With a bag full of fruit we walked to the car park at Lake Titisee in Germany. Paid the parking ticket. Walked to the car. And in the car we checked the route to Flims in Switzerland where we booked a hotel. At a camping.
Because we were behind on our schedule, we wisely decided to skip the Klausen Pass from Glarus to Burglen. Despite that ... Rebecca insisted to see Zurich. A short sightseeing tour through the city, she suggested. Alright, I agreed. We determined the route, drove to the boom gate of the car park, put the ticket in the machine ... and ... the boom gate didn't do its thing.
And ... try again.
Aaaaand ... try again.
In my side mirror I saw the parking attendent approaching. I rolled down the window and handed him the ticket, which was carefully inspected til he came to his conclusion. In half German-ish, half English-ish, he explained that the ticket had expired and had to be paid for again. I tried to explain to him that the ticket was still valid within the time for which I paid for. Then, he escorted me to the ticket machine and pointed out the hourly rates to me. Then, I pointed out the arrival and the departure times to him. Then, I tried to explain the concept of time. Seriously ... this conversation took ages.
But ... he didn't understand me or he pretended he didn't understand me. And so, particularly annoyed I paid the parking ticket again, put the ticket in the machine ... and ... the boom gate did its thing. And as soon as the boom gate gave us the freedom to take off with spinning tires, a barrier of tourist busses appeared. With the ability and agility that my old man had while driving across the Amsterdam canal streets, I tried to squeeze the car between the busses. No chance. "Godver-de-godver!" (*)
And ... we waited.
Aaaaand ... we waited.
Finally ... after ages I found a hole between the busses.
Honk, honk, honk.
Powerrrrr ... exclamation mark! And off we went. And when we arrived in Zurich, we hit the tail of the city congestion. The weather was wonderful. The temperature was terrific. The sun was shining. And it turned out to be the yearly gay party. The Gay Parade or The Gay Pride. This meant that most "entries in to" and "exits out of" the city were closed. Thus, we were driving through the city trying to find the fastest way out. No chance. And so again, particulary annoyed, I decided to floor it at a traffic light. This triggered the ESP (*) light flashing in the dashboard ... and while we were driving it was still flashing. A faulty ABS sensor?
(*) The ESP is the Electronic Stability Program. It's a computer system in the car that tries to keep the car on the road in corners by independently braking the front-left, front-right, back-left, back-right tires. Like a cheap-ass knock-off LSD ... Limited Slip Differential.
At another traffic light I decided to stop and start the engine, forcing the ESP to reboot. But the ESP light was still flashing. Thinking about driving on the curvy roads on mountain passes in Switzerland made me a bit anxious. But ... no time to lose.
The tiny engine in the car continued with a growling sound ... and burn fuel. One liter, two liters, three liters. We decided to refuel. Again. We stopped at the greatest gas station ... wait for it ... "in the world"! The Avia gas station in Bergsboden. The scenery was spectacular. Lakes, mountains ... and fuel.
After refuelling I noticed the ESP light stopped flashing. I could only conclude that the computer system suddenly remembered what it was supposed to do ... so we set off. And when we safely arrived in Flims, our Dutch speaking TomTom took us to Camping Flims. A cool camping where we were welcomed by the multi-lingual-manager who showed us our eco-pod-hotel. Basically a small shed with a bed. We settled in and called it a day. (*)
(*) Well ... I'll skip the scene where we had a heated discussion at an Italian restaurant that day. The audacity of the manager "denying" us a "service". Too tired to write about it.
Today's trip was from Flims to Laax to Versam to Bonaduz to Thusis to Splügen to Mesocco ... and back to Flims. And it featured the following passes:
Today's trip: From Flims to Disentis to Andermatt to Wassen to Innertkirchen to Belvedere to Hospental ... and back to Flims. And it featured the following passes:
Today's trip: From Flims to Surava to La Punt Chamues to Zernez to Davos ... and back to Flims. And it featured the following passes:
Today the last day in Switzerland. We were sad we had to leave, although little did we know that Switzerland still had something in store for us.
Oh. My. God.
Before we took off to the Italian lakes and Milan, the chap that managed the camping suggested to walk to Lake Caumasee. A short fifteen minute walk through the forest. And because our eco-pod-hotel carried the same name of that lake and because Flims was famous for three of these lakes, we thought it was the appropriate thing to do. But only for "but-a-moment", because we were on a schedule. But when we approached the entrance, we were speechless.
Oh. My. God.
When we went through the gates, Rebecca got all grumpy and shit because of the expensive entrance fee and the fact that she didn't have her swimming stuff with her. Well ... my underwear looked like speedos if you squinted your eyes. While Rebecca was still busy being grumpy, my underwear went underwater, i.e. with yours truly in it obviously. The "but-a-moment" turned into "but-many-moments". But ... we had to leave. Leave this stunning lake. Leave this stunning land. Switzerland.
Don't ask ...
We decided to skip the Italian lakes due to time and drive straight to Milan. Fast forward to the Italian border. We approached the queue at the border. Rebecca was well prepared with her passport in the front of the car. My passport was in my bag. And my bag was in the back of the car. Pondering ...
Should I go and get it?
While we were slowly approaching the customs check, I still hadn't decided. Still pondering ...
Should I go and get it?
Seriously ... I have a PhD in Procrastination.
Go, go, go ... got it!
While we were approaching the customs officer, I saw the few cars in front of me driving slowly without stopping for the officer. When it was my turn, I was looking for a sign, like a little nod or like a little wave, as a form of approval.
Can I go?
No nod. No wave. No nothing. Except for a glimpse at the registration plate.
Can I go?
Seriously ... this chap also had a PhD in Procrastination. And suddenly ...
Knock, knock, knock.
The chap knocked at the back of the car. I could only conclude that I had to stop, which I wisely decided to do. In my side mirror I saw the customs officer approaching. I rolled down the window and checked his facial features that hadn't changed like ... "at all"! In half Italian-ish, half English-ish, he asked how much money we had. Totally caught off guard I contemplated what he meant. I responded with a slight hesitation and a questionable expression, hoping to have answered his question correctly.
And so again, I was seeking for a sign. No nod. No wave. No nothing. The tension at the scene was beyond bearable. The chap was probably also applying for the Academy of Authority in Audacity ... another PhD. And suddenly ... with the most minimal nod and wave we were allowed to enter Italy. And we took off with spinning tires leaving Switzerland in smoke. (*)
(*) Because my parents are probably reading this blog too, I won't bring up the high speed police car chase and the police helicopter that blew up.
To be continued ...