Billy the Bus's Blog

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Billy Trip 14 - Lake Maggione, Italy to Lungern, Switerland

Route – Lake Maggione, Italy to Lungern, Switzerland
Distance - 214km (2,961km total)

IMG_2295 Tonight, dear reader, I am a man. I ever there was doubt cast about my manhood (heaven forfend) let that doubt now be cast asunder. I am a man because, having arrived at my campsite in Switzerland, I have this evening: gone on a hike, found firewood, chopped it up with an axe, made a fire on the beach, and cooked steak on it for my dinner. Whilst drinking whisky. Oh yes; I am a man.

I am also probably breaking a million Swiss laws or something, I've heard this country is a stickler for properness. Ah well; fuck em. I'm leaving for Germany tomorrow. They're much more understanding. (did I mention the whiskey?)

I was slightly put off whilst eating my steak by the miriad cow bells jangling behind me. I think the cows know. Cows always know, don't they?

Oh and when I saw I 'found' the firewood... I nicked it off someone's woodpile. Ahem.

IMG_2225Seriously, it's beautiful here. Think Heidi and Sound of Music, and that's what this lake whose shore I'm sat on is like. The brazzier is burning to the right of me, and the lake is lapping a few metres from my feet – not that I can tell, because it is pitch black out here. It's everything you wanted Switzerland to be.

IMG_2215I left Italy at about noon. It absolutely pissed it down in the night. This meant two things. One, all my laundry got drenched on the line; not to worry, they had a tumble dryer for 3 EURO. And two, Billy sprung a new leak. Took me ages to work this one out, at 2 in the morning. Basically, because of the way I was parked, the rain water was gathering in the rear gutters, and overflowing, and pouring into the top of the tailgate. On to my head. I tried the Bestival method of blocking the holes with dirty socks, but it was no good. So I went outside (in waterproof trousers and jacket, rarrrr) and stuffed the dirty socks in the tailgate out there instead. Much more effective.

So, I know I need new door rubbers on the tailgate. But I was also able to do some crafty DIY the next morning. I remember my mechanic telling me a while back that rear gutters are meant to have drainage holes, but mine had been bodged by some previous owner. So, I used the dremmel-type tool I brought with me (just call me Sam the Ever Ready) to drill a 4mm hole in the gutter on the back offside corner. Hopefully, if the gutter fills up again, it'll be able to drain itself better. Of course, it may now pour down the van into the tailgate or light cluster, but I'll deal with that another time.

I felt a bit nervous crossing the border, for some reason. A little man opened a barrier for me, and didn't even want to see my passport. I could have been a terrorist! Good job I'm not. I stopped to buy the 'vignette' (motorway tax disc for switzerland) and also to get some money out – apparently swiss francs are quite like US dollars, ie. there's roughly 2 to the pound. This led to my first discovery which is that, actually, stuff is quite cheap here. I was led to believe it was a fairly expensive country. But petrol is about 85p a litre, coca cola is about 75p a bottle, and camping is just £10 a night. So, hrumph to that. Switzerland is much cheaper than Italy, that's for sure.

Drove through some ore of those kick ass tunnels to get here too. And all included in my £20 motorway tax. And it'll last until the end of the year, if I want it to. Ace.

IMG_2296OK, so the fire is dying down, and I am getting a bit chilly, so I better go back to Billy. 'The trick to staying warm is not getting cold in the first place', Freya said last week. So, I better heed her advice. Tata for now! (ahem... manly grrrr)


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