What I like about driving an extremely rare vehicle is the close-knit community it creates. Since there isn’t a wide network of commercially motivated help available, it’s important to know other drivers one can reach out to in case of questions or problems…or just to share good memories!
The TWIKEklub traditionally organizes 4 events during winter (which has, thanks to global warming, been bringing us less snow every year for the past 10 years). Cold weather is ideal for traditional Swiss cheese-based dishes such as Fondue and Raclette. JC and I take part at most of the events – last year, for the first time, JC and I drove to the canton of Graubünden to be part of the Malans Fondue-event. It was a brilliant 2-day trip.
As 2016’s Malans event was announced, we immediately registered and booked our BnB, looking forward to a beautiful trip and having good cheese with some fellow TWIKE pilots.
Since both JC and I like discovering new roads, some planning went into the both days’ trip: By now we both know most of the roads, big and small, that can take us to Malans!
We started bright and early – and as last year – we opted to take TW231 instead of TW560. I drive to JC’s and park TW560. Thankfully, TW231 has its own private plug!
The day promises to be exceptionally sunny and clear – good thing we’re heading for the mountains!
Very soon temperatures rise and we can – for the first time this year – take the canopy off and drive al fresco 🙂
When traveling, a TWIKE team photo is a must!
Parts of our trip are on roads we’ve already been – it is interesting to see the same places in different lighting and with vegetation at a different stage.
The weather is getting better by the minute … and warmer. We start our ascent to a plateau which will take us towards Appenzell.
As we know most of the roads here, our quest to discover new ones leads us invariably to…
unpaved roads. Which in Switzerland are better than many paved roads elsewhere. 🙂
After driving through the quaint town of Appenzell (always worth a visit!) we start our descent towards the upper Rhine valley and Austria on the other side of the Rhine.
As last year we tried to eat at the Schützenhaus Restaurant in Feldkirch. But, alas, we were too late. All tables were taken. I took a mental note to myself to call ahead next time. We, however, can report that the old Restaurant within the Schattenburg serves very good food, too. 🙂
After 75 minutes we’re ready to continue our trip which will take us across Liechtenstein.
I’ve always wanted to go to Malbun, since the Malbuner brand is known all over Switzerland. Little did I know what was expecting us…
I convinced JC to park the TWIKE and take a cable car to the top of Malbun’s ski resort.
We were rewarded with one of the nicest Alpine views we both have had in a long time.
It’s an absolute must to have a Kafi Fertig (coffee with Swiss prune schnapps) when visiting a Swiss mountain station. How could we resist?
Even up here here, we can see change: The station’s manager told me that in the old days they’d consume vast amounts of electricity and oil. These days they are completely self-sufficient and send lots of electricity back to the valley thanks to a large array of high-efficiency solar panels.
After this treat, we took the cable car back to Malbun and drive to Malans – not that we’re hungry yet, but I’m really looking forward to the wines as the winery has won some prizes in the past and I’m curious.
The drive is very picturesque and coming from Liechtenstein we cross over a hill which brings us back into the sun. Very nice golden light engulfs us whilst driving through the eastern-most wine producing area in Switzerland.
At sunset, we arrive at the winery and lo and behold, the first thing I see is a plaque advertising their achievements…
Located slightly above Malans, the views from the winery include most of the valley and all of Landquart town.
We’re here to drink wine – we go to our fellow TWIKE friends and start having our first glasses of very drinkable white wine.
The evening itself was an interesting mix of do-it-yourself food preparation and being served wines by the head of the winery explaining in detail how the wine was made and what is special about it. TWIKE pilots usually like the finer pleasures in life and know how to enjoy good food and wine…making the crowd very enjoyable for me 🙂
If we weren’t listening to wine-related explanations, we were discussing TWIKE-related matters as every TWIKE pilot has things that need fixing or optimizing and more often than not, a fellow TWIKE pilot has already solved the problem before!
Time flew by much too quickly and soon it was nearly midnight – by then outside temperatures had plunged below zero and we were very happy to have reserved a place just 5 km away and not having to drive back home for 2+ hours like other guests this evening.
We get up early and start driving towards Austria again.
Driving in this kind of weather is just sheer pleasure – We decide to drive to Bregenz and then drive along lake Constance.
In need of a recharge, we drive to a town called Wil. The charging station there is a RFID-nonsense-free Park&Charge charging station which can be operated with a key. Standard connectors ensure that there aren’t any compatibility or IT-related issues.
And – as always with these simple charging stations – we’re good to go within 30 seconds of opening the connector box. Energy flows without any problems. We lock the charging station again and have some drinks in a bar in town before heading back home.
This, again, was a very nice weekend with some brilliant driving involved. Plus: the cheese was a treat! I really hope they are going to do the same event again next year!