Gotthard: the biggest bottleneck of Europe!

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Gotthard tunnel: this is one of the wonders for which the Swiss are proud.
A 17 km long tunnel dividing Switzerland into two, separating Ticino, the Italian speaking part, and Canton Uri, the beginning of the German speaking part.
Two different Cantons, two different languages, two different worlds.

But this pearl of engineering has become for some years a real pain for all the vehicles which need to cross Switzerland: basically the most of the traffic coming from Northern and Central Europe and going South (typically to Italy).
A complicated system of traffic lights is creating dramatically long queues before entering the tunnel, in both ways, allowing only a limited number of vehicles inside the tunnel at the same time. When I say long queues I mean even 9-10 km, which corresponds to at least 1 and half hour waiting time!!

But the queues created by this genial process are really artificial! Before and after the tunnel the traffic is never so full to justify such queues.
Not counting the fact that, although only a limited number of vehicles can drive through Gotthard at the same time, when driving through after long queues, the drivers are quite mad and the distances between different vehicles are quite small! Is this really safe? Is this really a sound approach to the tunnel safety? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

As a matter of fact, thousands of workers, tourists, drivers are facing a dramatically difficult situation whenever they have to pass through the Gotthard tunnel. This phenomenon is increasing in spring and summer, but it always persists latent during the whole year.
Gotthard tunnel…an oasis of third world inside the super civilised Confederation!
Or are the queues perhaps purposely created to discourage all foreigners or tourists or whoever dare to cross the Land of the Mountains?

And last week…wonderful! There was no queue at the Gotthard tunnel direction North.
What did they invent at the Traffic Department? The closure of one of the two lanes of the highway approaching the tunnel for 4 km for some construction works, to get the usual reassuring queue before the tunnel!! What a scandal! Especially considering that no one was making any repair to the road!

Finally the Gotthard tunnel, although long, is not the longest in the world, but the constant queues at its entrances are probably beating a lot of world records!!

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A slice of what I call pizza

pizzeria_MilanoAhhhh!
A nice round, crispy (where it needs to be) and soft (where it needs to be) wonderful pizza!

Stop! This can only be served in Italy!
No matter how Italian is the restaurant here in Switzerland…but the level of their pizza will never be as the one in Italy!

Even with a proper oven, the pizza here is totally disappointing.
And the quality-price ratio is absurd!
Look at the photo. That is the price list proudly shown on the window of a pizzeria in the city centre in Milan!

The same in Switzerland would be at list doubled.
A 5 Euro Margherita in Milan is something like minimum 10-12 Sfr in Switzerland!

And the quality!
Here in the Confederation, the pizza (let’s take the simplest and most classical one: Margherita, i.e. Tomato, mozzarella, basil) is always covered by a kind of uniform layer of “rubber/plastic” mixture which is supposed to be the melted mozzarella. This layer is normally well lubricated by a generous quantity of oil (olive oil? Mmmh…doubtful!)
The result is a heavy part which makes the whole pizza too difficult to finish!
The crispy border is often also too chewy and flexible, making the pizza look like a kind of sling!

Why all this?
I do not know exactly! But probably the ingredients are not supreme, the ways of preparing and cooking this delicious piece of art are just scholastic and the training on the job (so important here in each Canton for each occupation!) is not really helpful!

And probably all the “pizzaioli” (pizza bakers) in any Swiss “pizzaland” rely on the fact that no one ever tasted a real amazing pizza actually MADE IN ITALY!
Nothing to do with the circular reddish-orange, rubbery, pale bordered “Sw-izza“!

Isch do no frei?

Train inside
“Is this [seat] still free?” This is a very popular question in Swiss German, the German language spoken in Switzerland (by the way, one of the various versions…depending on the region). Common and legitimate question to know whether a seat is available or not. Where would you normally ask such question? I can think of cinemas, theatres, classical music concerts, i.e. places where you go to enjoy some hours of fun and relax. If I had to ask this question in Swiss German, like the Swiss, then this is the perfect question to ask on the trains! Whenever the Swiss seek for a free seat and see a tempting one available, they don’t dare to sit yet. Before doing it, they always ask the “famous question”! Who do they think I am waiting for if the seat next to me is free? I am not at the cinema, waiting for someone to enjoy the movie with me! I just hopped on a train to go home or somewhere else. Although this is the “train” most asked question in Switzerland, it’s for sure a rhetoric question. I never heard someone replying “No, this seat is not free!”. Such a reply would probably make the perfectly congested Swiss railway system collapse. Such a reply would make lots of passengers panic, being deprived from one of their vital certainties: the spoken permission to sit on a public free seat!

2027

A new date in the history of Switzerland! A new era will start: the complete opening to the world of this small country will be complete. The adjustment to the modernization will be achieved. The sizes will be meeting the needs of a country which is growing every day pulled by thousands of foreigners. No useless queue any longer! Fluent traffic and one of the most advanced construction of the world will be completed.

The famous Gotthard tunnel connecting the German speaking part of Switzerland to the Italian speaking region, basically connecting Switzerland itself to the rest of Europe will be doubled: two lanes for each direction! Freedom to travel! Freedom to cross Europe in a civil way! When? Be patient and just enjoy this piece of news. The completion date is announced for 2027.