1971: June 9, Lugano/St Gotthard/Mumpf

Wednesday
Surprise, surprise! A thunderstorm as we awoke, and that horrible ‘in for the day’ look about the rain.  A small river running through the tent did not improve the situation. The day redeemed by superb hot crusty rolls. Had a proper Swiss breakfast by having black cherry jam with them and hot coffee – morale rose considerably. Rain slackened off while we packed the car, thank goodness – had to fold the soaking tent over the car bonnet as ground was so muddy. Lady at the site said it had been raining in Lugano for 4 weeks… She gave the children a little doll each, which was very nice of her. Drove through Lugano town, looking very clean and sparkling in the (momentary) morning sun, the lake itself looked lovely with the mountains sloping steeply down, mostly wooded and dotted with houses.

Climbed steadily up through Andermatt in fine weather (where we saw a dear little red train) to the St Gotthard Pass. Road has been improved and several of the hairpin bends removed, but still pretty spectacular. Ate our lunch on the snow line with a splendid view down the valley. Then through the tunnels to the hospice, shops and some really glacial lakes.

Bought some postcards and took photos, then drove down the pass through bleak rocky scenery, and very narrow valley. Gradual improvement in the countryside and increasing use of German, after the predominantly Italian southern side of the pass. Came along Lake Lucerne, looking very pretty. Men hacking loose rock chunks off the rock face at the side of the road – looked dreadfully dangerous. On through pleasant hilly scenery along Lake Zug and then over to Zurich. And guess what, another thunderstorm. No joke trying to find one’s way through Zurich in a blinding thunderstorm with road signs at knee level and not very clear. However, we got through without getting lost, and headed on towards Basle, having promised the children we would take them to the zoo.

Our desire to put up the tent in this weather was very low, so we made for the site at Mumpf, which, according to the AA book had bungalows to hire. To our great relief this was so, and we had, for £2 for the night a large room with 3 beds, table, chairs and wash basin. With extra air-beds and our cooker etc., it was very adequate. Cooked ourselves a banquet out of tins – lobster chowder, boeuf bourguignon and new potatoes, and kumquats to follow. Children watched fascinated – 3 pairs of eyes (they’d had their tea already).  The camp is T.T. to our surprise – cups of coffee and juice available, and food too, but not booze. Used as a cafe by the village as well as the campers, and the coffee was certainly delicious. The camp is on the banks of the Rhine, very fast flowing and muddy at this point, and very wide too. The railway is not far off – saw much the same trains as we had seen at Lugano, including the Trans Europ Express. Settled in very cosily for the nice, under our nice warm duvets.

200 miles

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