And we’re off…

Posted by on 12, Sep 2018 in 2018 - Switzerland and Italy, Switzerland, Tilly the Tandem

And we’re off…

Linda’s knee is now better and the summer holidays are over with the campsites thinning out and it’s time to head off again on Tilly for another short trip. This time the mountains are calling (at least the downhill bits anyway) and we’re off to Switzerland and heading south to the sun in Italy and Venice.

The trip started in the most uninspiring fashion with the taxi to Scipol airport in Amsterdam not turning up at the 9:30 appointment and us finding out it had “touched a car” and would be late. It did turn up at 10 and the driver tried to go faster than the speed of light to make time go backwards so we could arrive for our flight on time. By the time we arrived we needed clean underwear and treatment for shock but we at least had arrived the day before we left and proved the plot of Star Trek First Contact plausible.

Poor Tilly though had suffered in the ride with multiple holes in the box requiring patching up before we handed her over to the oversize baggage team.

The airport was shrouded in a massive thunderstorm resulting in the departures board showing a non stop list of delayed flights and after boarding 30 mins late we then spent the next hour sitting on the plane watching it rain.

The pilot – apparently a close relative of our tax driver – made up 30 minutes of time on the flight and almost did a handbrake turn on to the stand at the end.

Tilly arrived undamaged but the Zurich trolleys are specifically designed to prevent you putting anything large on them by the addition of a canvas belt that runs from the handles to the foot of the trolley, so we had to drag Tilly through the airport, which is far harder than cycling her! As you would expect in these situations the signs to the car rental periodically vanished and you had to back track, go down other corridors until you could find them again.

Our car though was excellent and Tilly fitted in the rear perfectly and we headed off towards the Gothard Pass and the start of our cycle journey to Italy and straight into the Zurich rush hour and traffic moving so slowly we’d have been better off walking!

Once out of the rush hour the scenery was spectacular and beautiful and the appeal of cycling (at least downhill or on the flat) rose dramatically.

Our hotel was right at the top of the pass and was a lonely spot in the cloud when we arrived but the cloud gradually cleared for a pleasant evening in the restaurant over a Rosti and local beer.

Having woken to sunshine we assembled Tilly, test rode her to the top of the pass – which greatly impressed the plethora of hardcore cyclists who had not popped their bike in the back of a car and driven up like us. It did look comical, us in our casual gear and sandals cycling to the top of the pass sign surrounded by racing guys on their bikes in helmets and lycra.

If only we could have explained we hadn’t really cycled all the way up….

Tomorrow it really begins though…

One Comment

  1. What a tale. A good read indeed. Hope the next chapter is more mundane without Hells Angels or The Pope showing up.

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