Milan, Italy

  • Date
  • 28 October 1999
  • Lodging
  • Hotel Duca di Milano
  • Distance
  • 828 KM
  • Total
  • 44335 KM

Early morning nip in the air with a light fog over Stuttgart. Initially a flat drive filled with acres of magnificent trees with red, purple and burnt orange leaves tossing in the breeze, but now winding roads sprinkled with farms and grapevines on either side. On the drive toward Singen, we selected the wrong border crossing on our Alpine Navigation System ending up at Tenden via secondary roads. Thank goodness for our mistake, since we toured stunning countryside – a tiny, hazy mountain covered with the greenest grass, tall Evergreens and colored seasonal trees, lettuce crops and tilled acres of rich dirt. Gingerbread houses were scattered among simple stucco ones and “Beware of reindeer” signs made me chuckle.

Switzerland’s road construction forced four-lane traffic into two. When the highway became six lanes, our speed increased to 100 km/hr. Big trucks took over the right inner lane, so we drove down the middle. In a split-second, cars appeared in the rear view mirror or beside us. The sun made me squint and seconds passed when I could barely see the highway. We passed through tunnels as we entered the Alps, covered with greenish brown trees and stone. Around the lakes, little communities sprouted up and streams ran down the mountains. Each home had colorful flowers perched outside in window boxes.

Inside the many tunnels we passed, I noticed mounted SOS phones every 50 meters and remembered driving though the Chinese dessert, where in 100 kilometers we did not see a phone, person or animal. Out of another tunnel, the temperature climbed 10 degrees. Italy, here we come! In view of one eye was a beautiful church topped with the tallest, thinnest red steeple, and the other eye spotted clothes dangling on lines beside homes.

I feel free with superb roads underneath, spectacular scenery surrounding me, as I drive a great machine handling perfectly, with the top down and sun overhead. Them, boom, tranquility left as a police car passed. Immediately, dread set over me, but the officers offered me two thumbs up and kept driving. I smile tossing my arm out the window waving to Italy.