Day 10 and DAY 11

September 17th and 18th

France, Germany and Switzerland


We always knew we needed James on this adventure – we had a 7am wakeup call and 15 minutes later there was a croissant and coffee for everyone. Little did we know he was buttering us up for an 11am wine tasting at a vineyard not on our route, but luckily for him Bharat is always keen and the views over a quintessentially Alsace valley alone were worth it. At the tasting it became apparent that wine might be the undoing of James and Amy’s relationship, as she sat head in hands trying to ignore the indelible picture of James’ wine tasting technique – video below:

Conman or Connoisseur? from Tuk Tuk to Turkey on Vimeo.

James came up trumps again and suggested we drive through the Vosges mountains rather than following our original route. We wound our way up the hills to breath-taking views at the top and even passed a few ski lifts on our way.

Before we reached our hosts just outside Belfort, we went to visit Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp. Despite pleading, the tuktuk was not allowed up to the church so we set off on foot to inspect the architectural marvel and, despite not being the most culturally astute bunch, we all enjoyed our visit.

The night was spent with Laura and Sylvain and their two children – Laura lost her sister to SUDEP when she was 17 and we know her through SUDEP Action. Rachel took Sylvain and their 2 year old daughter for a ride and promptly shot off on the wrong side of the road, which had Laura head in hands praying for Rachel to be careful with her baby! Rachel and her passengers arrived back 5 minutes later, totally oblivious to Rachel’s driving blunders, but without a doubt she is now cementing her reputation as being the most dangerous of us all.

Tuesday morning and a normally organised James can’t find his wallet…anywhere. The whole car emptied, every bag searched and it was still nowhere to be seen. Laura’s 5 year old son had remained silent whilst the frantic search was underway and it was only after all other options had been exhausted that the search party realised he had a cheeky grin on his face. Clearly he was after some more pocket money, as it turned out he had stashed James’ wallet in his hiding place for a rainy day!

Eventually we set off and drove to Basel where we had a Swiss bargain of 4 coffees and 3 croissants for £42!!!!! Bharat turned whiter than Rachel’s cappuccino and instantaneously decided he wasn’t a fan of Switzerland…

…and neither is James after our stressful detour through some Swiss hills (one of Amy’s famous shortcuts). Nearing the top of a very long and steep incline, the support car, in first gear, ground to a halt and started to roll backwards. An unusually rattled James tried multiple times to do a hill start to no avail. As we started to smell the aroma of burning rubber and the squeals of the engine, the trusty tuk tuk chugged on past Amy and James, who, at this point, were both leaning forwards in the Fiat, as if that would help. Bharat came to the rescue and managed to crawl up the hill, but whether that was because Amy had got out by that point and, as Rachel put it, had “significantly lightened the load” or because James is just diabolical at hill starts we’re yet to verify. We have the Alps to come, so stay tuned.


Drama over, detours over…we returned back to our original, flatter route all the way to Bassersdorf to meet our amazing hosts, Paul and Rebekka who saw us on ITV News and offered us a bed for the night (and an entire roast dinner!).

Dunce of the Day:
Day 10: Amy – fell asleep AGAIN and her phone flew out of the tuktuk AGAIN – we know cats have 9 lives, but iPhones? Bharat now has her under strict instruction to tape it to her hand next time her eyes start to droop.
Day 11: Bharat – for a lot of honking, gesticulating and expletives driving through Zurich at rush hour.

Funniest moment: James spat a sample of wine into his glass creating a disgusting foam and the owner of the vineyard looked horrified thinking her prized, handpicked grapes had caused the mess. James couldn’t explain why he hadn’t used the spit bucket and it was very enjoyable watching him get redder and redder in the face.

Highlight of the Day (for Amy and James) v Low Point of the Day (for Rachel and Bharat): Amy and James in need of their caffeine hit, convinced Rachel and Bharat, who were adamant that we needed to push on, into thinking the lunch place took 20 minutes to make “fresh baguettes”, and had a coffee in the sun whilst R&B sat in the baking car park waiting.

Interesting fact: Basel is a city which spreads over three countries – Germany, France and Switzerland.

Our route so far! Mostly to plan except for bypassing Heidelberg as it was too expensive and several hundred miles further

Amy and Bharat in Bergheim

Riquewihr, France

Riquewihr, France

Wine tasting at Weinbach, Kientzhein, France

Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France. Designed by Le Corbusier

Basel, Switzerland

Our hosts in Belfort, Laura and Sylvan with children Arthur & Céleste and neighbours

Bharat loves his macaroons in Riquewihr

We meet lots of wonderful people who ask about what on earth we are doing and why. They take away our card, sometimes donate, but always go away knowing more about epilepsy and SUDEP than they did before.

Beautiful old footbridge in Bad Säckingen, Germany (we walked over the bridge from Switzerland)