Turned out that Hertz’ good, but aged car was more aged and less good than what we had thought. After loading the two boxes with tools and two trolleys with basic clothing, I spent 20 minutes trying to closing the side door of the freight compartment. I didn’t get it fully closed and an open-door warning persisted until we gave up and called the company. They advised us to drive over to another Hertz location in Milan and ask for a new car. While that was at least on our side of town, we then queued behind some very undecided customers. Re-loading (and protecting the freight from moving around) took some more time, so that we actually left Milan almost two hours behind schedule.
Despite twice missing the correct turn on the highway and twice running into streets that were not cleared for the height of the van, loosing certainly a further half an hour in the process, we reached our final destination in Nürnberg just 30 minutes behind schedule. This schedule had contained quite some buffer for adverse traffic conditions and additional breaks along the way, and also had assumed a slightly more legal speed on Switzerland’s highways. (To be clear: I stood within reasonable margins of the speed limit, i.e. at most exceeding it by 15km/h according to the needle, which usually indicates a higher than the actual speed anyways.)
The ride itself was beautiful. From Milan, we crossed the Alps via the San Bernardino pass. This first took us along Lago di Lugano and then through the beautiful Ticino valley, before we climbed all the way up to roughly 1,650m. It’s a street that was never meant to be some sort of a highway, with switchback turns and steepness and just one lane per direction, and going down on the other side through some narrow canyons. On the descent, short sections of the road also led us through Liechtenstein and Austria before crossing the border to Germany.
We picked up a bed first in Munich, then a sofa from Nürnberg. Photos will follow soon. Having loaded the sofa, we did get a bit skeptical if everything would fit, after all. I relied on my calculations. The van we had received as a substitute (a Ford Transit 350 L now, and this one again had lots of scratches and bumps – really, Hertz!) was much less comfy and less spacious in the front, also a bit less tall and less long. But it was the van that I had expected and based on which I had played Lego beforehand, finding a way how everything could fit for sure.
In Nürnberg, we spent a night with Reik, who was one of the guys joining me for the Transalp, and with his girlfriend. We departed early next morning to get over to Munich, where we met Ronny, whom I had not seen since we last worked together in a student group of liberal students ten years ago. He joined to help us with the kitchen. Here, I demonstrated my newly-acquired skills of disassembling and disconnecting a sink and a stove/oven (there are YouTube videos for everything). And the Lego worked – even better than I had estimated.
With a final stop at Mühldorf am Inn, we loaded also a wardrobe. Late on Wednesday we reached Bozen. The cute atmosphere of the city made for a great wrapper to this trip. We would be waking up in Alpine fall.