Thun

THUN, SWITZERLAND

Headed to Thun today. Happy birthday my friends!

The stay last night was at the Hotel Rischli. I really enjoyed it. The desk clerk, http://sinarsehat.com/pay-for-someone-to-write-essay/ Yvonne, was very nice. She had presented me with a complimentary card which I could use for the aerial tram. Although I did not use it yesterday.

But first – goats. Just outside the dining patio was an enclosure of the cutest goats. They also had an enclosure of rabbits too.

Yesterday when I went by the gondola I did not feel like pedaling the 4.5 km back up the mountain. Today I looked at it differently, one from a fresh mind.

The ride over to Thul was supposed to be a short one and why should I be in a hurry. I decided I would bike back up to the gondola.

I had no clue where I was but in looking at the advertisements I saw they also advertised a cog railway. My friend, Writers Of Research Papers Gibaldi Corinne Kolb, and I took that three years ago and it dawned on me that we saw a gondola come up the mountain.

I rode to the base, presented my comp pass, and saved 38 CHF (which was about $40).

It was cool being back there. This time I could look down and see the cog railway engine sputtering away.

On the ride back down on the gondola the “conductor” made sure to point out where there were mountain goats. He asked me if we have them in the U.S. and I told him Colorado (of course other states do too).

It was a quick descent back to Söreneberg and a stop at the hotel. Since my luggage hadn’t been picked up, I decided I would carry a set of clothes just in case I got to Thun quicker. I couldn’t imagine I would with the trip being so short and now it was after 11:00 a.m.

But first there was time for a ride on their Alpine slide. This one was cool because the ski lift dragged the rider and sled to the top on an enclosed course.


At the top the pool automatically disengaged and it was a quick ride down the mountain. Pretending I’m a kid.

Sign in Schangnau looking back to Sörenberg

About one km out of town, maybe farther, I came to a sign which showed to directions to Thun (actually Schangnau). Why I didn’t capture that picture, I don’t know. I just wasn’t thinking I might want to display it in a blog.

But it would be an additional 13 km to go the long way, which is, of course, what I opted for.

There was some pretty scenery Nothing iconic like I saw this morning or at Lake Luzerne though.

It was just a nice ride through the Swiss countryside.

Oh, there was one climb. Up to the Schallenberg.

That would have been the high point of today’s ride if I hadn’t gone back up the mountain and started at the tram in Söreneberg.

The ride down the pass was great and then I was treated to some back county farm roads. It was all downhill or flat.

When I saw the John Deere tractor I thought of my dad. He loved his Deeres.

Getting near Thun the bike route stayed high while the main road descended. That meant one thing: A fast run down to Thun when it came.

I went looking for the River Aare as a landmark. I found the river which had a swimming area built into it. This side of the river was fast moving but not nearly as fast as the other side or as it travels through Bern.

My hotel, Hotel am Schloss, was situated just below a castle. The room was small, the window did not open enough for air (no A/C) and it was hot. And my luggage did not arrive until 5:45 p.m.

Still, I managed to go swimming in the river, in the process burning the bottoms of my feet on the scorching asphalt.

I swam in the River Aare three years ago in Bern. I knew I had to do it again. There were some bridge jumpers although the bridge wasn’t nearly as high as in Bern. Instead I followed a couple as they found some steps to the river.

The river in Thun is split by an island and this swimming channel was clearly slower than the other side. But one only needed to jump in and float and be carried away. Pretty fun!

Dinner tonight was at McDonalds – 8,90 instead of 35 or 40 CHF. My only issue was I went for WiFi and a little A/C. But it seems WiFi is available only if you have a code which will be texted to you – if you have WiFi to receive the text. Sigh.

The hotel was AM Schloss. It had no A/C and only a small window over a busy street. It was pretty miserable sleeping.

 


 

Covered Bridges and another Mountain

SÖRENBERG, SWITZERLAND

The day started with breakfast at the Seerausch Hotel in Beckenreid. It was the first hotel where they had a full buffet including eggs. So good but the view of Lake Luzerne was better.

The Panoramic Alpine Route 4 would quickly take a lakefront road. There standing in the grass close to the lake was a topless woman talking to another person. She was probably getting ready to catch some rays.

The water of the lake is clear. The morning was perfect, about 68 degrees (20 C).

I would follow the Blue Route 4 signs where I could find them and rely on my Garmin as backup. And I would need them.

A real surprise was coming to a covered bridge. I couldn’t tell when it was built…

…but it sure had sweet decking (floor).

The first direction decision came at a culvert. There was a sign and I thought I followed it correctly but it took me in this 100 meter loop under the road I was just on.

I didn’t mind it one bit because it gave me a unique view of the mountains.

I got of course a bit in the little town of Stanstad. I did a two block loop, looked closer at the signs and compared to Garmin and kept going.

This was 10 meters from the turn for Route 4 at Lake Luzerne but sure is pretty

I crossed a bridge then followed Rte 4 on a lake road to Alpnachstad.

I followed the road next to the lake. There was a “sidewalk” which was really a boardwalk.

The Pilatus-Bahn cog railway

I was expecting about a 30 km (19 mile) easy cruising ride this morning and that is what I got. Cobbles. But for a short ride.

The town of Saren is beautiful. In the center was fresh water, which I would need. And the fad of 2017, Fidget Spinners, is global.

On my way out I entered a forested area then crossed what appeared to be a stream project. Had I looked to the right, and maybe I did, I would have seen what I was in store for.

Along the lake I was back on a highway. Some roads have bike lanes which is really one meter to the right. The lines presumably make the drivers aware that we are there.

At Giswil I came to a second covered bridge. It’s not quite Bedford Co., Pa., but I was a happy camper. Or rider.

Leaving Giswil, I uncharacteristically made a good biking decision. I stopped for a photo then jumped in behind two riders who looked like they were riding the Alpine route.

Ahead I could see a road climbing, steeply, to the left. I knew I had a left turn coming up. They turned and the one guy turned back. I passed him and started climbing. It was steep.

I checked Garmin and it said I was “Off Course.” Well, sometimes one can be 10 meters off and it says I’m off so I was going to ignore it. I started climbing higher and could see I was going away from the route I mapped.

The two men has stopped already and I asked (MAJOR LANGUAGE BARRIER – not sure they were German speaking) if this was Route 4 (I held up four fingers). They said it was.

I thought back to the turn. There was a sign but I didn’t look. The thought of going back down those steep 400 meters to check the sign then climb it again disturbed me but not more than taking the wrong route. I grabbed a quick photo and went back down.

I was glad I checked. I was right. Rte 4 continued straight for another 400 meters before turning onto Panorama Strasse.

Hey, that looks like my RAV4

This road was mostly a one lane road. Two cars could not pass. But there were some sections every 400-500 meters or so where a car could pull over to let one pass in the opposite direction.

I looked up and figured I would pass by every house on the mountain. I was right.

There was room for a car and a bike but only inches between a bus (city) and this bike. Thank you bus.

I was sweating profusely. On the lower slopes were simply farms and no trees. I was exposed to the blazing sun.

The climb was 11.8 kilometers (7.3 miles). Much of the way the grind was 8-9%.

Looking back to the washed out stream I had crossed

In my mind I had calculated the climb to be 11 kilometers but as I watched Garmin I had a math error. I was off by one kilometer. It’s tough when you think you’re at the summit but you’re not.

Somewhere, and I have no idea where, the open section gave way to woods. It was a welcome relief from the sun.

In the wooded section the Garmin showed higher grades. It was registering 11-12% and even up to 18% (which I know it wasn’t – my body knows 18%).

Actually a 7-8% upgrade here

Unlike Klausen Pass yesterday, where I was passed by 203 motorbikes, today I would be passed by 13 and only one “was in a hurry.”

I went long stretches not hearing anything but birds of the forest and the occasional cow bell.

The higher I went the more cows I heard. I crossed a cattle guard and was in an open cattle area.

On this corner was an air sock and this guy sitting with his toy. He showed no interested in interacting with me even as I stopped and took an obvious photo.

I went through those two bottles and saw a water fountain. I stopped and filled up. Very cold water. They would last me another 2-3 kilometers.

I came upon perhaps 40 school kids on a hike. For a while they seemed to be walking at the same pace I was climbing. But I soon passed them. A couple kids tried to run alongside of me but they didn’t last long although I thought they may beat me to the summit.

What I thought was the summit was still 1200 meters from the top. A man sat their with his toy airplane. Their was a windsock attached to a pole and he brought along his own wind sock. I thought about asking him for a photo of me climbing but he had no interest in even making eye contact.

The views on the descent weren’t nearly as breathtaking as those on the ascent. Or maybe I had more time to take them in on the climb.

Right before Sörenberg I stopped at a cable tram. Interesting, but I didn’t know where it went. Although I would find out later.

Going through Sörenberg I saw some young ladies in front of a school for Hospitality Management.

I stopped and asked if they spoke English (the sign was in English). They all did. Four young women from Vietnam. I also asked if I should go to Vietnam for bike riding and they laughed and said “Oh no.”

I checked into Rischli and the desk clerk offered me a discount card for the tram. As she was showing me the brochure it also included a cog railway. Then I realized this approach was the back side of the mountain that follow url Corinne Kolb and I had traveled three years ago. Had I spent the money to see the views from “up there” I certainly would have been surprised. And maybe pissed. LOL.

Dinner was out on the patio. I wanted to order Rösti although at the time I did not know the name. I settled for a Pork Cordon Bleu dish which is what I had yesterday in Beckenreid. It was delicious but at 35 CHF a bit pricey for this traveler.

 


Beautiful Bike Paths

LINTHAL, SWITZERLAND

Breakfast was the at Hotel Cafe Huber in Lichtensteig. As I finished the owner came went to the bakery and gave me some bread to take with me. Very nice.

Breakfast at Cafe Hotel Huber. Orange juice and sparking water would be added.

There would be two issues to deal with today. I never get saddle sores but developed those yesterday. Although better, they would stay with me today. And second, those signs…

Lichtensteig

Or more accurately, lack of signs. On a cool morning I rode downhill into Wattwil. That was my reward for riding uphill to Lichtensteig yesterday.

A view from Wattwil

When I came to the town I turned on the main street to follow Bike Route 4. I also uploaded the route to Garmin. I had gone no farther than one kilometer when Garmin told me I was off course.

Bike Route 4 – to Zürich?

I turned around and went back into town. I went another way when I saw the blue Route 4 sign. I lost that trail too. I turned around.

The start of the day’s climb. It’s steeper than it looks.

I decided to follow Garmin no matter what. Leaving town I turned on a road that was not marked with a sign. About one kilometer later, I had to turn and there was the sign. I was on the right route after all.

A cyclist farther up the hill. I would catch him.

Two or three or 10 times during today’s ride I chose to follow Garmin where there was no sign. Eventually, I would be proven right. In contrast to yesterday, I did not ask anyone for directions today.

Hey look! Frisbee game ahead.

I have already decided that it would be next to impossible to follow this route solely by depending on the signs. They simply are not everywhere they need to be. I would not say the route is well marked but “pretty well” marked.

I had studied my route today and knew leaving town I would have a climb. Not too tough (compared to yesterday) and then a descent. The map showed flat or a slight climb the rest of the way. And that played out as expected.

The descent offered gorgeous views of Lake Zürich (or perhaps that is Obersee, the “Upper Lake” portion of Lake Zürich) in the distance and the mountains ahead.

Flat roads ahead. With nice views.

At the bottom of the hill, I lost the signs and went with Garmin. I turned on a narrow road that was flat and straight. It was the right direction.

I was just 25 km in (15.5 miles) and the rest of the day would be flat to trending upward. I would also be on these narrow roads with no traffic although occasionally riding back on a highway.

Where one of the Rte 4 signs leads. This river comes from Lake Walen.

I came to one turn for Route 4 and it went down to the river and followed a gravel road.  I stopped for a snack then waited at the top to see if any road cyclists were on this path. One coming in my direction looked at it and exclaimed in German “they must be crazy if they think I’m riding on that crap.”* He then headed straight and I decided to follow.

Along open road were just cyclists and walkers. I didn’t see any runners. And horses.


I saw a young man, http://executive-telecom.com/wp-cms/category.php?asp=5-paragraph-essay-template-elementary Marcel, and stopped and asked if he would be my photographer. I wanted a picture of me on my bike with the mountains in the background. He agreed.

Mugging for the camera with a Swiss flag

Marcel and I had a nice conversation of at least 10 minutes, maybe 15, standing alongside this wonderful path. Well down, my friend!

Marcel

I really can’t offer much more. The route signs were pretty good but not perfect. But the weather was perfect.

At Glarus Süd there was a festival in progress. The bike route was blocked with signage to take a different route to Linthal.

I figured if the route to Linthal was marked, why not take it, but another couple came by and went passed the closure. I followed them.

I was glad because I don’t know if I would have known how to get back on Bike Route 4 and it was a great alternative.

As I made my way through the people, one woman said “Nice velo.” I liked that!

I found myself pedaling slower than normal, a little in part due to saddle sores but mostly because my eyes were constantly scanning the scenery. No need to race this route and fly by.

Hotel Bahnoff

My hotel in Linthal is Hotel Bahnoff. It is a much larger room than the Hotel Huber and the Wifi is pretty good. Time to catch up and study tomorrow’s route as well.

POSTSCRIPT:  At dinner I sat out on the patio at the hotel. One table over came a Swiss couple who had just hiked whatever pass I am climbing tomorrow. They are from Zürich. We had nice conversation all evening during dinner.

___
*Ha! I have no idea what he said but that was certainly the gist of it. Seriously.


Lost Among All the Signs

LICHTENSTEIG, SWITZERLAND

This is the start of my Panoramic Alpine adventure. click Corrine Kolb got up earlier than normal and took the tram to the train station in Zürich with my suitcase while I biked there. I beat her.

After I boarded I thought I saw no identifying marks on the train and wasn’t 100% sure if I was on the right one. I thought I had remembered boarding on Platform 8 and we went with that. I wonder how many people board the wrong trains?

The Austrian side of the River Rhine

I arrived St. Margrethen then found one guy working behind the counter. I explained that I needed to leave my luggage at the luggage counter. At first he didn’t understand but then took the bag in his back room. I wondered all day if it would be delivered to the hotel.

Well hello Austria!

Jumping on my bike I went exploring for a gateway to Austria. The one I had mapped out I didn’t find but found another. After asking two policemen if it was safe for bikes, they showed me a bike path on the bridge and I quickly crossed the River Rhine. The river was much narrower than I anticipated.

The first Bike 4 sign I found

I found a willing participant to take my photo with an Austrian flag, then gave her the flag for her son. I then crossed back into Switzerland to begin my journey. Time spent in Austria: 15 minutes.

Bike shop in St. Margrethen

There was but one problem. And I hoped that it would not be a huge problem. Actually it wasn’t huge other than causing me a lot of angst. A lot.

On the first climb

I mapped out the ride on Ride With GPS but forgot to upload it to my Garmin. Stupid me. The maps that Eurotrek provided me were in my checked luggage. At the train station. I would have to follow bike signs.

Panoramic Alpine Route 4 is a road bicycle route that is marked across Switzerland. My tour papers said it is well marked. I say that it is not.

Street sign in Oberegg. I did not get to descend this one.

I found the first sign for Rte 4, followed it, then quickly lost it. In St. Margrethen. I came to an intersection and there was no sign which way to turn. I turned right. I did a loop.

Stopped for water and thought I’d try this blue Fanta even though I don’t drink sods. I still don’t know what that was.

I saw a bike shop that were authorized dealers for Trek. I didn’t see any Treks inside. I asked them where to pick up the route (1). They sent me back on the loop I just did. They did not seem real interested that I stopped in.

Oberegg

I came back to the same spot. This time I went straight. Eventually I saw another sign. I was on the right road after all.

Water stop in Oberegg

Leaving St. Margrethen I turned onto a side street, if a mountain road with switchbacks is a side street. For the next seven miles I would be climbing while profusely dripping with sweat. Much of the climb seemed to be 10-12%. I won’t say I wasn’t prepared, I will just say I wasn’t expecting that. OK, I wasn’t prepared.

Cows playing bells

Climbing through heavy forest I welcomed the sound of cow bells. Lots of them. I didn’t welcome the smell of cow manure. Lots of it. But I guess that comes with cow bells.

I kept my eyes peeled throughout the ride for more signs. Mostly they were there but sometimes they were not or perhaps perfectly hidden. In one small town I completely “lost the scent” and asked a young man on a bike (2).

He knew nothing about Rte 4 but suggested I go back to the traffic circle and this time go straight. I came to a T and there were the signs. He also told me I may have to “Ask (my way) Across Switzerland.”

Trogen

Actually absent any signs one would assume to go straight so that one wasn’t a problem. It’s where there were turns but no signs.

Maybe an ancestral home for me?

In Appenzell I last saw signs right before I reached the town but at the traffic circle there was nothing. So I went straight. I only went a few blocks and ran into two cyclists, apparently local, who knew nothing about this bike route (3).

Teufen

I went back to traffic circle and saw nothing. But I did see a police sign so I went to the police station and asked them (4). They knew nothing about the route but they knew Google maps. They printed out a map for me. But I still didn’t know how to get out of town.

Appenzell

I saw a bike shop and stopped (5). The owner vacations in Fort Lauderdale and was very gracious. He filled my water bottles and told me how to get to next town. I followed his directions – 1km and turn left – and those worked.

Bike shop in Appenzell

As we talked he told me I would turn left then go up this “little hill.” It was a mountain! Actually, looking at it now that I did it, it was only a mile. A little hill.

Appenzell

Actually, going off course in Appenzell worked out. I saw some neat shit I wouldn’t have otherwise. The town center is pretty. Horses came by and one dropped a load. One of the staff grabbed a shovel and bucket and cleaned it up in less than one minute than ran and jumped back on the wagon.

I went seven miles to the next town, Urnäsch and came to a T. There was the Rte 4 sign and I had been on it the entire time. Not only didn’t I know it but I figured my bike friend just got me headed for Wattwill the best way he knew how.

Urnäsch. I was on the right road the entire time.

Maybe with so many miles in my legs made the last section seem the toughest. Near Hemberg I had been descending when I turned and started down another descent. I didn’t know this one would bottom out and throw another nasty ascent of a mountain at me. I had had enough.

I guess this was the high elevation for the day. It was the only marker I saw about altitude.

On my scale of 1-10 for difficulty, 10 is can’t/won’t do it. A 9 is have to stop but will carry on. An 8 is lots of swearing at the mountain. Today was an 8. A solid 8.

I got to Wattwill where I had to ask two more people directions (6,7). They were in front of a post office soliciting people about swimming pools. That’s not happening in front of a USPS office.

 

They were both early 20s so I figured, correctly, their English would be superb. And it was. They directed me the last four miles (although they teased me with 4km) but I checked into the Hotel Huber. No A/C (still waiting for mountain air to cool down – it will) and WiFi only works if I leave my bedroom door open. But the bed is comfortable and that is what I need most. And my luggage did arrive.

In the end if was a pretty hard day. It was made even worse by not having directions or a map with me. I ended up asking seven people in my Ask Across Switzerland tour. Diner was at the L’Angolino Pizzeria and then off to bed – with the door open for Wifi.

 



Three Country Ride

SISSACH, SWITZERLAND

I had never been to Germany and a few months ago I told http://www.aftlv.com/writing-service-cornell/ Ben Zahler that we should ride (or that he should design) a ride that takes us from Switzerland to Germany. And he designed a good one.

I took the train from Zürich to Sissach, met Ben, and went over to Stonebite bike shop, right down the street from the train station. Met a very nice guy working there. I grabbed a Trek Madone with Di2 (electronic) shifting and he fit me to the bike. One problem though. When I tried to shift I discovered the battery was missing and he couldn’t find it. But a couple of phone calls and 45 minutes later we were off and riding – the train.

(Actually there was a second problem. The bike was too large for me and a seat I could not lower. I would be uncomfortable for a day. Oh well.)

Ben, giving a Turkish Couple directions

We took the train to Basel to begin our tour. Winding our way via bike paths, we found our way across and then beside the Rhine River. It was navigating by feel. Within six kilometers we were crossing into Germany.

And almost immediately once we were in Germany, we were leaving Germany. We crossed the Three Countries Bridge into France. I was in Germany for 600 meters. But it counts.

Three Countries Bridge

Once in France we were on pancake flat roads, parallel to the Rhine River and the Grand Canal of Alsace but never quite seeing it. The road was a chip and tar road and a bit difficult to pedal. After 12 kilometers we turned towards the river and followed a road back to a hydro-electric power plant on the river at Krembs.

Hyrdoelectric Plant at Krembs on the Rhine River

No cars but we could cross the damn on bikes. We stopped to watch a ship come through the lock.

Ship coming through the lock at Krembs

Once we crossed the dam we followed the canal south until crossing into Germany. We jumped on a bike bath which was paved but turned to dirt and gravel. Germany has many bike paths next to roads, most are paved but this one wasn’t. We rode it for a few kilometers before finding another path/road which was paved.

Bike path in Germany ran out of pavement

Ben had printed out directions but we seemed to be off cue as much as on and it sure was fun. We followed open roads to wherever they led – which was not to lunch.

Closed on Mondays

Hungry, my breakfast was a Snickers bar in the train station, we found a restaurant/tavern which was closed on Mondays. Then another. And another. Finally we found a place in Kandern in the Black Forest which may have been Pizzeria Sanlorenzo, but I can’t say for sure. After a cyclists’ lunch of pizza, we headed out and up – up a beautiful road through the Black Forest.

Black Forest

Occasionally at a town or intersection Ben would check GPS but just as often we would say – “ watch let’s go that way” as long as it was headed south or west – back towards his home in Sissach.

Ben and a Bike Path in Germany

We were on country roads, for the most part not heavily traveled, but just as often we jumped on the paved bike paths which followed the roads.

Reaching Rheinfelden, Germany, Ben mostly knew the way except that a landmark old building was missing. A quick question to a tourist and we were headed across the bridge crossing the Rhine back into Switzerland, to Rheinfelden, Switzerland. Two questions really. Which way to Switzerland and is that water (in the fountain) potable? (It wasn’t)

Rheinfelden, Switzerland

Ben said from Rheinfelden it would be 15 km more – all uphill. Before leaving, we found a water fountain with potable water and filled our bottles.

Ben, filling his water bottle

Once we left Rheinfelden we were on a somewhat traveled road until going through Magden. And there the climb began. In earnest.

 

Bridge over River Rhine at Rheinfelden Germany and Switzerland

In the morning we had been riding on dead flat roads along the Rhine in Basel and in France. But in Germany we picked up some hills in the Black Forest and now we had a small mountain to get over. My Garmin was showing it was mostly 11-12%. This was a mini Mt. Washington – 12% but for only two kilometers and not 12 kilometers.

Ben at the summit before Sissach

And it was raining. Cloudy in the morning and sunny in Germany, the rain was coming down in Switzerland. But it felt good on the climb. Once over the top we had 3k back to town. I was able to drop the bike, change, and catch my train, all in a matter of a few minutes.

Meanwhile, back at the bike shop

Three countries on a bike. What a great ride!

Barry and Ben
Barry and Ben

A big SHOUT OUT to Ben and http://www.feellights.com/assignment-instructions/ Corinne Kolb, my hosts on this day. They were both exchange students in the 90s who I have kept in close contact with. And on this day they were both texting each other as to my whereabouts. I was staying with Corinne and she seemed very worried I would miss my train connections to Ben. And when I left Ben texted her with my EPA. Love you both!

Bridge Jumper

BERN, SWITZERLAND

I came to Bern not to ride but to swim. But I got in a ride. (And a blog entry!)

Bern is a neat city. As a genealogist, I trace most of my family history to Germany and England but I trace my http://www.holidayhometimes.com/paid-essays-online/ Wenger line to Bern. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, go here John or Hans Wenger, was born here in 1705. Welcome home.

I count among my blessings in life the years I worked with YFU. Those amazing foreign exchange students in the 1990s are now amazing young adults in their 30s. see url Céline Oreiller met me in Bern and knew my bucket list item – jump off the bridge into the freezing River Aare.

Looking back to the city from the bear pits

We walked the downtown area over to the bear pits. We followed a steep hill up to the gardens and across a high bridge back into town.

 

WARNING: Octopi in the River Aare

After lunch we made our way to the Cathedral of Bern, a place Céline had never been. Although I had a Swiss Rail Pass which was good for local transportation, it was in my stored bags at the train station. I cursed my decision not to have it. With it, we could have taken the funicular to the top of Bern. And we could have avoided the river.

The Kindlifresserbrunnen
A literal translation of the name Kindlifresserbrunnen
would be “Fountain of the Eater of Little Children”

Céline seemed to think I really wanted to jump off a bridge, probably because I told her that. Many times. I was content to climb the high towers of the Cathedral. Or just ride local transportation if I had my rail pass handy. She made it her mission to get me into the river.

Cathedral of Bern
Too Large to be captured by my camera

Around 5:00 p.m. the sun finally came out. We looked way down at the river below and found a “city bikes” location which offered “free” rentals, an oxymoron, indeed. For the first time today I was in my element. On a bike.

Céline, Barry

We rode across a high bridge then found some streets to quickly take us down to the river. At first we didn’t see anyone swimming but as we approached the Schönausteg Bridge, I thought must be the jumping bridge. Someone in a bathing suit walked by. We followed him across the bridge and watched him slip into the water and swiftly was taken away (safely).

Schönausteg Bridge

We didn’t see anyone jumping but the bridge looked like one I remembered in the BBC segment on swimming in Bern. Thankfully it wasn’t the bridge over to the bear pits which I thought I remembered.

I wasn’t sure if it was legal. There were no signs prohibiting it. So I went out on the bridge, climbed over the railing, being watched by others, not knowing what they thought. I was in the middle of the river and was standing on the suspension rails of the bridge. I thought I stood there for an eternity although it was really only a few seconds.

Jumping into the river I was carried away by the swift and cold current of the River Aare. At first it seemed cool being caught up in the current. But I remembered the most important thing is to get out of the river – there is a dam downstream.

Céline on a City Bike
I rode the same cruiser model

I swam towards the shore and saw the first take out point about 100 meters downstream – stairs built down to the river with a railing in the water. I tried to grab the railing and missed. I was being carried downstream. Just briefly, I stopped. I found a rock that I could prop my feet against.

The Dam Awaits

I was only one meter (three feet) away from the railing but the current was too strong to go against the current. And I could not climb out onto the river bank. I let go and went to the next one. I almost missed this, actually thought I had, but I grabbed the railing at the last possible second. Mission complete. So I went back and jumped again.

After I changed, we had to find our way back to the bike rental place. We climbed up a hill and found ourselves next to the American Embassy. I stopped for a photo op although was warned not to photograph the Embassy itself. I didn’t but the Swiss guard was cool. He turned his back. I could have.

U.S. Embassy

We dropped the bikes off after our ride and headed back to the train station to pick up my stored luggage and for me to catch the 6:36 p.m. train to Zurich. Bucket list item achieved.

I Love France (and You Too Switzerland)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Once upon a time I thought I’d use this day to circumvent Lake Geneva, a distance of about 110 miles. However, I realized the bike rental location I was going to use wanted a two day rental at 40 CHF per day. Plus the weather forecast called for a 90% chance of thunderstorms. The ride was off.

Train Station
Geneva, Switzerland

Well, the big ride was off. Staying one block from the train station, I found a bike rental location called Geneva Roule which was on the other side of the train station. For 25 CHF I rented a BMC road bike for the day. I thought that was a good deal.

Geneva Roule

I did not know where I was going. I was negotiating 100% by “feel” and just a little knowledge. This can be dangerous. Or fun. I knew the train station was north and west of the Rhône river so I looked at the sun and headed south. And east.

Geneva, Switzerland

There are many bike lanes in Geneva. Some are marked along with bus and taxi lanes and many run the same direction as the trolley tracks. Be very careful my friends.

Geneva, Switzerland

I crossed a bridge and then started my ride following Lake Geneva. I reasoned if I stayed closed to the lake I could not get lost. My original ride plan which would take me around the lake was simply using the roads that were hugging the lake.

 

Geneva, Switzerland
Rhône River

I was on city streets and saw there was a bike path next to the lake so I jumped on it. At Vesanaz the road peeled away from the lake. I went through a construction area and dropped most of the traffic as I continued on the back road.

 

Bike Lane painted leaving traffic with 1 1/2 lanes

On the road out of Geneva the bike lane is a bit higher than the regular lane and a bit lower than the walking lane. Each separated by an angled “curb.” Or sometimes the pedestrian lane was simply divided by paint.

Bike Lane with angled curb

And then it happened. I was going through Hermance, Switzerland and was going up the road, a slight climb, with some gravel on the road and a park and soccer field to the left. Maybe it was Chens le Pont or Sous le Cret. Or maybe even Lagraie. Little towns within two kilometers (one mile) of one another.

 

I think the Province/Region sign is behind this construction sign
Welcome to France

It just seemed French and no longer Swiss. And I noticed a road sign, D 20.

see I AM IN FRANCE!

French Road Signs
I am in France!

I think I was expecting a welcome sign. A Bienvenue sign. I doubted there would be passport control. But I was riding and had this moment — get http://danandcharlotte.info/economic-homework-help/ I am riding in France. And it was great. I was smiling.

I liked Italy. I like Switzerland. But there is just something about France. I love riding here.

Commune de Nernier, France

I had angst yesterday traveling from Tirano to Geneva. It was a long, but beautiful, day on multiple (four) trains. I worried about being stuck in a smoking room in Geneva (I wasn’t). When I arrived I didn’t know where the hotel was. But getting on the bike and riding in France, that just made everything better.

Commune de Nernier, France

In Chens-Sur-Leman I passed a bakery and cursed myself for not bringing those couple of 2€ coins I still had left. They were in my pants I left in the bike shop and would be so better used stopping and enjoying a chocolate croissant.

Always use SPF 1000 on your feet

As I was riding on a beautiful country road I saw an old church and diverted to it. There I discovered a community called Commune de Nernier. What a neat old village right on Lake Geneva. It was gated and I don’t know if I was allowed to bike in it but I did.

I was just so happy riding for part of a day in France. If I had any doubts how much I love riding in France the smile on my face said it all today.

Commune de Nernier, France

I returned to Geneva and used some time to explore parts of the town. It is a great city and I don’t want to diminish how much I like it here too by raving about riding in France.

Geneva, Switzerland
Rhône River

Looking back, I had a week of climbing some classic cols. That brings a satisfaction, especially Stelvio, unlike anything else. But riding in France today — pure joy!

Geneva, Switzerland
Rhône River