St. Moritz, Switzerland - August 4, 2010
OK... well that was excellent. The story is that there is a master's class held here every summer of professional musicians from various symphonies and orchestras across Europe. They offer free concerts once or twice a week while the classes are going on. Quite nice. Quartets, quintets, octets and finally the whole group of about 25. Some Mozart, Schumann and some I didn't recognize. Very cool. During the last piece, with everyone, the flute soloist's flute broke and so he just stood up and Halt! He pulled out another, but they started all over again. Have never seen that before.
Anyway, beautiful blue sky today, and so while it would have been nice to spend a day in Obergurgl, I headed for St. Moritz, a I hated to lose a good riding day... and Switzerland (for sure) this time. Beautiful ride of course, although the mountains were not quite as spectacular as yesterday, I guess because there were no real passes to cross. Anyway, once again I got all my stuff ready and pulled up at the border. The guard looked a little confused and so I said “Papers?” and he just said no and waved me through. Strange as I read that as late as a week or two ago, they were still stopping everyone. I had heard that although part of the EU they were not part of the Schengen, and so passport and customs checks were still the rage at Swiss borders. Maybe that has changed. Still use Swiss Francs though... although when I was a kid it was 4/dollar and now it's just 1/dollar. Maybe that's why my first and last cup of coffee in Switzerland cost me $3.50.
A Straight Stretch in the Alps
Camped at St. Moritz
So I came to St. Moritz, and found a small camp just outside of town. Weather is holding (???) and so I am here for the night. I have been playing with the GPS and might have boxed myself in a bit. May not be able to go anywhere without getting on the privately run Autobahn. Entry requires buying an annual pass (rumors are that it costs 40 British pounds... about $65). The problem is that when they put in the Autobahns, they overlaid short stretches of the smaller roads and so to follow the smaller roads, you sometimes have to get on, go for one exit, then get off. As it is privately run for profit, they are very efficient at catching violators and it is a 200 Euro on-the-spot fine. $65 seems like a lot to travel just a few kilometers on a sucky 4-land highway. Northern Italy is looking better all the time.
Outskirts of St. Moritz
I have been dealing with the bike shipment back to Canada. They need it in London a day early now. I am attaching the reason below, taken from an email I just received today.
All cargo through the UK has to be security screened, usually by X-ray. Unfortunately things like engine blocks of cars and motorcycles cannot be penetrated by the X-rays.
Therefore these items have to be wrapped in plastic, air samples taken, which are then passed under a sniffer dog trained to smell explosives. As LGW does not have these dogs the samples have to be taken and sent to LHR where the dogs are located.
My worry was that if the bike is not delivered until late on the 26th that they will only have one day (27th) to take the sample and send to LHR for testing. As the testing is not available on weekends any delay could mean that the sample is not checked until Monday which would mean the bike would miss the flight.
If your customer can guarantee to deliver the bike in early morning on the 26th then I will be happy to accept on the 26th.
That would be really funny if you heard it on Saturday Night Live...
Actually, I stole this picture off the internet.