Travel Suisse: Pants-wetting passes and Martigny

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Traveling home from a vacation isn’t always the most fun part of the trip. Back to reality. Although I have to say leaving on a Friday was a special kind of awesome. We had a whole weekend of relaxation at our home to look forward too, rather than a panicked spree of activity getting ready for the work week.

We were sad to leave Lugano, but we decided to make our own fun and head directly through the Swiss Alps to Lake Geneva. This route is the most direct as the crow flies, but takes the longest because: the Alps. We wanted to see some new scenery, though, so about an hour into the road trip we got off of the beaten track that follows a series of tunnels up to Luzern (the way we came) and instead took the path OVER the mountains, at Gotthard Pass. This is what the road looks like.

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The pass has some jaw-dropping turns as it climbs the mountains, such as this.

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Z, of course, was loving it. I, however, am a nervous driver (passenger) as it is, so I wasn’t loving it entirely. I’m more likely to get dizzy and shut my eyes (not recommended while driving). But it is worth it for the spectacular vistas. What a way to see the beauty of Switzerland. Still don’t quite believe I live here.
Despite it being a beautiful day, it was cold up in the peaks of the mountains as we passed through. Snow still clung to the rocks and I suspect that it never really leaves, even in the warmest summer. The landscape was eerie, almost like a moonscape.

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Or some kind of arctic outpost. We were so high up we were literally passing through the clouds. The amazing thing is – people still live up there. We passed by some buildings, at least one post office and even villages. I can’t even imagine what the conditions are like in January, if it’s like this on a sunny day in June.

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That is a cloud you usually see in the sky – crazy!

After this pass we veered west. My gps map was telling me to go towards Furka Pass, but the route looked weird. It was all squiggly, like you would expect for a mountain road, then all of a sudden there is a long smooth road. “I think we’re coming to a tunnel,” I said to Zach. But as we got closer, the map gave me an image of a boat. “I am so effing confused,” I said. “Pretty sure there’s no underground rivers up here.”

“A ferry?” my smart husband suggested. And indeed, it is a ferry, but a train ferry. We could take it to go through the mountains, or risk driving over the Furka Pass. I look up Furka Pass on google, where the first entries are “most dangerous roads in the world.”
“We’ll take the ferry,” I said. And it was pretty cool. I wasn’t aware you could take train ferries, although I suppose that’s exactly what you take in the Chunnel, so I’m kinda behind the times. If nothing else, X loved being on the train, although he got a little scared in the dark (no need for lights in a tunnel where you’re on the only track)! None of my photos have apparently made it from that little trek, but here’s a video of our under the mountain train experience.

Once we were on the road again, Z confidently told me we’d drive the pass next time. Okay …

We ended our day by passing through Martigny for lunch/dinner, it was probably about three in the afternoon. We stumbled onto an international festival being set up in a square. There were all kinds of booths set up displaying cultures from around the world. Sadly, most weren’t open yet, but we did manage to score some yummy Pakistani food.

I hadn’t been to Martigny before, and it was on my “too visit” list, largely due to the great art museum there. But we were a little underwhelmed by the whole place. I think it had more to do with the fact that we’d just been to Luzern and Como, some world-class destinations, that made Martigny pale a little in comparison. I’m not as stoked to visit any more. I still will if there’s a good exhibit showing, but that would be the only reason. The place actually but E to sleep.

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This is part of my “Elodie enjoys” series. It cracks me up that she’s sleeping through some of the most amazing sites in the world. Of course, I’m happy she’s sleeping, but still. I used to do this with X, but the places we went to were a little more tame: X enjoys … the Calgary Zoo before it was destroyed by a flood. X enjoys … staying in once again during a Calgary blizzard. You get the drift.

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