Driving to Italy, overnight in the Alps
Someone asked me to report on our stay in the Ospizio San Gottardo on our way down by car. Having recovered sufficiently from the heat on arrival in Italy here goes:Thanks to all of you who recommended routes and hotels. We did Dunkirk, Bruges, Brussels, and stayed overnight at the Ibis in Dinant (again, thanks for the suggestion). Weather was sh*te all the way on that first day - torrential rain. SEcond day not much better to start with. We decided to cross into Germany at Strasbourg, thinking about alanh advice to avoid Basel. The sun finally came out at about the time we crossed the border and that was the last of the rain.Actually didn't detour round Basel - it was a Saturday and we took the risk that commuter traffic was the usual problem. We got through without any difficulty.Arrived Passo San Gottardo about 5pm and tried to check in to the Ospizio, to be met with a very forbidding looking locked door and no visible sigtn of entry. Eventually enquired at other hotel who it turns out operates as reception for both buildings. They had an interesting key system whereby you had a key to open the forbidding door and then a box inside with another key to your room which was released by using the first key!Once inside the rooms were very nice, although slightly like inside a sauna in that they were completely kitted out in wood floor to ceiling. Definitely architect designed and a fantastic shower! Plus complimentary bath robe.....WE should probably have crashed out for a couple of hours then gone over to the restaurant (in the first hotel) to eat. We were pretty cream-crackered so didn't really fully appreciate the place. I would say it's best to stay a couple of days and chill out, rather than using it as a stopover on a hard drive South. The place is full of hearty types (cyclists, walkers) with Nordic walking sticks v much in evidence. If like me your idea of exercise is a breif ramble to bathe feet in icy mountain stream and look at the alpine flora an fauna you could easily spend a couple of days just doing that. Just remember, if it's downhill on the way there it's going to be uphill on the way back!!Stay also overshadowed slightly by OH insisting that his TomTom girlfriend said that the next day's travel would take 14 hours and be 522 miles. I wa too tired to argue and spent fairly sleepless night worrying about next days' journey.On starting out it soon became apparent that TT girl was trying to take us the "non-Toll route" and when put right she took 100 miles off the distance and 8 hours off the time!!Releif meant rest of journey a bit of a doddle....Ospizio for two including breakfast was CHF130. So again not basic stopover price - more a special weekend break.