Over the weekend of 9 to 12 September 2016, we were pleased to be invited to participate in the 7th International Gathering of European Ulysses Clubs which was held in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.
We received a fabulous welcome by our Swiss neighbors and were absolutely lucky with the weather, whilst there was rain over night on 2 occasions, it had cleared by morning providing dry sunny roads the next day.
Many nationalities were represented, in addition to a large group from the Swiss Club there was a large group for Germany, and riders from Great Britain, South Africa and of course a group of riders from the French Ulysses-Club.
After setting off at midday Friday from the Abondance valley, the Ulysses Club France group headed along the Rhône Valley to Brig and then over the impressive Furka Pass to reach Chur, and the climb up to the Parpan ski resort in the heart of Graubünden mountains.
We reached the meeting venue the Hotel Grishalodge at around 18.00. After a cordial welcome from our hosts, we were issued room keys, and invited to choose a riding group and provided route plans for the coming weekend. Soon a good meal was waiting for us, and we shared a few beers afterwards.
Each morning we were asked to assemble in the hotel car park and ensure we joined up with all the other members of our riding group.
On Saturday after a hearty breakfast buffet, we got ready and then headed off behind our respective group leaders on a loop of about 280 km passing via the beautiful Landquart valley, and famous Davos, over the Wolfgangpass, to the very classy St Moritz, before heading on to Zernez, and the Julierpass with all the groups finally meeting up at a mountain top Inn-restaurant - Voa Tgantieni Hotel - which is a typical Swiss inn perched high in the mountains with stunning views.
The landscape was beautiful and the Swiss roads were in great condition, so our ride was a real pleasure thanks to our guides who did a perfect job.
After another excellent dinner, we were entertained by a rock group - Wow Wow, and a charity auction was organized for the benefit of a young skier Dario who was permanently injured during a ski race.
On Sunday morning, after a good night's sleep, we were again keen and ready for the second ride of the weekend, a 250 km circuit to the glacier source of the River Rhine and enjoy a picnic at the top of the Albulapass to 2315 m.
Whilst the organised weekend officially ended with farewells and a fabulous meal on Sunday night, the Ulysses-Club France riders had planned a scenic return route heading into Ticino and via the Simplon pass route towards Lake Maggiore in Italy where we found time for spaghetti in Centovali before heading via minor roads to the Domodossola pass to join the Simplon Pass route into the Brig Valley and finally ver the Morgins pass into France. In the meantime some of the other Ulysses riders joined Swiss Club for a further rides in Northern Switzerland until Wednesday morning
To sum up - Fantastic memories and a firm promise to meet up again next year in June in the Saarland for the 8th European meeting which is being organised by Ulysses-Club Germany!