A.R.M. (kinkyturtle) wrote,

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The St. Gotthard Road Tunnel (My life in Switzerland, part 1)

In 1981, my family and I spent 9 months in Brugg, not far from the northern border of Switzerland. One day, Mom, Vicki Atchison* and I went for a Sunday drive. Switzerland is small enough that one can cross the whole country on a Sunday drive, and that's what we did. We visited Luzern and crossed the weird medieval covered footbridge, stopped for lunch somewhere in Uri canton, admired the awesome Alpen scenery... and finally reached the St. Gotthard Tunnel.

HERE is the northern end of the St. Gotthard tunnel, in Göschenen, Uri canton, where we entered. At the time, it was the longest road tunnel in the world. Go on, see how long it takes you to find the southern end in Airolo, Ticino canton, by scrolling in that Google Maps link southward along A2. No fair zooming out!

About two-thirds of the way through the tunnel, we saw a lit sign on the wall with the Uri coat of arms on one side, and that of Ticino on the other side, marking the border between the two cantons. It was rather abstract. It was just a point on the wall somewhere within a long stretch of undifferentiated tunnel. I wonder how far above our heads the surface of the mountain was at that point...

So anyway, we eventually emerged into daylight and drove another few miles into Ticino, but since they speak Italian there and we'd only learned German, we turned around and headed back into the tunnel, and went home.

*Vicki Atchison was a British woman who lived in an apartment building near ours in Brugg. Mom made friends with her.

My life in Switzerland, part 2

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