Swiss pastries

Expect the Unexpected

It feels as though we’ve only just arrived in Gravedona when it’s time to leave again. One night here never feels enough but I’m living on the memory of my ‘Menu di Lago’ last night. Such a fabulous fish meal.

Nevertheless, we need to aim to reach the Gotthard Pass by midday if we want to stick to the schedule and spend some time this evening in the pretty French town of Colmar…

Well, we’ve made it to the Pass but, what’s this? It’s closed! Something of a surprise since it’s been open for several weeks so we can only assume that yesterday’s stormy conditions were pretty severe up on the Alps and have rendered the winding mountain road dangerous or maybe unpassable. Whatever the reason, we won’t be going up today - but that’s the nature of these road trips. They are carefully planned but can be unpredictable. Never mind. An opportunity missed can also be an opportunity gained.

Today, that’s certainly the case. We make up time on this leg of the journey and it gives us a bit of slack to explore. Feeling peckish and with the hour for my daily webcast advancing fast, we pull into a picturesque little village called Beckenried on the shores of Lake Lucerne. It’s beautiful and prompts delegates to dive for their camera bags and get a few shots. And I am not the only one to see that this is a coffee and kocken opportunity ! But first, I take myself off to deliver the webcast….

Now for the cake. The choice is amazing; they really know how to make pastries in this part of the world. I plump for a fruchtplunder. Light, sticky and calorific with an apricot in the centre. One of my five a day. Perfect.

Onwards over the border to Colmar and when we reach the hotel, we are pleasantly surprised to find that the receptionist speaks impeccable English. I ask her where she learnt to speak it so well, presuming that she will say she spent some time in England but no; seems she learnt more from American TV programmes than anywhere else. She reels off a string of series: ‘Dexter’, ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘House’ are among the many she mentions. It makes me smile.

Before we go out to shoot Alexa en pointe in a magnificent gold cocktail dress this evening, there’s the Photography Treasure Hunt to judge. Let me explain. At the beginning of the trip, I issued a challenge to our delegates: to ‘collect’ twenty images inspired by the various different stimuli on a clue sheet which I devised before we set out on the road trip. The idea is to get everyone thinking and observing their surroundings as we travel from place to place. Taking that one step further now, today is about evaluating each other’s work and it’s done anonymously so that everyone can feel completely free to be honest and unbiased. At the same time, I encourage everyone to be analytical and to ‘think like a judge’. Scoring other people’s images, using a specific range of criteria, is a great way to improve your own photography, to develop ‘an eye’. We can all learn from each other; that should be a process which never stops, no matter what your level of experience. I am not involved in the judging, other than to facilitate, but I can see that there are some really inspired images and I wonder which picture will gain the most points. We will announce the winner tomorrow.

After our evening dance shoot around the Little Venice area of the town, Helen and Alexa take an hour off to ‘do’ the shops and are tasked with finding a restaurant for this evening. They pick Moroccan and we eat heartily, surrounded by camels, carpets and coloured glass, before returning to crash out in our cosy rooms. It’s an early start tomorrow and the breakfast menu looks great!


The next EuroPhoto roadtrip.

If this has woken up your creative juices then take a look at out next Roadtrip, the Swiss and Italian Lakes in September 2017.