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TDAF2016 – Day8: TIP in Milano & snow

Welcome to the 8th day of TDAF2016, TW560‘s yearly trip to somewhere outside of Switzerland. Currently, our total cost for energy still is at €0. Last year’s trip totaled at €2.5 for 2900km 🙂

I start my day by opening the tall windows of my room, just to be greeted by…

Uh-oh, another brilliant day...what will I tell my family and friends back in rainy Switzerland?

Uh-oh, another brilliant day…what will I tell my family and friends back in rainy Switzerland?


 
…yet again. My family and friends have sent me grey and rainy pictures for the last week. I’m getting increasingly reluctant to send back anything pertaining to weather. 🙂

We leave our place to have some Italian-style breakfast somewhere at the main square.

Leaving our place for the night

Leaving our place for the night


 
Unlike yesterday, the street leading towards the main square is blocked by official looking signage and barriers.

Unwilling to leave TW560 with all our baggage on its own and walk to the town centre and not wanting to settle for less than the Italian bar we saw yesterday evening, we simply ignore this minor annoyance and drive around the barriers and continue towards our bar.

Same town centre, re-purposed

Same town centre, re-purposed


 
The town centre does indeed look somewhat different today – no parking spaces. Every conceivable square inch is occupied by a stall.

A local police officer approached us and was a) looking quizzically and b) smiling!

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Completely unlike Switzerland, where in such a case you would definitely be fined and face the possibility of having your vehicle confiscated (and in my case, not so long ago, run the risk of potentially being deported. I’m not joking – thankfully, this popular vote to deport foreigners for minor offences was voted down by the general Swiss population on February 28, 2016. Thank you, moderate Switzerland!)
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He immediately started chatting with us about our vehicle, what brings us to this small town and if we were lost. Telling him that we wanted to get to the bar on the square and not wanting to leave our TWIKE behind left him nodding in agreement.

Hope I won't have to bail him out of an Italian prison :)

Hope I won’t have to bail him out of an Italian prison 🙂


 
Our breakfast was very tasty and with us ready to face the day, we start today’s trip.

Driving out of Voghera, the exceptionally clear weather lets us see the hills we crossed yesterday.

Bye bye hills

Bye bye hills


 
We have about 100 km of completely flat road ahead until we reach the Alps again – we didn’t like this part too much two years ago, when we crossed the pianura from east to west. Let’s see if it’s any different this time…

La pianura: Flat, flat, flat

La pianura: Flat, flat, flat


 
Nope, it’s only marginally better because of the sunny weather we have this time.

At least some variety...

At least some variety…


 
This is why I won’t write anything more about this part 🙂

Eventually, we reach the outskirts of Milano. We don’t like the roads in the town centre: Pavements made up of big cobblestone.

Since we both know Milano very well, we decided to drive to the town centre and just take a quick break from driving … in style.

Central Milano

Central Milano


 
Parking can be a problem in central Milan … if you own a car. With a TWIKE, things are much less complicated; see for yourself.

Parking with a TWIKE is just a question of interpretation. 😉

A TWIKE is a 'TWIN'-bike, right? This is why this must be our parking spot!

A TWIKE is a ‘TWIN’-bike, right? This is why this must be our parking spot!


 
From here, everything is just a few steps away, the cathedral that took over 600 years to complete and, of course, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Milan, as one of the world’s center for fashion, was in true style and besides thousands of tourists in the Galleria had part of it being used for a fashion shoot.

World famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

World famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II


 
After having a very tasty coffee and wandering around the main square and the Galleria, I thought that this would be a fitting place for another TIP (TWIKE in an Interesting Place) picture

We were going to stage our own fashion shoot of sorts: TW560 styling in Milan.

Driving into the Galleria was no problem at all. No-one stopped us and everyone just looked interested and amused. I took the lead and with my black backpack (complete with Exclusive Networks logo) and SLR-camera started directing the scene by both placing people into the scene and shooing away the ones who were blocking the view.

I’m quite pleased with the result.

Milano, best viewed from a TWIKE :)

Milano, best viewed from a TWIKE 🙂


 
Just to give you an idea how this looked like from afar:

We did our best to shoo away the people for this picture

We did our best to shoo away the people for this picture


 
I captured our departure on film – I’m always amazed how well the TWIKE’s design works with environments like this one!

Our next destination after this fun is another well-known place: Gorgonzola.

One of my favourite cheeses - they could do better on self-marketing, though

One of my favourite cheeses – they could do better on self-marketing, though


 
I was expecting some kind of touristy marketing of this world-famous cheese and some tasting opps or the like.

Entering Gorgonzola, we found…nothing. No reference to the cheese. Googling would have pointed us into the direction of various production sites outside town. Slightly underwhelmed, we continued our trip towards the alps and more interesting roads.

Finally, hills!

Finally, hills!


 
The small road I had chosen was very steep, but fun. It took us from 120m to 1150 within just 10km.

Today's fun :)

Today’s fun 🙂

La Pianura - we won't be missing you.

La Pianura – we won’t be missing you.


 
After saying good-bye to the Pianura, we drive down to the next valley: Where the San Pellegrino water comes from.

Everyone knows San Pellegrino mineral water. Even when I was living in Asia, we were able to get San Pellegrino at our local supermarket (@4$ a bottle) and I must say it beats most commercial mineral waters available, but not the water coming from the taps at home in Switzeland which comes directly from a source up the hill I live, a mere 800m away.

Being hyped as the Italian drinking experience I was interested in seeing the village itself, known for its bathing culture and beautiful surroundings.

What we found was somewhat underwhelming. Indeed, there were many signs for former grandness but they were all permanently closed and decaying.

Grand Hotel San Pellegrino - had better days

Grand Hotel San Pellegrino – had better days


 
I had found us a very nice hotel for the night in a place called Aprica – Aprica was two passes away from where we were at the moment and at the current battery SOC we wouldn’t be able to make it.

No problem – with our vast experience sourcing plugs for an EV anywhere and everywhere, the energy necessary for a quick charge was found within 10 minutes of our decision to charge.

Full choice!

Full choice!


 
Gimme those electrons!

Gimme those electrons!


 
Half an hour later we’re ready for our second pass of the day: Passo san Marco.

No sun on passo san marco

No sun on passo san marco


 
The pass itself was a very nice road snaking its way up the mountain. As we were getting further up, we drove under a grey and menacing-looking mushroom-shaped dark grey cloud.

It’s difficult to describe the scenery since there was bright sunlight everywhere except under this cloud.

Mean cloud cover

Mean cloud cover


 
The bright patch in the photo below is too bright for the camera to capture, since it’s very bright sunlight filtering in. Trust me when I say that it was a breathtaking view!

Passo di San Marco - unreal scenes of beauty

Passo di San Marco – unreal scenes of beauty


 
For the last few km we drove right into the cloud, complete with low visibility, lightning flashes, thunder, wind and SNOW!

Our arrival at the summit was a very low-key affair – just us.

Didn't make it on our list by 8 metres!

Didn’t make it on our list by 8 metres!


 
Within a few minutes, the road was covered in snow and got very slippery as a result. This slowed us down considerably as our breaking tests saw us sliding along a few metres when breaking hard!

Our special present on san marco

Our special present on san marco


 
Tracks like these... Only with a TWIKE :)

Tracks like these… Only with a TWIKE 🙂


 
After descending to about 1700m, mercifully, the snowing stopped and within another few km we were back to blue skies. What a freak weather event!

Sky back to normal after being 'confused' for about 3 hours :)

Sky back to normal after being ‘confused’ for about 3 hours 🙂


 
Aprica is a small alpine resort at about 1100m. Our quaint little hotel is in a chalet and the staff welcomes us with a free garage and electricity offer for the night.

Since the battery is at 2% SOC, this will be our first ‘full’ charge for this trip. I was surprised to see that the charge prediction was at a full 9:30h @ 9A!

9:30h charge for the night

9:30h charge for the night


 
Happy and tired, JC and I have some food at one of the only restaurants open in Aprica that evening. Some series via VPN for me and a football match for JC later, we both went to sleep rather early, ready for our last day of this year’s TDAF2016.

TDAF2016 - Day 8 GPS track

TDAF2016 – Day 8 GPS track

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