welcome to switzerland 


village in tessin 

bike in switzerland 
Date: 09/12/2004
Title: almost home
Location: sala capriasca, switzerland (578 m)
Text: 58 746 kilometres on the road

the motorbike sounded great this morning and seemed eager to get on the road. i think it liked italy.

i had prepared myself for a long hard day with over 500 kilometres to drive. i have done such distances several times before and i remembered them not as difficult but simply as tiring and boring.

once on the road, however, i realized that highways really work. at a constant speed of roughly 120 km/h i reached bologna surprisingly early. the roads were fantastic two- or three-lane highways and i soon stopped to look out for potholes or patches of oil. but i also saw that such roads are necessary in order to satisfy the enormous amount of traffic in europe.

after bologna an overcast sky threatened with rain but it was not until reaching milan that it started to drizzle. this was in the early afternoon and i no longer about rain because i was almost in switzerland.

most of the italian landscape was rather uninspiring, flat land, dotted with the occasional red-brick farm houses and small villages. despite its obvious fertility the countryside looked sad and grey in the constant fog that reduced the sun to a pale timid disk in the sky.

half an hour after milan, however, i entered a little tunnel which led right into paradise. it expelled me into a green valley that descended steeply into a deep blue lake. it was flanked between sets of smooth rolling mountains which disappeared in layers of fading grey toward to horizon. the sky was bright and the sun brought to light to colors of this magnificent landscape. i was in switzerland.

it's the beauty of the tessin, this southern part of switzerland, which had drawn my late grandfather here in the sixties where he had lived until he died a couple of years ago. driving up the narrow little roads that led to the village where he had lived a nostalgic feeling came over me. so many memories were attached to the view and the scents of these mountains and i felt as if wandering in a dream.

i spent the night in the house of my late grandfather's partner. she was not in but she had left me a message welcoming me back to switzerland and telling me that i should make myself at home.

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