I write this from a beautiful Aire at almost 2200 metres and with stunning views all around. But first can I have a little rant? There are two categories of motorists I detest; apart from killers of course, they are drivers who do not thank you for lettng them through and those that drive on the hard shoulder of a motorway when there is tailback. The former I am more inclined to think maybe it was just a bad day and they forgot or were listening to little Gertrude in the back and normally they would wave and smile at me for my good deed. HOWEVER the second group I really and permanently detest. Today we spent a couple of hours in a queue on the road that leads to St Gotthard’s tunnel. No idea what the cause was as we turned off to St Gotthard’s pass before we came across the mayhem. During this time at least 10 cars of differing nationalities insisted in undertaking. Now, puts on ex-traffic cops hat, the hard shoulder accounts for about 4 times the fatalities than the other three lanes added together (I think those stats are current, if not let me know ex-traffic lads). There is a good reason for the the hard shoulder, despite some UK bean counter deciding that ‘Managed Motorways’ are the way ahead. The emergency services use them to make to the scene to save life and have been trained to do so safely… Yes I know some need the toilet and don’t have the luxury of one at the rear their vehicle, many were in fact pulling over and having a quick wee….male and female. The oiks that we witnessed today we just careless at the best. What they are implying, I think, is their day is far more important that yours and mine who wait patiently. End rant, I thank you.
Maybe I should have more compassion for my fellow law breakers! Yes, we are now legal in Switzerland. Last night I discovered that our vehicle should have a Form 15.19. (Don’t forget the dot). As we are over 4 tonnes we should have purchased said form as soon as we crossed the border some three days ago…… My only excuse your honour, as feeble as it is, is that I hadn’t planned to come into Switzerland on our freestyle trip and hadn’t researched Switzerland too much.
Our dilemma was, do we just carry on and hope the rozzers don’t stop us or do we return to Italy, do a quick U turn and pretend that was our first entry. We went for the latter. We are normally reasonabley law abiding folk, and while Clewley’s luck has served me well, I wasn’t sure my IPA card could get me out of a ticket. So off we went back down the very wet valley to the border post at Luino. A few clicks later and I managed a U turn to saunter back. Having stopped that the customs point I asked for the 15.19 and was told I don’t need one as my vehicle wasn’t big enough. Not big enough? Doesn’t he know a Clewley when he sees one. Anyway I paid my 32.50 Swiss Francs and we were legal again. Hoorah!
Having stocked up with goodies we joined the motorway and you’ve heard the rest as far as that road is concerned. We never intended going through the tunnel as the St Gotthard’s pass looked far more fun. Time lapse to follow folks…
Whoever Gottard is his pass is almost spectacular (saving that word for later and also we couldn’t see too much through the mist ). His pass first opened in the 13 century according to Andrew Sykes novel Crossing Europe on a bike called Reggie….great read by the way Andrew if you ever read this.
Having completed this pass in the Motorhome, poor Andrew cycled it!, and as we reached the commit moment for Furkapass (you at the back stop sniggering now!) the gear box jumped into neutral. Right on a roundabout. It took a few minutes but soon we were on our way but I could read June’s face she was a little worried it may happen again. Well relying on Clewley’s luck we continued over the aforesaid pass….I am not saying it again ’cause you’ll only laugh again.
Now Gottard must have been really pee’d off at the discovery of FP as it is truly Stunning. Not knowing where to look next there were lots of ooing and wows. Basically you just zigzag up the up to 2000 meters and then zigzag back down only to do it up one more time to the night’s stop at the top of Grimselpass. When we get back I will upload a gallery of photos for this trip but it make take a while to select those we want…
We were aiming for an Aire at Berghaus near Grimselpass but there is a traffic light system that regulates going up the pass and the return journey. I mistook the red light as a pass blocked so we found another spot for just £7 .
And finally, why is this post entitled “20 miles later”? That was the distance, as the crow flies, between last night’s and tonight’s locations. However, a swift trip to Italy, a hunt for a decent supermarket, a two hour traffic jam and a stop for lunch added up to eight hour driving day……oh to have wings!