It’s October already, and we’re just sitting here wondering what the hell, September? There was no need to sprint! Jogging would’ve been just as fine! Or walking! Or crawling. Or coming into a complete standstill. Or whatever. You know, just don’t go like whoosh. You’re four complete weeks, act like it. Psh. Pah. Bah.
Ahem. Anyway, it’s been a whole month since August ended and the Great New European Roadtrip came to an end. Oh, yes, heads up: We’ll be referring to our August vacation as the Great New European Roadtrip from now on. It makes it sound much more official, don’t you think? GNER for short. Except the acronym sounds like a disease so… we’ll just stick to the Great New European Roadtrip.
Where were we? Oh, yes, August’s vacation! If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you probably know a lot already, but here’s a little history we haven’t mentioned within our photo spam: We are no strangers to roadtrips. In Europe particularly. For as long as we could remember, a lot of our summers were spent cruising in a van in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland’s many cities and towns. We’d normally start in Paris and move from there. We broke the tradition a few years back with a stationary trip to Paris alone, then another to London, and we were spoilt with the option to unpack our clothes (with hangers! in a CLOSET! with our own individual bags!), but then the itch to drift around got a little too strong this year, and we started
practicing fitting all our clothes in one tiny suitcase planning a route
But we decided to do things a little differently this year. Instead of visiting the same haunts we always passed by, we decided we wanted to visit completely different countries that weren’t frequented by khaleejis. And boy, was that a good decision. But don’t take our words for it (quite literally). We’ll just show you.
To begin with, our trip started off with a flight to Milano. It was the closest airplane to the beginning of our itinerary.
Fun fact: Milano’s airport has a pretty neat mini art gallery down by the car rental parking lot. And the exhibitions change frequently, it wasn’t the same one we saw back in October.
Now, this tip is going to be a very obvious tidbit but, do make sure you’ve rented the car you need in advance. You’d be surprised at how many people neglect it, assuming they’ll show up and find what they’ll need. No. Nope. Bad bad way to start a cartrip, trust us. And reserving a car won’t cost you a thing, should you change your itinerary simply delete your booking (make sure it’s a flexible booking). Also mention the countries you’ll be visiting to ensure the car will have the proper insurance coverage. We also recommend you rent out a GPS system, unless you’re frequent cartrippers (hah) and have your own. We always rent a Viano because they’re wide, take a good amount of luggage, and is totally comfortable, especially when you have fidgety kids.
And then off we went to first city on our list: Lugano!
You know how every hotel has a restaurant? Well, when we got into town, we discovered the hotel we booked was in a restaurant. So it was a restaurant with a hotel, instead of the other way around! Which, if you know us, was a perfectly enjoyable piece of information. Other than the fact there was food every time we stepped in to get to our rooms, Hotel Gabbani was situated in a very good place, and it was very clean. Mind you, it’s a very small place, more a boutique hotel or bed and breakfast than anything
It was raining buckets, so we opted to take a short stroll just to stretch out our legs.
There’s something eerily beautiful about a lakeside town being drenched in rain.
And then the downpour got a little too intense so we sheltered in a cafe.
The nice thing about Lugano is that it is, for all intents and purposes, an Italian city that just happens to be under swiss rule. The language and food is all undeniably Italian, and the overall feel of the town kind of combines the best of Italy and Switzerland. It’s worth a day or two visit.
But in all honesty, we weren’t in Lugano for Lugano. We were here for our next stop: Andermatt! Into the car we piled, with a quick stop to pick up lunch.
Dunno why we went for doner kebab first day, but we did. We had found the restaurant through tripadvisor, which we must stress is a horrible place to find restaurants unless you have no. other. source.
In all honesty, it wasn’t bad, but if you were to go to this place, tell them to lay off the red madri pink sauce. It had the consistency and flavor of mayo-ketchup, if anyone remembers that stuff, and it kind of dampened the overall taste.
And then we hit the road. Andermatt is an hour away from Lugano, so the plan was to visit and come back for dinner in our hotel.
Judging from that beautiful clear stretch of freeway, it was smooth sailing from there, right? Right? RIGHT?
Somehow everybody else on the entire continent had the same idea as ours and thirty minutes in we were stuck in the most stupendous traffic jam.
It got bad enough that we started to worry whether we would make it back before dawn.
But then, thankfully, thankfully, the traffic let up. After three and a half hours. And we all breathed a sigh of relief. Mostly because we hadn’t gotten enough ovomaltine chocolate bars (best. thing. on the face. of this planet) and we were worried we’d have to share our loot with the rest of the family.
The nice thing about Andermatt (and the reason we were there, because the rest of the town is rather boring tbh) is that there are easily accessible water springs almost everywhere. We parked by the first one we found.
Kindly view the above picture with the circle of life song, a la Simba’s birth and Rafiki’s ritual.
Should you want to do this, don’t forget to get your own water containers with you. Note: the water should be drunk within two to three days, it ‘spoils’ afterwards.
Then it was a quick food stop and a stroll through the very small village.
Toutoune is a modern swiss arabic fusion restaurant owned by an Palestinian in Andermatt, and it’s pretty good.
And then it was back to Lugano for the night.
And that was it for our first day! It was a pretty good one thanks to the rain. And it felt like we’d been traveling for a week already, what with visiting another city and the traffic. Next up, Milano!
love, happiness, and chocolate frogs,