Oh Italia. There is nowhere we have been that was not amazing and beautiful, and we feel as though we have barely scratched the surface of what is possible. Amidst all of the great wine, food, scenery, art, music, architecture and history, it can be easy to neglect Italy’s neighbors. This is one weekend we are glad to take advantage of the fact that Europe is so compact. We arrived here in Lausanne this afternoon and are happily visiting friends and generally trying to relax and not think about our crazy logistics for the next 2 months.
A road trip through some of the most beautiful scenery took ONLY 6 hours from Vicenza to Lausanne. Here are some of the things you should look out for if you are making a similar journey:
- Traffic is VERY congested around Milan. You can’t do anything about this, so give the wheel to the person in your group who will be the least stressed out by urban autostrada driving, including a no-line-free-for-all that will occur after you’ve paid your toll.
- You will need to purchase a “vignette” and place it on the windshield in the upper left corner of the driver’s side. This is Switzerland’s answer to toll roads. Instead of stopping to pay a toll, you just roll through the would-be toll slowly enough to allow Big Brother to electronically scan your windshield and make sure you’ve bought your vignette for that year. It cost us about 40 Swiss Francs (CHF), which actually is about $40 right now. Therefore, if you plan a trip to Switzerland but want to go back, you may want to go back in the same year, otherwise you’re going to shell out $40-50 (depending on the exchange rate) just for the privilege of driving through Switzerland again!
- You also need to pay a toll to go through the tunnel from the Italian side to the Swiss side, and this can be confusing if it’s your first time going through here, since you would have just paid for the vignette and you will have to pay the toll directly after that. Just plan on surrendering your money for the privilege of driving through Switzerland, and make sure you enjoy the scenery while you do so!
- Pretty much as soon as you get out of the tunnel, the road becomes very curvy. If you get motion sick, make sure you aren’t the driver and don’t use this stretch of road to read or text.
- Don’t be surprised when Swiss drivers follow the traffic signs to a T. If there is road work and signage, or even over-signage, Swiss will slow down. This is in direct contrast to how Italians drive between Vicenza and Soave on the A4 and I didn’t know what to do with myself!
For some, the trip is about the journey to the destination and not necessarily the destination. This can certainly be said about driving through Switzerland, as the mountain views are simply breathtaking. For us, the chance to catch up with dear friends is as great as the journey to reach them.