Friday, June 10, 2011

Duty free, border guards and a jolly nice man at a campsite...

We still have poor weather in our part of the Alps, but less rain forecasted. So, ever optimistic, I walked up the mountain this morning hoping for a fly down, between the clouds, into the valley below.  At 2000m the rain started so I continued up, just for the hell of it really.  Higher up I spied a take off, just clear of the higher cloud and the rain had temporarily ceased.  I quicked my pace, but finally to no avail as by the time I arrived at the hut (2350m) the cloud had rolled in again. I waited a while, ate some food and realised the situation was not going to improve so headed down.

It wasn't until I was back at 1400m that I finally came out of the forest still high above the valley floor with a nice grassy slope - and for the first time in what seems like an eternity - sunshine!  I threw out the glider and launched, but of course the sunshine was immediately causing some mega cloud growth and the congestus behind me was sucking up rather too nicely.  Squeezed the glider down in a very small football pitch surrounded by trees, and that was that, back to driving in the rain as the overdevelopment quickly engulfed the valley.

So to Lavigno, a sleepy valley in Italy that seems to have some strange tax free status - we filled Hannibal with Diesel at some ridiculously cheap price (Euro 0.94/l) and continued on into Switzerland near to the Piz Palu turnpoint.  As well as duty free fuel there were many opportunities to buy duty free alcohol, so it was no great suprise that this was the one border crossing with plenty of guards who wanted to check our paperwork and van.  Still they were very nice about it.  I like Switzerland!

Finally to our current place of rest, Camping Plauns in Pontresina.  The chap who runs it is a paraglider pilot and learning we were in the X-Alps insisted we helped our selves to a 'good bottle of wine' for free from his little shop.  It is a great campsite too.  I really do like Switzerland!

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