My first pandemic international travel. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I hadn’t heard of Grimsel Pass or Ticino even (!) before this trip. Seb had some free time between work meetings in southern Germany and offered to pick me at the Basel airport in a caravan for about ten days of climbing. I’m also embarrassed to admit that, having hardly climbed in two years, at first I wasn’t very excited. What?, a friend who knows the region very well and has a camper van, of course you have to go! That was Ferda’s mother’s reaction. Yes, a pretty fantastic opportunity, isn’t it?
Seb picked me up on the French side of the airport, and we stayed in France only long enough to eat some quiche before crossing into Switzerland. France, Switzerland too, both require a pass sanitaire to eat in restaurants (among other things). The woman who sold the quiche at the boulangerie asked to see it when I said we wanted to eat there (rather than takeaway). My Turkish covid 19 card with a QR code worked (as I had been told it would)!
Switzerland and Turkey (the US too) have about the same covid vaccination rates (~65% — lower than France (76%) and, interestingly, Sri Lanka (71%)), but the pass sanitaire makes travel feel safer (from a covid standpoint) in Switzerland than in Turkey since you can be more confident that fellow diners and bus passengers are not infectious. (France would be even better, I suppose.)
Ok, let’s get started. Shortly after leaving Basel we saw the sign on the highway for the Roman ruins of Augusta Raurica. I’m a sucker for these things and was tempted to ask Seb to stop until I remembered that I had visited those ruins six years ago.
A bit later on the way to Grimsel Pass Seb stopped at this pullout on Brünig Pass for the nice view:
wait a minute! Check out this photo I took 15 years earlier on my first trip to Switzerland!Continue reading