Daily Brief 4 August 2013

Last updated 18:30 BST.

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in brief:

Channel delays: Condor St Malo-Jersey.

Weather: a few showers around, warm and sunny in the south.

Traffic: See @DE_Traffic

News: FIA in global auto tax call. Playtime over in Gibraltar.

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Switzerland: the exact point where Switzerland becomes Switzerland, land of mountains and vibrant green alpine meadows, rather than the dated and dirty bit of Basel you see from the road. The A3 winds its way south east to Zurich while the A2, eventually, heads south. As one of the busiest roads through the Alps, the A2 has its challenges (not least because you have to buy the €33 vignette to drive on it). It’s dual carriageway mostly. The queues before the Gotthard Tunnel can be horrendous, and are guaranteed at peak times, as they are further south at the Italian border too. But, it’s not long before snowy capped peaks fill the top of your windscreen, the plunge down beside Lake Lucerne is spectacular and if you come off before Gotthard, at Andermatt, you land at the epicentre of five of the country’s best mountain passes. The all-downhill A2 after the tunnel is pretty great too.

Switzerland: the exact point where Switzerland becomes Switzerland, land of mountains and vibrant green alpine meadows, rather than the dated and dirty bit of Basel you’ve seen from the road. The A3 winds its way south east to Zurich while the A2, eventually, heads south. As one of the busiest roads through the Alps, the A2 has its challenges (not least because you have to buy the €33 vignette to drive on it). It’s dual carriageway mostly. The queues before the Gotthard Tunnel can be horrendous, guaranteed at peak times. But, it’s not long before snowy capped peaks fill the top of your windscreen, the plunge down beside Lake Lucerne is spectacular and if you come off before Gotthard, at Andermatt, you land at the epicentre of five of the country’s best mountain passes. The all-downhill A2 after the tunnel is pretty great too. NB. You will notice that Chiasso has been crossed off the A2. Chiasso is on the Italian border, at the bottom of A2, and is another bottleneck. Because of the Gotthard Tunnel jams, it can be quicker to head south via Zurich and the A13.

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WEATHER.

Meteoalarm weather risk alerts – Red alerts for high temperatures in Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and parts of Serbia.

Weather – dry and sunny across the south, scattered rain in the north.

TRAVEL.

Condor Ferries: tech fault means Condor Rapide approx. 45 mins behind schedule St Malo-Jersey-St Malo.

No other operators currently reporting any delays.

See Traffic/Travel/Weather for more.

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NEWS.

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Gibraltar – in an interview with Spanish daily ABC, Foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo says ‘playtime is over’. The Spanish government is considering a €50 levy for entering and leaving the territory, as well as other isolating measures. It’s hard to see how the two sides can step back from this. Read gbc.gi’s summation of the situation here.

update: According to Sky News, the Foreign office is ‘concerned’ by the comments and says, ‘We will not compromise our sovereignty over Gibraltar, nor our commitment to its people. We continue to use all necessary measures to safeguard British sovereignty.’

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FIA in auto tax call.

FIA president Jean Todt, second from right, presenting a road safety award in Argentina.

FIA president Jean Todt, second from right, presenting a road safety award in Argentina.

Road safety – Jean Todt has called for a Global Fund for Road Safety financed by ‘an extremely small contribution’ on auto related purchases, from cars to tyres and satnavs. The FIA president, former Ferrari F1 chief throughout the team’s golden period with Michael Schumacher, was speaking in Argentina where road fatalities have recently been reduced by 20% and drink driving by 50%. Todt described road safety as ‘one of the world’s great emergencies’, a ‘scourge that each year claims almost 1.3m lives [annually]’.

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NOTE:

Crossing the Channel – All operators are warning passengers to leave plenty of time for journeys to the port. With availability often limited at this time of the year, late passengers may have to want considerable time for space, and/or be liable for extra charges.

Bulgaria – anti-govt demonstrations becoming a permanent feature, stepping up a gear on 23 July with a blockade of parliament. The British Embassy says, ‘There is a small risk of violence. Avoid large gatherings in public spaces and follow local media and the advice of the local authorities.’ For the latest FCO travel advice click here. For Bulgarian news in English see www.Novinite.com or @novinite_com on Twitter.

Turkey – after some time without protests the situation is unpredictable again. See latest FCO travel advice.

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