REACHING COL DE L’ISERAN
We crossed the highest pass of the Alps: Col de l’Iseran (el. 2,764 meters (9,068 ft.)) which connects France and Italy. To be more precise: This is the most scenic route from the Rhône-Alpes to the Piedmont. Getting there – when coming from the north – means either to drive along Lake Geneva or tunneling through the famous Mont-Blanc, which (for reasons unknown) we did both.
Driving uphill the bendy roads one might ask why anyone living close to Geneva felt the need to build such an extraordinary road to Piedmont, Italy. But there are actually plenty reasons for doing so. For starters: the nuts. The hazelnuts. This region has not only the best quality of hazelnuts but also one of the biggest quantities of them. Which is why they got inventive processing it. One local brand, located in Alba, got actually quite famous by mixing hazelnuts with chocolate: Ferrero. From here the Nutella revolution began its invasion all over the worlds’ breakfast tables.
Besides other tasty products of the piedmont, like a couple of the best wines of Italy and definitely the best truffles of the world there’s another good reason for the existence of this road – and not just from northerners’ point of view: the joy of driving on it. We took a Mercedes SLC 43 AMG for this endeavor – and to make it even more interesting: also, a Mercedes CLS 500. It’s hard to tell which car was the best for the job… sure, the small roadster provided an incredible open-air feeling. But the CLS with its all-wheel drive system and the mighty V8 engine powered up the mountains (especially through the bends) with a roaring thunder from its exhaust pipes.
But you should know that the col is only accessible by road during summer since the col changes into a ski paradise in winter. My guess: this might be fun too. Whoever’ve been here with skis, boards or slide – get in touch and prove my guess right (or wrong).