Image

Fondue in Malans – a two-day trip, take 2

What I like about driving an extremely rare vehicle is the close-knit community it creates. Since there isn’t a wide network of commercially motivated help available, it’s important to know other drivers one can reach out to in case of questions or problems…or just to share good memories!

The TWIKEklub traditionally organizes 4 events during winter (which has, thanks to global warming, been bringing us less snow every year for the past 10 years). Cold weather is ideal for traditional Swiss cheese-based dishes such as Fondue and Raclette. JC and I take part at most of the events – last year, for the first time, JC and I drove to the canton of Graubünden to be part of the Malans Fondue-event. It was a brilliant 2-day trip.

As 2016’s Malans event was announced, we immediately registered and booked our BnB, looking forward to a beautiful trip and having good cheese with some fellow TWIKE pilots.

Since both JC and I like discovering new roads, some planning went into the both days’ trip: By now we both know most of the roads, big and small, that can take us to Malans!

160319 day1

160319 day1


 
We started bright and early – and as last year – we opted to take TW231 instead of TW560. I drive to JC’s and park TW560. Thankfully, TW231 has its own private plug!

Bye-bye TW560!

Bye-bye TW560!


 

The day promises to be exceptionally sunny and clear – good thing we’re heading for the mountains!

Very soon temperatures rise and we can – for the first time this year – take the canopy off and drive al fresco 🙂

Just a few km into our trip - the cover comes off

Just a few km into our trip – the cover comes off


 

When traveling, a TWIKE team photo is a must!

Our traditional team photo

Our traditional team photo


 

Parts of our trip are on roads we’ve already been – it is interesting to see the same places in different lighting and with vegetation at a different stage.

Been here before - less whisps of fog this time :)

Been here before – less whisps of fog this time 🙂


 

The weather is getting better by the minute … and warmer. We start our ascent to a plateau which will take us towards Appenzell.

Our first ascent for today - wow!

Our first ascent for today – wow!


 

As we know most of the roads here, our quest to discover new ones leads us invariably to…

Our roads are getting smaller every year :)

Our roads are getting smaller every year 🙂


 

Unpaved roads, the last frontier

Unpaved roads, the last frontier


 

unpaved roads. Which in Switzerland are better than many paved roads elsewhere. 🙂

After driving through the quaint town of Appenzell (always worth a visit!) we start our descent towards the upper Rhine valley and Austria on the other side of the Rhine.

Austrian Alps, Rankweil & Hohenems

Austrian Alps, Rankweil & Hohenems


 

As last year we tried to eat at the Schützenhaus Restaurant in Feldkirch. But, alas, we were too late. All tables were taken. I took a mental note to myself to call ahead next time. We, however, can report that the old Restaurant within the Schattenburg serves very good food, too. 🙂

Schattenburg, Take 2

Schattenburg, Take 2


 

After 75 minutes we’re ready to continue our trip which will take us across Liechtenstein.

Very nice backdrop

Very nice backdrop


 

I’ve always wanted to go to Malbun, since the Malbuner brand is known all over Switzerland. Little did I know what was expecting us…

Very steep roads up to Malbun - very nice views

Very steep roads up to Malbun – very nice views


 

Lower rhine valley

Lower rhine valley


 

I convinced JC to park the TWIKE and take a cable car to the top of Malbun’s ski resort.

We were rewarded with one of the nicest Alpine views we both have had in a long time.

Liechtenstein Alps, Malbun village, Swiss Alps in the background

Liechtenstein Alps, Malbun village, Swiss Alps in the background


 

Appenzell Alps in the background

Appenzell Alps in the background


 

It’s an absolute must to have a Kafi Fertig (coffee with Swiss prune schnapps) when visiting a Swiss mountain station. How could we resist?

Life is fun

Life is fun


 

Even up here here, we can see change: The station’s manager told me that in the old days they’d consume vast amounts of electricity and oil. These days they are completely self-sufficient and send lots of electricity back to the valley thanks to a large array of high-efficiency solar panels.

High-efficiency solar panels!

High-efficiency solar panels!


 

After this treat, we took the cable car back to Malbun and drive to Malans – not that we’re hungry yet, but I’m really looking forward to the wines as the winery has won some prizes in the past and I’m curious.

Malans, just a few km to go.

Malans, just a few km to go.


 

The drive is very picturesque and coming from Liechtenstein we cross over a hill which brings us back into the sun. Very nice golden light engulfs us whilst driving through the eastern-most wine producing area in Switzerland.

Autumn or Spring - last few km towards Malans

Autumn or Spring – last few km towards Malans


 

Driving towards Malans + sunset

Driving towards Malans + sunset


 

At sunset, we arrive at the winery and lo and behold, the first thing I see is a plaque advertising their achievements…

Gault Millau and I usually agree :)

Gault Millau and I usually agree 🙂


 

Located slightly above Malans, the views from the winery include most of the valley and all of Landquart town.

View from the winery

View from the winery


 

We’re here to drink wine – we go to our fellow TWIKE friends and start having our first glasses of very drinkable white wine.

Enjoying wine from the winery we're visiting - plus stunning views!

Enjoying wine from the winery we’re visiting – plus stunning views!


 

The evening itself was an interesting mix of do-it-yourself food preparation and being served wines by the head of the winery explaining in detail how the wine was made and what is special about it. TWIKE pilots usually like the finer pleasures in life and know how to enjoy good food and wine…making the crowd very enjoyable for me 🙂

If we weren’t listening to wine-related explanations, we were discussing TWIKE-related matters as every TWIKE pilot has things that need fixing or optimizing and more often than not, a fellow TWIKE pilot has already solved the problem before!

Raclette, hands-on and how it should be prepared

Raclette, hands-on and how it should be prepared


 

Time flew by much too quickly and soon it was nearly midnight – by then outside temperatures had plunged below zero and we were very happy to have reserved a place just 5 km away and not having to drive back home for 2+ hours like other guests this evening.

We get up early and start driving towards Austria again.

Starting our day at B&B Härihof

Starting our day at B&B Härihof


 

Driving in this kind of weather is just sheer pleasure – We decide to drive to Bregenz and then drive along lake Constance.

Leaving Härihof - another brilliant day awaits

Leaving Härihof – another brilliant day awaits


 

Driving towards Feldkirch

Driving towards Feldkirch


 

In need of a recharge, we drive to a town called Wil. The charging station there is a RFID-nonsense-free Park&Charge charging station which can be operated with a key. Standard connectors ensure that there aren’t any compatibility or IT-related issues.

This is how we like it: P&C and barrier-free charging

This is how we like it: P&C and barrier-free charging


 

And – as always with these simple charging stations – we’re good to go within 30 seconds of opening the connector box. Energy flows without any problems. We lock the charging station again and have some drinks in a bar in town before heading back home.

Town of Wil: Sustainability mission statement

Town of Wil: Sustainability mission statement


 

This, again, was a very nice weekend with some brilliant driving involved. Plus: the cheese was a treat! I really hope they are going to do the same event again next year!

160320 Day2

160320 Day2