whom I've waved past expecting him to go faster than a bike following a car. I come round a corner to find two bikes, the Hyundai and an enormous lorry all stopped with their hazard lights on and a third bike scattered across the road, its rider lying behind the car - which was out of my sight for approximately ten seconds.
I am naturally a bit surprised, not to mention alarmed, but try to remember my First Aid and set to work reassuring the casualty. This largely consists of saying "Alles gut, alles gut".
The German biker is carted off in an ambulance while the Swiss police take some photos and draw some chalk lines. Howard is directed back down the hill to a restaurant, where we're joined by a nice officer with very good English. Howard makes a statement in English, the policeman writes it down in German, and I read through the German to make sure it says what he says it says. Then we get ourselves a coffee and palpitate for a bit.
All this has set us back a couple of hours, and as we ascend the pass thick fog comes down. I can't see as far as the side of the road, and if I let the Hyundai get more than two car lengths ahead I lose the tail lights. We pass through villages without seeing a thing; can't stop, can't tell where the laybys are. The muffling greyness goes on and on. My shoulders are tensed and my eyes strained. You never know what will loom out of the fog at you next: a foolhardy cyclist, a coach, a Land Rover pulling a trailer with a scared-looking sheep in it.
We descend at last into a wet evening. Then the sun appears, and by the time we arrive in Interlaken it's warm and dry. There's a festival in town, and men and women in peasant costume are leading cows and goats along the street. In the hotel room there are chocolates on the pillows and - for the first and only time - a kettle! and coffee!
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