Day 9 – Destination Switzerland 2009

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Day 9: Destination Switzerland

We check-out of our Italian Raffaelo hotel and head to the cars to perform the familiar morning ritual of having a quick ‘once over’ to check for tyre punctures and sadly the very real possibility of vandalism. Thankfully all is again OK so we load up the Audi, key in the Sat Nav co-ordinates, don our shades and get the tunes on before heading off into the unknown….

It isn’t long before we’re cruising alongside Italy’s second largest lake: Laga Di Maggiore.

We pull over to get pictures of the cars over looking the lake.

Shortly after we pass the border from Italy and enter into Switzerland we program into the Sat Nav – The Verzasca dam. Not sounding familiar?

Anybody remember the opening seen of James Bond’s Goldeneye whereby Bond is supposedly running down a massive surface-faced area? Well, that was The Verzasca dam and now we’re here!

For those insane enough to want to do so, a team of trekkers will sell you the bungee jumping experience. Fortunately Sadly for us it was closed on this day as some of our mad lot will have done the jump I’m sure.

Anyway, check this out:

Driving back down Laga Di Maggiore (it borders both Italy and Switzerland) we cannot resist the opportunity to take a dip into the glacier fed lake. To say it was cold was a mighty understatement believe me. That little chipolata pointing out of Kenner’s shorts confirm this 

The Sun’s rays dry us in minutes and therefore we continue to drive for a while not before Kennedy captures a truly heavenly snap of the lake. In fact, the three pictures to follow turn out to be our favourite of the entire trip.

We now begin our gradual ascent up the mountains to ultimately crossover The Simplon Pass a couple of thousand feet high from sea level.

Now, in addition to hopefully admiring these pics, you’ll note the extreme differences in conditions. There was genuinely a few hours between all the three pictures.

We have a rough idea of where we wish to reach and that is somewhere along the lakes of either Brienz or Thun. As the day slowly begins to turn into night and we’re still in mountain territory we know we’ve gotta get a move on to find somewhere to stay and enjoy the rest of the small amount of evening time we have left as we’ve been on the move all day!

We reach The Lotschberg tunnel. An alpine train that passes through the alps…but with your car attached! The train terminates after 15 minutes or so so we continue to drive around to where the lakes are. We settle in Interlaken that literally means ‘between the lakes’. We find a hostel of some sort for accommodation before venturing out for food, as we haven’t eaten for most of the day.

We stumble upon a Pizzeria who initially refuse us food due to how late it is (9pm maybe) but the waiter is eventually given the green light for a final order, ours of course. Thank the Lord as we were starvin’ Marvin.

Ok, what happens next defies belief and IMO probably similar odds to winning the lottery, more than once…?

The guy (the chef) that cooked our food and gave the final OK from deep inside his kitchen turned out to be my Uncle Roberto; my brother’s Godfather. We had stumbled by accident into his now hometown and into the very restaurant where he worked and was working that evening, oh and cooked our food.

Don’t believe me? I’m not surprised. Even the guys to this day kinda secretly still think it was set-up. It really wasn’t.

After hugs and kisses (family style!) and minutes of disbelief that this has happened, he takes us to a local Hooters bar where we sink several jars each before stumbling back to our hostel-like accommodation. Guys, remember the Zebra? 

For me today had now become easily the most amazing day of the trip so far and a fantastic end to the trip.
Tomorrow will be a blast through Germany with a couple of stop-offs before heading back to Calais for an early evening channel-tunnel crossing.

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