>Gustavo the mountain goat

>”I have a lot of packing and other things to get done while you’re here, so I apologize in advance that I can’t show you around as much as I’d like,” Gustavo warns us when we arrive in Lugano, south Switzerland for a visit. Alright, no problem, we have been wandering around most cities without a guide so far this trip, so why should Lugano be any different?

Of course, what Gustavo MEANT was “I am going to show you the most awesome places in Ticino (the Italian part of Switzerland) and then apologize that I couldn’t show you more.” Yeah right! First stop was Valle Maggia, a spot on one of the mountain rivers that had some slower currents to swim in, with beaches and lots of Swiss German tourists! “It didn’t used to be like this, with all these tourists,” Gus assures us, and promises to take us to a place only he and his friends know about later. I was already impressed!

Valle Maggia, the illin’ and chillin’ beach by the mountain river in the Swiss Alps. Unfortunately you can’t see the beach in this picture.

Next stop was on the side of the highway between two nearby villages…time for a little bit of offroading!

Offroading: a.k.a. climbing down a mountain valley, using any obstacle in your path to slow your descent!

We follow Gus through a Mr. Rogers-esque landscape, into valleys and over moss-covered rocks, under trees and through rivers, up waterfalls and … down other waterfalls.

Following Gus the sure-footed mountain goat like a pack of lemmings. (Are two lemmings a pack?) We crossed ground that I wouldn’t think was passable if Gusti wasn’t leading us!
Dennis and I are impressed with the wicked-awesome waterfalls.

So impressed we jump off them. Gustavo isn’t sure how deep they are, so he advises us not to pencil dive.

We spent several hours trekking through jaw-droppingly beautiful Swiss landscapes, ice-cold and crystal clear Swiss mountain streams, surrounded by lush Swiss botanicals. What a paradise!

Dennis and Gus posing on boulders.

Dennis in the ice cold jacuzzi. How long can YOU last??

Afterwards, Gustavo showed us the secret forest location of their old outdoor psychadelic parties! COOL!

Psychadelic party field, doubling as the helicopter-water-fill-up-point. Do not swim! Yeah right.

Stereotypical postcard Swiss landscapes…how much do these cottages cost?! I want one!

Later on, Gus drove us up to Monte Bre, the highest peak in the vicinity for a great view and a Swiss Rivella, the national soft drink. The way up was quite entertaining, with roads that can barely be considered wide enough for one car used as a two way road, and the eventual change from paved city roads to pebbly “offroading”, while zigzagging up 180 degree turns every few hundred metres on quite a fearsome slope! Does that even make sense? Anyways, here’s the view:

The view.

The much more entertaining part of the trip was the way down! Gustavo has spent the majority of his young life in those hills, and he knows them like he knows music: VERY well. If you thought Gustavo was cool before, wait until you’re whipping around 180 degree turns on tiny roads in the Swiss Alps at 70 kph (it SOUNDS slow, but if those roads were in Canada I think the limit would be 20) with Prodigy pumping bass into your skull!! What a rush.

Here is a video of some of the fun:

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

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