Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Well it's been a great Easter vacation.

Early Thursday morning (5:30 AM) I fired up the old jeep and under the cover of darkness and freezing rain set off down highway A8 for the long trip to Monaco. The plan; stop in Zurick at ABB headquarters to garner a little inside view of what's going on over there, then off to Milan for none other than the legendary Bryan Adams, then the final leg getting into Monaco/Nice for some relaxing atmosphere to get some work done. The weather forcast for the weekend was not good with all 3 websites claiming pouring showers for the entire weekend, not a good start.

Then things really got interesting. About halfway to the border I realized that I had left my passport behind me, no problem right? Wrong. The Swiss are neutral and hence although they all accept euros for payment (as well as their own currency), they still require a visa for european travelers. Usually there's no problem and they don't even check you when you drive through but I guess I looked suspicious because I got stopped.

Problem #1 - No passport, please go over to the german side and maybe they'll issue you a tempory pass.

Great, no problem, I'm making great time on the highway, a quick 15 minute passport issue stop is nothing to sweat.

Problem #2 - No valid German drivers licence.

Seems as though after living here for over 6 months I can no longer rely on my Canadian drivers licence despite waiting 2 hours in line and spent 100 bucks on a special "one year" international drivers licence. Ok so those things are useless.

Screwed #1 - The German border authorities instruct me that not only will they not issue me a temporary pass, but they will not let me drive my car back home to get my passport.

Gribley. At noon on Thursday things did not look very promising to say the least.

Long story short, I was able to work some of the Rossi charm and just over 3 hours and 80 euros later I had a tempory passport for both Germany and Swiss-land and was again on my way. Take a look at the temporary Swiss and German passports, very cool but probably not worth the trouble or 80 euros it took to get them. At least they'll look good on my wall :-)

More to cum later, but in short only got lost 3-4 times resulting in a few hours driving time lost, Bryan Adams rocks but the concert seemed to fly by (and he totally rejected the Italian crowd after singing "summer of 69" but the rest was sweet!), got to the Green Dolphin and was thinking of you guys (you know who you are), weather turned out to be georgeous the whole time, weathermen are WAY overpaid and are TOTALLY incompitent, the drive home through France (to avoid the Swiss border) was beautiful through the mountains but was twice as long and toll booth rape-ige occured numerous times, wireless internet at the hotel was pretty geeky-cool, and finally the people, places and experiences will never be forgotten.

Thanks to Broken-Finger Guy and Stutt-Man for making the trek to the border: Roger HQ, Swissini one has completed checkpoint delta and is returning to sparrow's nest for mission Portugal.

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