We arrived in Zurich to warm summer temperatures and spent a few hours with relatives before heading on the road for our trip over the Alps to the Tessin, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. It is 215 km from Zurich to Locarno and took us about 2 1/2 hours.Driving from the airport to my aunt’s house I noticed that most of the cars were much smaller than what I was used to from Canada.
There was one particular car that caught my attention. It looked so cute, but was also really tiny. It is called a “Smart” and is a 2 seater city car. The little white car in the picture to the left is a ‘smart’. I have more pictures on my transportation page.
Our route from Zurich, 406 m above sea level, took us in a steady climb to the St. Gotthard along the Zugersee and Urnersee. At one point there were lots of trucks parked along the side of the Autobahn. Later I found out that after the bad accident last year, 2001, in the tunnel with a major fire, trucks were no longer allowed to pass each other. So they had to wait in groups of around 50 trucks until they were allowed to continue. On the other side of the tunnel there were similar line ups.
The tunnel entrance at Göschenen is at 1106 m above sea level The tunnel is 16.9 km long and has 2 lanes. The maximum speed is 80 km and no passing is allowed. I was totally surprised by the picture to the right. I have no control over the speed with my digital camera, but this picture came out like a timelaps one. I guess, it is due to the fact that I took it in a moving car that kept a steady speed. The exit of the tunnel at Airolo is a 1141 m above sea level The tunnel itself climbs for about 8 km and then goes downhill for the rest.
For more information and to see my pictures about going over the St. Gotthard Pass go here.