Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Scenic Route.
The Wood Family has always been big on skiing. I knew that coming to Europe, I would definitely need to check out the Alps so that I could compare it to my favorite place in the Rockies, Copper Mountain. Luckily for me, my friend, Jordan, (a fellow student at both Wisconsin and Florence) has been spending his summers in the French part of the Swiss Alps at a camp since he was nine years old. We decided last semester that we were going to rent a car a drive up there for a ski trip and it finally happened last weekend.
Unfortunately for Jordan, the only cars available to rent in Italy that have the ability to make it through the rugged terrain of the Alps are manual. The only experience I have had with stick shift is from my dear friend, Nicole Applegate, who drove me around in her manual car during the summer of ’04 and I could guarantee that pretty much anytime we drove we would stall and get honked at by the line of cars that would steadily lengthen behind us. I knew I wanted an automatic car when I got my lisense after those entertaining experiences with Nicole so I never got the chance to learn stick. Jordan was therefore stuck driving the entire way which GoogleMaps predicted would take about six and a half hours…funny.
I warned Jordan in advance of my lack of navigational direction and ability to differentiate between my right and left but I don’t think he realized that it was going to lead us on a minor detour before arriving at our final destination in Villars sur Ollon, Switzerland. I believe the quote that came out of his mouth as we missed our exit somewhere around Bologna, Italy was, “I feel like I’m in a horror movie where you know you aren’t supposed to go that way because the bad guy is there but you do it anyway.” On this trip however, instead of a bad guy we got BEAUTIFUL views of Lake Como and most of Switzerland. Yes, most of it. I’ve drawn lines on the map above of our route. The blue one is the route GoogleMaps gave us and the green one is the route we took. Wow. We stopped in some unknown town to take a picture as the city skyline could be seen across an enormous lake at night. The was even a swan just chilling by the dock-so serene.
We grudingly jumped back in the car for a few more hours and after a solid ten hour trek, we arrived completely exhausted to our hotel where Jordan continued to impress me with his language skills. He spoke fluent French to the receptionist while I just stood there and smiled before going to our room to pass out from the exhausting journey. Riding in a car is surprisingly draining but I couldn’t say that to Jordan after he had just driven across a country and a half. We attempted to set alarms for midnight after a quick cat nap to hit the town but ended up just getting a good night’s rest so we could hit the slopes early in the morning. This was definitely a good decision since the skiing was AMAZING! I’ll go into more detail about it in my next post. Bonjour!