There are places that you hear of all your life, places that summon images, feelings, desires……. One of those for us was the Swiss Alps, which is partly why we choose this route and partly because it was a chance to get a taste of a few different counties along the way. We will definitely be back to this part of the world again.
The Gotthard Pass (elevation of 2106 meters) connects the northern German-speaking part of Switzerland with the Italian-speaking part and part of our route towards Milan. It also has a very famous tunnel the Gotthard Road Tunnel which stretches an incredible 17km…………….
It is famous not only for its length but for the accident in the tunnel in October 2001 it was caused by a tyre burst which slewed a truck into the opposite lane crashing into an oncoming truck. The trucks cargo of tyres, caught fire, spreading toxic fumes throughout the tunnel. The extreme heat caused some of the cement facing of the tunnels to explode. Eleven people died………
Overcrowding in the tunnel was considered to be a major factor and there are now strict controls on the amount of traffic allowed in the tunnel at any time. We know we were sitting patiently at a red light for about 30 minutes, wondering what was the cause for the hold up?
We had already passed through a lot of tunnels and will forever associate Switzerland with tunnels, however this one was a shock! 17 kms. boring through the Swiss Alps it felt like a journey to the centre of the earth! I for one was definitely relieved when we saw the welcome circle of daylight approaching!
Video courtesy of nils169 (Youtube)