Monday, September 26, 2011

MONDAY 19th SEPTEMBER 2011 (San Bernadino Pass)

It was great sleeping at Elios' knowing that it poured rain most of the night. We could hear it on the terracotta roof. We spent part of the morning with Elios who is one of Mandello's well-known characters. He used to regularly sail his traditional boat on the lake until recently when a storm flooded the boat and the bow broke. It now lies at the bottom of Lago di Como and all he has left is the broken bow and this model that he built a number of years ago.

From Elios' upstairs area we had the best views of the narrow laneways below, dating back some 700 years, and the surrounding mountains which are always present, no matter in which direction you look.

It was nice to see the pigeons flutter down to the narrow pathway in the garden for their breakfast of soaked bread.

I went for a wonder through the campground and was surprised to see the northern mountains covered in snow. The SPLUGA Pass we crossed a couple of days ago is now un-passable.

All but the last few campers had disappeared and a few torn and battered tents had been left behind. A lot of debris had fallen from the trees. Thankfully we didn't have to camp last night.

We met with John, Sed & Olga at the foreshore for an hour before we all left in our different directions. John was heading east to Basano; Sed & Olga were staying another day before heading back to France and we needed to drive back 'home' to work out what to do with our broken bike! We'd forgotten about our woes for a few days which is exactly what we needed.

All set to go we decided to revisit the factory one more time but found it closed till 3.00pm. Again the time had escaped our notice and it was afternoon siesta time. Everything closes from lunchtime for 2-3 hours.

The town square was deserted which was a total contrast to how it had been the last 3-4 days.

We bid our farewells to Carlo GUZZI and we were off.

We did manage to get to the supermarket before we left Mandello to get some bananas to eat on our way. We are astounded at the excellent quality of the wine and as you can see in this picture, not overly expensive. We wished we could buy a few hundred dozen bottles to take home...!!!

We had put off leaving for as long as possible but the time came and we had to make miles.

We drove through Como to the Swiss border and then over the SAN BERNADINO PASS.

Being Switzerland it was of course, picture perfect. The higher we climbed the thicker the snow got and at times, very wet.

This was the one good thing about having a broken motorcycle...we were warm and snug in our hire car.

We couldn't help being like two little kids gawking at the snow around us.

We found a car-parking area, pulled in and 'played' in the snow. It was cold and wet but that didn't make any difference to us. We just enjoyed being in the Swiss Alps in the snow.

We continued on our drive and once we got back to the little town of SPLUGEN we'd completed a full circle. As we descended the snow disappeared. We stayed on the motorway until we got to the Austrian border where we took the back roads to the German border. We didn't fancy paying the toll for the 10-15 kilometers of Austria we had to drive through.

It was easy to tell we were back in Germany as the roads widened to allow for the increase in speed. There seems to be no speed limit on the autobahns!

We came across this interesting roadside cafe where we stopped for refreshments and a toilet break. Of all the roadside houses on the autobahn systems we found probably the best one. The toilets alone were a work of art and worth the visit.

The whole place was brightly coloured and covered in jagged ceramic tiles. It looked fabulous.

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