Thursday, 19 July 2007

European Grand Tour 2007 Day 2

Day 2

Day 2 started well. Lovely breakfast in the courtyard of the hotel and then off. We had a 236 mile journey ahead of us mostly through Switzerland. We got fleeced by the Swiss as we got to Switzerland as we had to buy a one year "vignette" toll sticker for €30 and then it started raining. And boy did it rain.

It did not really have any impact other than slow us down a bit and cover up the Alpine scenery. We took the A2 pretty much all the way through Switzerland had a good run until we got to the St Gotthard Tunnel where we had to queue for around 90 minutes. We were totally stationary for over 30 minutes and were getting worried on how long we were stuck there.

Waiting, originally uploaded by xrrr.

The St Gotthard tunnel is pretty impressive. It is the 3rd longest in the world and is 10.5 miles long. It is all single carriageway and fairly straight! Going into the tunnel all the signs are in German but on the other side everything is in Italian even though you are still in Switzerland. Fortunately after queuing for almost 90 minutes there was a service station just after the tunnel. Seeing as it had stopped raining for a bit, Alison and I had a nice picnic of bread and cheese outside in the mountain scenery.

A break in the clouds, originally uploaded by xrrr.

From there it was a straight forward run to Lake Lugano. It looked like it might have been very picturesque but unfortunately the rain had come back again and pretty much everything was grey.
Half way round the lake on the SS340 we pass over the Swizz/Italian border. A new record for me. Three countries in one day: France, Switzerland & Italy all in one day.
The SS340 is a bit hairy, lots of narrow roads, blind bends and flipping buses coming the other way! We only had to reverse out of the way once but it was a bit of a palarva as about 5 cars behind me also had to back up and shift for the bus. Eventually we made it to Menaggio, time to call Alfredo (Freddy) the man with the keys for the apartment. After us getting lost (blame the sat nav getting lost) and Freddy not knowing where we were parked we eventually managed to meet up with Freddy on his Vespa. Nice chap. Nice apartment.

The Apartment, originally uploaded by xrrr.

The Apartment, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Given that it started raining and thundering as soon as we got to the apartment and it was about 5pm by the time we got settled there was not much to see and do.

Bloody Rain, originally uploaded by xrrr.

A break in the rain did let me get this shot of the town clock tower bathed in light:

Time for a Storm, originally uploaded by xrrr.

Talking of that clock tower. It chimed every 15 minutes between 7am and 10pm doing the full hour bell "dong" every 30 minutes. As the clock tower has to be heard over the entire town and we were right next to it it was very loud! Some helpful individual also rang the bell at 7.30 every morning for about 10 minutes presumably to get the village up and at em. Very helpful.

[All Photos][Next Day]

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