Swiss Roadie Trip Day 5 - Monza

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June 14th 2019
Published: June 14th 2019
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This morning we are up early. Breakfast is served from 8-10, so the old man is on his starting blocks well before 8. We paid £108 for our little motel room, so I’m expecting great things from breakfast. We get a bread basket, some cold cuts and 3 sachets of jam.

After breakfast we set off for Milan. At the world’s most complicated junction, we take a wrong turn and end up on the right road in the wrong direction. To rectify the situation, we must pass through the 10 km tunnel again (twice). The issue arose at a fork. I said ‘don’t go right’ and we went right. Apparently, it’s my fault: I should have said ‘keep left’.

Finally, we are heading south, or not north, depending on your point of view. Today’s drive is a combination of beautiful mountain scenery interspersed with numerous tunnels. In all, we notch up 54 km underground - I feel a bit like a Womble.

Half way through the 17 km long Gotthard tunnel, the road signs change language and when we finally emerge, we are in Italian Switzerland.

We cross the Italian border and are happily driving along when we spot a not particularly large sign stating that we are in a booth free toll area and have 15 days to pay online.

We stop for lunch in Monza. Apparently, during the week, the Formula 1 race track is open to the public. I have told daughter no 2 we are taking her hired van for a spin. I find this way funnier than she does.

After a picnic in Monza Park, we walk to the race track. It takes a while to work out where to go in the huge 113,000 seat complex. There’s a lot of action; people with passes, security guards, visitors milling around. I’m all for striding on brazenly until stopped. But the old man is way too square for such behaviour. Eventually, we find our way into a stand on the Ascari Chicane. We watch 3 cars pass by, then nothing. We wait a while, thinking we’re too late. Then all off a sudden, there’s a crescendo of noise and proper GP style racing cars appear. It’s an unexpected bonus. During a break, we move to the main stand, opposite the pit lane, to watch the next session.

Then we head to our hotel in Milan, excited but deaf. Before we leave, I can’t resist taking a photograph of the van by the track sign to send to daughter number 2.

At the hotel I attempt, unsuccessfully, to access the Pedemontana website to pay the motorway toll. It’s not easy; apart from the fact it’s all in Italian, the validation link doesn’t work and the website is incompatible with my phone, with all the text boxes overlapping each other. Let’s hope I can sort it within 15 days, as the fine for non-payment is €338.

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