Status Update:

Current location: Bochum / Germany

50 countries, 1226 days, trip mileage: 124200 km

17 May 2008

Germany to Switzerland


I spent a good 10 days in Germany at my parent’s place. It’s the last time we were going to see each other for a fair while, and it was great to see them again. It’s the longest time I’ve spent with my parents since I moved to England – most visits in the past few years were only very brief, due to holiday constraints.

Weather was absolutely beautiful, with not a single cloud on the sky & lots of time spent in my parents’ allotment nearby their apartment. I also checked another few trip-preparation bits, including bank accounts, shipping off-road rear tires to Iran, and the Iranian Visa (which proved to be an absolutely nerve-wrecking nightmare – though I got there in the end).

Day 12 of the trip, but only day 2 on the bike, I set off from Bochum around mid-day on the 15th of May & arrived early evening near Stuttgart.

Stuttgart is what I’ve referred to as my home-town over the past few years – just so I wouldn’t have to explain the exact geography every time someone asks me where I’m from. (Strictly speaking, my “home village” Brettach is some 70km away from Stuttgart). I stayed the night with a friend of mine. Last year we had gone for two small trips in the black forest. This year we wanted to go for a rideout in Switzerland or Austria.

But first, I had to sort out some further paperwork at the ADAC headquarters in Munich – some 150 miles away: the Carnet de Passage for the motorcycle. (For further travellers' information on the carnet, please see the Carnet-posting on this blog).

From Munich, I backtracked to Zurich and Bern in order to visit an ex-housemate of mine whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Although I had had a very long day on the bike (including torrential rain between Zurich and Bern) and he had to work the next day, we kept on chatting until long after midnight.

The next day my friend from Stuttgart was supposed to meet me near the Swiss Alps, but unfortunately the weather had us change our plans. The ride-out we had planned wouldn’t have been of much fun anyway: like I had feared the day before when I was caught in the rain near Bern, pretty much all the passes in Switzerland were closed due to snow.

Near St Gotthard Tunnel.jpg

So the only way out of Switzerland was to get on to the motorways & through the Gotthard Tunnel into Italy. By then I’d had enough of motorways anyway – but filtering through the queue up before the Gotthard Tunnel made things even worse. (Still better than being stuck in a traffic jam for hours though…)