Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend trip to Lugano

The girls and I (remember, Bart had to work :( ) headed off to Lugano Friday afternoon. As we headed toward the Gotthard, I was reminded how much I love driving around this country - it is so beautiful! As you approach the Gotthard tunnel (17 km long.......) there is the little orange mechanical man waving at you and reminding you to slow down. The speed limit is 80 km/hr, you are to maintain a good distance between yourself and the other car (150 m if it's a Semi/Lorry/Cargo) and it is only one lane for each direction of traffic. As I've noted in previous posts, not my favorite but there was no traffic and it is the shortest distance to Ticino.
The other side. All the poor souls waiting to get into the tunnel. The mountain passes are closed already so the only routes are through the tunnels. Remember this scene. Unfortunately, we will revisit it.
We arrived safely and quickly to Rachel's best friends house and spent Fri. evening to Sun. afternoon enjoying one another's company. They live in a small village in the hills above the main city of Lugano. The view from their patio:
Saturday afternoon was beautiful and they (kids) convinced us we MUST go on the paddleboats. So we did. The girls were on a boat to themselves while M and I took her 9 year old son F with us. He insisted on driving. We went in a lot of circles and squiggly lines on the water - the girls however did pretty good and managed to maintain their distance from us. We're pretty sure that was their plan anyway.
Saturday night on our way home from the Lake, we ran into another classmate of Rachel's and friends of our hosts. We had experienced phone difficulties earlier in the day so had given up meeting them - it's a small world and it happened anyway. So we had a great time at a pizzeria and the kids were all VERY happy to be together.
This is the pretty, old, one-lane street our hosts live on:
After a lunch of pasta, potato/octopus salad (it was really good!) and birthday cake (Happy Birthday Kendra!!!) after noon on Sunday, we headed home.
It was beautiful:
Then we sat. Crawled. Got bumped from behind (we are all fine - so were 'they'). Exchanged information. Went to the restroom/got snacks. Crawled some more. A 2 1/2 hour journey took 5 hours. The extra 2 1/2 hours was spent on approximately 20 km of road. About 16 miles. I alternated between wishing Bart was with me and being thankful he wasn't. Sitting still in traffic is not his strong suit. Once we got through the Gotthard, we had no traffic. Just darkness, rain and hail.
The rain and hail just confirmed that my thoughts of "I should have gone via the San Bernardino tunnel" would have landed us in just as much difficulty. That road is much higher and we don't have our winter tires on yet. :(
I was never so happy to be home. And feeling bad because we had other plans for Kendra's Birthday evening.
What happened instead was: In a span of 1 1/2 hrs I made dinner, a cake, we ate, opened presents, girls showered, cleaned up kitchen, birthday talks with grandparents, read and got kids in bed! It was great to get something done after spending so much time in the car.
So today is a recovery day and making it fun for Kendra who did NOT enjoy yesterday afternoon at all. I understand.

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