06 April 2016
Its a great car, and great cars are great fun to drive. Especially in Switzerlands beautiful mountain and countryside. When I was invited by MINI to join the Pressdrive going from Zurich all the way through Andermatt, taking mountain passes instead of Gotthard tunnels and visiting beautiful Lugano I was so exited to join I gladly moved around everything in my schedule to make the free time. I live in the city with no car - so for me, escaping the city to cruise around countryside in a great to drive, comfortable and fun car is such a special treat.
I am by far no car expert, and everyone else taking part in the trip seemed to be a highly experienced car journalist. As our first stop was a quick drivers training led by Mini Racers Legend Rauno Aaltonen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv-1_riR_4U) I was a bit nervous at the sight of braving the obstacle course in the Drive Center in Seelisberg. But it was great fun, I took it slow, and Rauno gave me great guidance. I was also happy to be paired up with more experienced MINI Driver Andrea Decker who reassured me and gave me tipps as I was driving.
After the training and a lunch we headed back out in the gorgeous weather and hopped into our cars heading straight for the Alps. We drove all the way up to Andermatt, passing the Chedi even briefly hopping on a special train together with our cars for an alpine transfer and heading via Lukmanierpass all the way into Ticino through beautiful landscapes and changing scenery. It was everything from Lakes, Sunshine, Cities, remote town and farming environments, snowy mountain passes, foggy forest areas, to the mediterranean springtime landscape in Ticino with blossoming trees, palm trees and lushest greens: all within a few hours. It sparked my love for my homecountry and the appreciation I have for living in a country where such diversity is found within such proximity. Its a real blessing and I definitely will put more summer roadtrips on my MUST TO-DO list in Summer!
We did CAR TO CAR Photography in the mountain passes which was really fun, the photographer was basically shooting us while we were driving out of the open trunk of a driving car. So the images you see above and below of the MINI on the Road is not some presspicture I found off Google - if you look closely you can see Andrea & Myself inside the car :D
After a brief stop in a charming Osteria where we where served a local merenda (afternoon snack) consisting of cheeses, air dried meats, fresh olives the size of small plums, and some coffee/tea we embarked on the last part of our tour to the final destination: Beautiful Boutique Hotel 'the View' in Lugano. Stunning Architecture of the hotel featured only 17 Suites all facing Lakeside with a spectacular View over the Lake of Lugano. Unfortunately Food and Beverage management of the hotel did not meet up with my expectations but otherwise the Hotel was truly magnificent. Upon arrival we had little time to change for dinner where several boardmembers from the Munich BMW Headquarter including Peter Schwarzenbauer flew in to meet us and give interviews. It was an interesting talk, even for me as a total industry outsider, about electric cars, the future of the car industry and automatic driving - I feel that I have a much better vision on where the car industry is going in the next 10 to 15 years.
We had dinner in the hotel and I called it an early night because I was pretty tired from all the driving and we planned to do some Lakeside MINI Convertible driving the next morning at the Lake of Lugano.
An intensely fun and whirlwind MINI Trip putting into Focus on what car driving should be about:
Comfort, Emotions & lots of FUN!