The plan was to spend two days travelling through Switzerland and taking in the scenery. I had driven through the country once on the way to a trade show in Bologna as crazy as that sounds but most of the journey seemed to be going through tunnels and missing out on the scenery.
This time, crossing the border near Como, I set the Google Maps on my phone to stay off all toll roads and motorways. As well as the desire to see the countryside the other motive was not to buy the gizmo you have to have on your dash to enable you to travel on the Swiss motorway network at a cost of about £ 40.
At first the drive is scenic, but not that spectacular. Once LUGANO has been passed the mountains start to come into view. The plan was to head for the lakeside town of Brienz for 2 nights, but that plan came unstuck. Because we were not on the motorways going through the mountains we were on normal roads going OVER the mountains. The first pass was the spectacular St GOTTARD PASS, at 6,909ft. Time spent driving up it and stopping to take pictures slowed progress.
Due to a slight navigational error we ended up heading up the even higher GRIMSEL PASS that same day. At 7,099ft it is almost twice the height of Ben Nevis, the UKs highest mountain and thanks to the 3ltr Renault Engine, the van took it in its stride! There is an Aire for motorhomes at the summit of the Grimsell Pass and so that’s where the first night in Switzerland was spent. As you can see from these photographs it was an amazing place to spend the night. Cool in more ways than one!
The next morning we set off down the Pass heading for BRIENZ passing over more mountain passes and chocolate box villages. Lovely drive. Brienz is everything you would expect of a large Swiss village. On a lake. Wooden houses. Railway line. Colourful flowers everywhere. The campsite on the lake was almost full and maybe the most expensive in Europe! We needed to service the van so needs must. In fairness the toilet block was state of the art and probably the best I’ve ever seen.