Wednesday, 22 September 2010

LAKE CONSTANCE- SWISS PASS-LUGANO

15-16th September 2010 IN THE ORCHARDS

Found a nice little campsite in a village called WAHLWEIS near STOCKACH at the western end of Bodensee but not very close to the lake....there were quite nice views when we walked up above the site through the apple orchards but not actually on the lake. The weather is not exactly brilliant with chilly nights, much like late September in the UK and whilst I would like to stay here and explore, the sunshine of the south is calling very strongly. The site owners are a very nice young couple who run the fruit farm and the site is extraordinarily pleasant......harvesting is going on all around with tractor trains of apples whizzing about all around us........the climate is such that the apples are picked by hand from now until november and mainly go for juice, with lots of small producers all around but surprisingly small numbers of pickers.

17-18th SEPTEMBER 2010 LAKE LUGANO

Time to head south. The cost effective route is through Switzerland in spite of the road tax sticker because the St.Gotthard tunnel is toll free. At the border in KONSTANZ I had hoped we might slip through because we would be through Switzerland in 3 hours but we were pulled over straight away and sent to the cash desk. The daily rate is 3.50 swiss francs but the minimum charge is 25 swiss francs which gives a 7 day permit....another rip off so you pay the 25sf and smile. Ran into heavy rain up to the St. Gotthard which still only has one tunnel open...just as 2 years ago..but the queues on the Italian side going into Switzerland must have been 10-15miles. I love this route because 17km in a tunnel is interesting and it seems that you you going downhill for about 60 miles and can virtually coast all the way down to the Itailian lakes using no fuel at all..........which was fortunate when I discovered that the Italian petrol stations were on strike and I had only put 20 litres in due to the high prices of the swiss diesel..
Lake Lugano is entirely within the swiss borders but the town right at the bottom ,PONTE TRESA ,where we were headed is in Italy and our campsite did not disappoint in being a typical Italian one.........difficult, narrow entry, narrow access roads, small cramped pitches under low trees and extremely iffy electrics but with direct access onto the lake and a view to die for. Fortunatley not too many tourers around so found the largest of the pitches available and ensured that once on we could get off again without difficulty and then had a lovely walk round the bottom of the lake together with our first delicious ice cream. Unfortunately it started to rain heavily in the evening and we had a thunder storm that seemed to last all night. In the morning it was clearer and we walked into the town 10 mins away along the the lakeside walk which turned out to be charming but we had little time to really explore as the heavens opened again as we left the local Carrefour with our weekly shopping and the roads were awash. This continued for the rest of the day, spoiling what should have been a nice stopover.

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