Posts Tagged ‘BMW’

Epic Road Trip – Swiss Alps

Cars.

For this half of the Two Tramps, cars have played a big part of the entire experience while living in Germany.  Before arriving, I went through a dream list of cars I would love to drive while we were here.  The criteria were relatively simple:

  • German (I have a penchant for German cars, having been raised surrounded by Volkswagens and BMW’s)
  • Something not available in the US (let’s face it: Europeans have many, many more choices than we do in the States, and often many better cars from which to choose)
  • Diesel.  Diesel is cheap(er), efficient, and the engines have torque.

Top on my list, then, was the BMW 1-series hatchback.  And lo and behold, with the help of a colleague and fellow 1-series diesel driver, I ended up with a 2007 120d.

BMW 120d.

Now, I surely did not get this car for the color.  Nor did I choose it because I like paying a premium for a car I used only a few times per month.  No, this was the right choice because BMW’s are driver’s cars.

And what better way to experience and enjoy the drive than through the Swiss Alps?

For my side of the family, the Road Trip is a way of life.  1400 miles (2200 km) in a weekend is no big deal.

My better half, though, has not quite come around to this way of thinking.  So, rather than subject her to strenuous speeds and curves, my Dad came for a visit just as Lauren left – and we headed for the alps.

Auf wiedersehen, Lauren!

You must have clearly defined roles on a Road Trip.  Otherwise confusion can set in.  Luckily, with only two participants, the roles are simple:

The Driver:

Russ and the 120d.

The Photographer:

Behind the scenes of the best pictures.

Of course since we’re both Drivers and Photographers, these roles are not set in stone.

The Driver photographing the Photographer. Driving.

And with that, we set out on a semi-soggy day in southern Germany, through cloudy Austria, along Liechtenstein, into Switzerland, and scraping Italy.  All in one day (even after more than a year here, this still impresses me).

Our base of operations was Chur, Switzerland, the country’s oldest city, and the seat of the Romansh-speaking region, though German dominates.  From Chur, we headed for the San Bernardino Pass, and other points.  Time to let the pictures do the talking.

The Pass looks like an intestine, which is directly related to the effect driving this road has on the stomach.

Complete with bells, which could be heard from quite a distance away.

Sittin' on top of the Pass (it was cold!).

Entering the Italian-culture region of Switzerland. Besides road signs, the GPS started calling number-named roads 'tredici' and 'due.'

We did not actually see this happen.

Beautiful, sunny, and warm: Locarno, on Lago Maggiore, where I pushed the German out of my head and tried my best to remember Italian.

Heading for the next pass.

Appropriate.

Temperature dropped to 3 degrees C on top of Oberalppass (back to German-speaking).

I realized, suddenly, that I could no longer read the road signs. I know scuola in Italian, and schule in German. And now I know scola in Romansh.

And so our day ended back in Chur, as Dad kept track, 7.5 hours, 338 km, and 4.87 GB worth of pictures and videos later.

And I promise, Lauren, to take you back, and to stick to the straighter roads. 🙂

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