Subject: re: Anyone help with planning a route in Northern Italy near the Lakes?
Hi Mike and Fran,

some years ago I made a trip acrosse the alps - from west to east which is quite unusual as most routes go north-south. From that experience I would do:

- From Chur going south (not on the motorway) to St. Moritz - just for a short stop probably.

- If you have the time go over the Bernina pass to Italy, otherways west directly to Lake Como. Bernina is very scenic.

- I wasn't very impressed with Lake Como, so I'd go just around a short part and go directly along Lake Lugano which was much nicer to visit imho.

- You're not far away from Lago Maggiore and Ascona now. If you want to visit that I'd perhaps stay there rather than in Lugano. Nothing cheap in Switzerland of course.

- Either still on that day (if you don't stop at the Lago Maggiore) or the next day I'd recommend going north over the Gotthard pass (NOT the tunnel!). I was there in May and it was great going up from Lago Maggiore at wonderful spring weather with the flowers blooming to an area at about 2000 metres with snow still metres high. On the way up not far from the Lago to the left a wonderful sidetrip is the Val de Verzasca.

- Even before Andermatt turn left over the Furkapass (with an interesting cafe) along the Rhone glacier (where you even can walk into! - I mean that, inside the glacier!) and then down to the Rhone valley, where a valley to the left leads you to Zermatt (you still need a hotel there or not?).

- I really recommend Gotthard & Furka instead of Simplon which is rather boring compared to the first choice.

- From the glacier you can then go along the Rhone to the Lac Leman (Lake of Geneva), where you can e.g. visit the Chateau de Chillon just at the lake.

- When you get into the valley where Zermatt is at the end, just when the road divides into the directions Zermatt and Saas-Fe I went up to the right into the mountains. On very small roads (only to recommend if you're used to your car then and are used to drive in the mountains with steep and narrow roads) you can go up several hundred metres with small villages and wonderful viewing points.

- The whole way (including St. Moritz, Bernina, Ascona, Verzasca, Gotthard) to T#sch (where you have to park the car and enter the train for Zermatt) for the two days would be 500 km.

hth Baerbel near Stuttgart, Germany