I'm not usually one to write from the road, but due to the current global pandemic, we've changed our travel style a bit, giving us some more "downtime" (doesn't feel that much like it!)
We live in Stuttgart, Germany, and have not traveled out of country since January. This 2 weeks my husband has off may be the only time he gets this year or well into next, so despite everything we looked at the data and the news and decided we could handle a road trip with our 2016 Mini Clubman, bought here in Europe, which I'd recently damaged in our parking garage of all places, so what's another scuff?
Our pre-COVID plan was to spend some time in mainland Greece before a week doing absolutely nothing on our favorite island, Agistri, but flying to a country without a great healthcare system started to seem like a bad idea as early as March and everything followed our fears, our next plan was a road trip to various parts of France, but by June/July that was also looking bad. The one spot on the map that was looking good was Italy, ironically, but we are a little scared of driving in Italy due to friends we know who lived in Italy telling us! But I demanded a beach, so the Italian Riveria seemed to fit the bill.
3 Nights in Hasliberg, Switzerland
2 Nights in Piedmonte, Italy
5 Nights in Camogli, Italy
2 Nights in Cerniobbo, Italy
Long Drive home
So after a list minute salon and nail visit (I'm 40, it requires some work if I'm going to an Italian resort town) we departed yesterday, Sept. 1, around 12:30, with a very smart stop on the US Army base to fill up on cheap gas and buy cheap beer and snacks.
Our drive down the 81 was mostly uneventful, but always slightly harrowing for me, because I hate the no-speed-limit zones. And it was raining on and off, with a real downpour right before we crossed the border. We bought our vignette at a gas station a few km before our crossing and were waved on through, no issue. My phone got a bunch a messages about the virus, but coming from Germany to Switzerland is still entirely copacetic by the rules. In fact, in Switzerland, masking isn't required indoors, unlike Germany, so that is very strange to us.
We'd only been to Basel a handful of times before, and once driven around Lake Constance (not at all worth it on the Swiss side) so driving here was new to us and was very chill until the end when we had to get up towards the Breuning Pass. We were behind a large trailer truck that was frequently in the center of the narrow lanes, and were dealing with aggressive Swiss drivers once we left the truck. We're both fans of California Highway 1 - I mean, I grew up driving the twistiest parts of that road - and these roads are a different beast, as are the drivers. We stopped in Meiringen for groceries (Nigel, the Migros is fine but doesn't sell alcohol, so we still had to stop at the Coop!) before going back up to the pass and down again to the Haslital, specifically Reuti where our apartment is located at Chez Martail.
It's a nice little apartment - rustic, but comfortable - and importantly, just over 100 Euro/night, with views sure of construction but also of amazing peaks and valleys, and a fully outfitted kitchen, which is great in Switzerland regardless of COVID because this trip is reminding me why I avoid this country! It's gorgeous, it has amazing public transit, and I wonder WHO CAN AFFORD IT. Because we sure as hell can't! More Swiss rants and raves to follow.