South via Sud – Day Three

Todays drive was all about the Alps and the Great St Bernard Pass that leads us to Italy. We traveled south with the towering mountains before us, past ugly Swiss industrial areas we wondered why Switzerland was thought of as so idyllic. Only when at the foothills of the Alps, in the small Swiss villages was the beauty of Switzerland apparent.

Any thoughts of the old AlfaSud keeping up with modern autos up the steep twisting roadway over the alps disappeared instantly when we found ourselves glued to the rear bumpers of frightened drivers of big SUVs with brake lights stayed on almost the entire time. Driving a standard shift car is perfect in this region when you are able to choose the suitable gearing but when forced to drive at a speed too slow for 2nd and having to downshift to first (Alfas are not build for this) to climb a switchback is no fun. So we pulled over to admire the scenery and let the timid drivers move on.

Once back on the road driving at proper speed the pass was no problem for the little AlfaSud. Much of the journey seemed to be downhill so only an occasional tap on the breaks was required along with steering.

Arrival in Italy and our stop for the night at Lake Viverone was welcome. Temperatures after the chilly alps had risen quite a bit and a swim in the beautiful hotel pool and walks around the small lake where a welcome change. It’s hard to fathom  how a lush and opulent lake-side hotel with large rooms and air conditioning could only be 73 euros per night – but this is Italy – Switzerland is back over there.

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