Arne picked me up at the Avis office in Como the day before around 6 pm. We drove to the B&B La Villa and visited Como after a quick shower and hugging the local cat. In the morning, I have several texts and calls from family, wishing me a happy birth day. Hugging the cat some more (an incredibly soft Scottish fold) is my first present.
After an extensive breakfast on the terrace, I drive us towards our first stop. The weather gets worse and worse while driving north, but we manage to visit the Castelgrande fort before the rain really sets in. It’s a ruin, not very exciting, but it’s very nicely located with views of the surrounding steep mountains and other castles nearby.
We sit out the rain on a covered terrace in the center of town while we have lunch, watching the lightning and listening to the thunder. It sounds very impressive, reverberating from the mountain sides. Arne takes the wheel to drive us to Sasso San Gottardo. There are traffic jams on the highway, it seems that cars have to wait before being allowed to enter the tunnels in small groups, so we take the secondary roads. The wide road up the San Gottardo pass is winding, but it’s pretty busy so our speed is low and I don’t get car sick. Getting out of the car at the top is a shock to the system, as it’s only 2.5° C and foggy. After a false start we manage to find the right parking lot and we disappear into the tunnel system. We’re just in time to catch the last metro up, but we have plenty of time to visit the different rooms and gun stations.
We set of again towards Altdorf while the weather remains bad, but the roads are good and the car is warm so we’re not too bothered. The hotel is overpriced (to our Belgian standards, at least) but the food is very good. When the staff finds out it’s my birth day, they put a little sparkler on top of my dessert, though fortunately there’s no live singing.