Vespa World Days 2023 - Interlaken, Switzerland
Last year, due to the long distance, we were only able to send a small delegation to the Vespa World Days (VWD) in Bali bali. But this year the World Days took place on our doorstep: in Switzerland. To be precise, in Interlaken, the pretty town in the Bernese Oberland, situated between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun.
By travelling to the VWD, we killed two birds with one stone. On the one hand, we could visit the event and be present there with SIP Scootershop, and on the other hand, we used the trip as our annual Vespa road trip. Participants were quickly found: Otto, Moritz, André, Dennis, Alex and myself from SIP Scootershop. We were joined by our buddy Phillip, Bernd from our film team Ab-gedreht and this year's special guest: Eugene from Manila, our friend and customer from the Scooter Depot in the Philippines.
With the Vespa through railway romance
On Wednesday, 14 June, we set off from the gates of the SIP headquarters in Landsberg. Of course, we could have now taken the motorway and roared through to Interlaken - but that was not the purpose of the undertaking. We wanted to reach our destination on narrow roads to get to know the landscape, people, culture and gastronomy. The weather was perfect, the tanks full, so we rattled off in good spirits.
In the Tannheimer Tal, cows prevented us from continuing, but once we had overcome this hurdle, we made our way swiftly to Unteriberg, where we set up our first bivouac on Swiss soil at the Landgasthof Rösslipost. The land of the Swiss is a true paradise for scooter riders. We thought we were in a diorama of a Märklin H0 railway. You can't get enough of the wooden houses, lush meadows and the ever-present and impressive Alpine peaks. Again and again, people stopped, marvelled and took photos. These are the rewards of being on small roads. Early to bed, because the next day awaited us with challenges. Another driver joined us in the evening: Thomas "Hasi", who had already accompanied us in Albania.
James Bond, the Grimsel and a hotel
Thursday, 15 June: After the first bends, which were, however, only a shadow of those to come, we headed south along the eastern shore of Lake Lucerne. Into the high Alps! Through Andermatt and Hossental we approached the Furka Pass - the first highlight of our tour. However, we first had to give way to other two-wheelers, because the Tour de Suisse was on its way. So we watched the people who think it makes sense to conquer the mountains with muscle power. Crazy!
Following in the footsteps of James Bond actor Sean Connery and villain Gert Fröbe, who stood here in front of the camera for Goldfinger, we finally climbed the pass at 2,429 m above sea level (the sign on site with 2,436 m above sea level is misleading). The scooters had earned a break, because at this altitude the two-strokes run much too rich and start to puff properly. At the top of the pass, of course, there were many other scooter riders who were on their way to Interlaken and were coming here from the canton of Uri into the Valais. On the descent, we passed the legendary Hotel Belvédère, which nestles in a serpentine, but has been closed since 2015.
Once we reached the bottom, we only had a short rest, because the next mountain classification was coming up at the Grimsel Pass. The Swiss affectionately call the pass "the Grimsel" and we once again screwed our way up to 2,163 m above sea level. Up here at the pass, we again met Norwegians, Swedes and other travellers who shared our passion for mountains and curves. The ride down into the valley was not exactly frantic, as we had to stop again and again to marvel at the breathtaking panorama. With these impressions in our luggage, we arrived in Interlaken towards evening. Speaking of luggage: On this tour, I marvelled at the most adventurous variations of how people attach their utensils to the scooter. It didn't always look safe and well thought out. I recommend our guidebook for safe travel and arrival.
On site, there was a big "hello", because Alex's father Walter joined our troop. He had chosen a different route with his Vespa GTS 300, stayed in youth hostels and managed the route at his own pace. And Walter is already over 70. Respect. We checked into various accommodations and finally, exhausted but satisfied, stretched our legs under the table while we dined together with other friends in the evening.
Friends and Vespas from all over the world
On Friday, 16 June, the World Days were in full swing, but we first decided on a comparatively short ride to the famous Grindelwald. Again we went through landscapes that seemed to be painted, to the legendary mountain massif of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. In the shadow of the menacing North Face, cold drinks and local food were consumed before finally heading back to the event, where we spent the next few hours enjoying the attractions on offer, such as the Vespa Museum and Vespa Village. We also welcomed Mascha, Christian and Ruben, who had set up the SIP Scootershop stand and were now looking after it. Many thanks for your insert.
It was time to meet old acquaintances and friends: Ralph Bollag from Zurich, Josh Rodgers from Vespa Club USA, Bag from VCVD, Costas Kirou from Greece, Pachu Pasciullo from Vespa Club Argentina and many more. Time for socialising, anecdotes, memories and petrol talks. In the evening, we continued to celebrate in Interlaken, as did most of the 4,500 registered participants. It remains to be seen whether the organisers really need to offer the 0.2 litre beer for 7.50 and the Spritz for 17 euros to cover their costs. It was not customer-friendly and the event area was deserted at a late hour.
Thousands of Vespas on the runway
On Sunday, 17 June, the big tour followed on the runway of the old airport, where the World Days took place. The classic parade through the surrounding countryside was unfortunately not allowed, so thousands of Vespas rolled leisurely over the tarmac and I was once again impressed by the diversity of Vespa fans. Smartly dressed and styled ladies and gentlemen rode next to cowls and scooter boys. Freaks in bunny suits, tattooed men in t-shirts and distinguished older gentlemen rolled together towards the midday sun. There is hardly a scene in the world of engines where everyone is really allowed to be who they want to be. And they are all united by their love of one vehicle: the Vespa. I've been around for many, many years now, but this panopticon fascinates me anew every time.
In the afternoon, we took off on our own into the mountains and let ourselves be carried by a gondola to even loftier heights in car-free Meiringen. Once again the view of the iconic peaks. Unforgettable. Just like the last evening in Interlaken, where we enjoyed ourselves once more.
For the return journey on Sunday, 18 June, we chose a different route. Past Lake Sarnen, Lake Alpnach and other lakes, we went to Meilen on Lake Zurich. However, without André and Thomas, who took the road in a different direction to embark on another adventure: Rallye des 3 Massifs to Corsica. But that is another story.
On Monday, 19 June, we drove to familiar climes without any breakdowns and arrived safely in Landsberg in the late afternoon.
What can I say? The scenery alone is worth the trip and the absolute added value of this location. You can be divided about the pricing, but we and everyone else didn't let that spoil our mood. Either way, our road trip to the Vespa World Days Interlaken 2023 will remain in our memories. Our thanks go to all the helpers, participants, friends and acquaintances. It's the company that makes such an event and once again it was exceptional. Roger. Over. And Out.