Meanwhile, the journey continues here from Germany, where we left Isny in the late morning and headed into Austria on a very small mountain road, crossing German and then Austrian valleys before crossing into Switzerland near Lake Constance. Whilst Switzerland remains separate from the European Union, crossing the borders in this region were still no different to crossing a state border in Australia. Maybe a few police looking half interested and a wave of the hand but otherwise, border control is obviously effected through other methods.
We drove from near the lake, South, up the Rhine Valley, dominated by rocky mountains and alpine valleys.
We detoured into Lichtenstein where we found that things seemed like Switzerland (or Austria or Germany). The castles were quite spectacular and despite the quaint size of the two towns we stopped in, there did seem to be a lot of high end stores.
Once back into Switzerland we tunneled our way South toward the San Bernadino pass, not quite the gateway to Italy but certainly a geographic divide between German and Italian Switzerland. At over 2000 metres the pass had snow on the peaks around it. Whilst this is apparently a great driving road, we were on the faster route that is predominately tunnels and overpasses so all smooth driving for us.
As seems to be the case everyday that we are driving, we arrived into Italy late in the day from Switzerland. We had thought about heading to the Lake Como area but decided to go to another Lake to the West, the direction of travel for us in the morning.
The scenery remained like Switzerland with large mountain ranges and ridges overshadowing our journey, although Italy seemed to have greater haze. It was hotter so possibly this explains it. In fact it was now as we would imagine the Mediterranean climate to be.
Not far into Italy (in this part of Europe the divide between Italy and Switzerland is not obvious) we came across tourist villages alongside Lake Maggiore. It was quite impressive, with some house perched above the roads on cliffs, the only entrance available a single elevator shaft from next to the road, where the owner’s cars were parked in a garage cut into the cliff!
There were lots of fancy cars (not necessarily exotic though as Italy is home to some of the most exotic car manufacturers!), people sailing and water skiing, and all of this along a VERY narrow ribbon of road. Time for a stop.
We didn’t like our chances of getting one nights accommodation but following signs, Julia checked a Hotel right on the waterfront, just to get a feel for prices and availability. Before we knew it we were swimming in the pool, dining on the terrace above the lake and enjoying a great Italian summers evening.