Here are some of my favorite places in Zürich:
For more information and pictures about hiking in the Engadin, please go here.
“The flying-rice-burning-death machine strikes again…”
If you haven’t already figured out, St. Moritz is sort of a nice place to ski. With this statement I mean not only is the skiing nice, but so are the restaurants, the hotels, the bars, the cafes, etc. Essentially, this is where the rich and famous of not only Europe but the world come to play.
So on one fine February morning, Chicago Joe and I woke up at the crack of dawn, packed our things together and headed south towards paradise. We had been staying with a friend in Zuerich for a few days, and after carrying our skis through Austria and Italy, we were going to finally be able to do some skiing. Of course, it was pouring buckets in Zuerich and we were sure that there would be snow showers in the mountains. Needless to say, the Super Micra did not have decent snow tires. In fact, I’m not sure you could even technically call the rubber appendages underneath the car safe.
Yea, our hunch was correct. It was snowing. We had one major pass to drive over, the Julier Pass, and it was soon approaching. Now many of you reading this have driven over Lookout Pass or Homestake Pass, or McDonald Pass. Well, those are bunny hills compared to the passes in Switzerland. If the Micra would have had gears lower than first gear, like -1, -2 and -3 gear, for example, I’m pretty sure that we would have used all of them!
I swear, we were just a quarter of a mile from the top of the pass when we first started to spin out. There were cars and trucks lined up along the road putting on chains and Joe and I were probably too busy trying to keep the windshield de-fogged to notice how bad the roads were. (It was bad. Nuff said.)
So, we rolled into St. Moritz with black exhaust spewing out of the Micra and white knuckles clamped to the steering wheel.
(Fast forward a few days.)
I really wanted to drive into the city of St. Moritz one afternoon and show Joe the town and treat him to the most wonderful piece of strawberry pie at Hanselmann’s. We couldn’t find a place to park along the narrow windy streets and so we headed into the parking garage. And that’s when the Super Micra struck again….hence the title of the story.
The car died upon entering the upper levels of the garage and wouldn’t start again. We pushed the car. We pulled the car. We kicked the car. We cursed. I was pretty sure that a jump start would get the hunk of s%@t running again, but I just couldn’t decide if we wanted to have a Ferrari give us a jump or a Rolls Royce. So we left the garage and sought out the help of a friendly policeman.
He took one look at our car and combined with my thick accent, I’m sure he must have thought that we had fallen from deep, outer, outer space. He said he would help us push the car down one of the ramps. So I drove and tried to translate what the man was saying to Joe at the back of the car. I’m still not sure if the policeman realized that Joe doesn’t speak German….Anyway, he helped us push the car down one level of the steep parking garage and the rice burner fired right up! We were off like….I’m not sure what. Just as we left the garage, the car died again. This time we had to boony off to the side of the busiest streets in St. Moritz. Oh yea, did I mention the fact that everyone and their dog just happened to be returning back to there houses, apartments and hotels at the exact moment that our car died. Once again, we were the laughing stock of the town. I’m sure the German license plates on the Micra didn’t help the situation…
Once again, we knew a good push start would get the car running again. The major problems were a) there was too much traffic on the road and b) we only had a few hundred feet of steep, steep road in front of us before there was a stop sign at a super busy intersection. Thank goodness for the nice policeman from Kanton Graubuenden. He shook his head once again, laughed and offered his expertise. His fellow policeman buddy was a quasi auto mechanic and just happened to be down the street from where we sat.
So, to end a super long day, we finally made it back home. Everything was hunky dory and then we listened to the weather forecast for the following day…..the day we were hoping to drive through a major section of the Alps on our way back to Graz.
Yea, that next day was the worst driving conditions that I have ever seen. Snow, snow, snow and a whole lot more snow. It sucked. In fact, it more than sucked. I’m not really even sure how we made it back to Austria…..