Following a lovely couple of days in Konstanz, we crossed the border into northern Switzerland and followed the River Rhine to Schaffheusen. We found a riverside camping spot that was so quiet and picturesque we decided to stay for a couple of days to make the most of it and explored the town with its fresco decorated buildings and old canton fortress. We also visited the nearby Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall.
We headed south to Winterthur, and spent Barry’s birthday doing a hilly 90km ride to Zug, with a Birthday cake stop on route:
Next stop was the beautiful town of Luzern, famous for its pretty flower-decked covered wooden bridges and great views of the distant Swiss Alps:
We crossed the Brunig Pass and had stunning views to reward the steep climb:
After a night in Meiringer we parted company for the morning …….. Barry cycled up Grosse Scheidegg (2000 m) while Julia caught the bus, with her bicycle and all the luggage. Barry had the treat of a 17km killer climb with no panniers and Julia got to enjoy the stunning scenery without any pain. It took Barry less than 2 hours to get to the summit. Having travelled up the switch-back route of steep gradients by bus, Julia assessed that it would have taken her at least 8 hours by bicycle! After a fun and fast descent with amazing views, we cycled up the valley to Lauterbrunnen, to enjoy more stunning scenery.
After an overnight stopover in Interlaken we went to the pretty town of Thun and then spent the following day cycling in pouring rain to the capital city Bern. In 12 weeks and 3,300 kms it was only the third day that we had cycled in the rain.
The historic old town of Bern is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (one day I’ll count up how many we have visited in total on this trip!) and Bern is ranked among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life. After a day exploring Bern, we cycled to Neuchatel and on route crossed from German speaking to French speaking Switzerland. Next stop was Lausanne on Lake Geneva, from where we followed a cycle route that weaves through the vineyards covering the northern shores of the lake.
From Vevey (home to Charlie Chaplin and modern day stars) we caught a paddle-steamer boat along the length of the lake to Geneva and enjoyed a lazy afternoon soaking up the sun and the scenery.
The cycling in Switzerland has been excellent [JJ – albeit a tad hilly in parts! Mr G- just more bumps darling] with an amazing network of well-signposted routes for road bicycles, mountain bicycles, roller-bladers, canoes and hikers!!
We are now in Geneva, where we are spending a week staying with and meeting up with Barry’s friends, most of whom he hasn’t seen since he left Geneva 4 years ago. It has been lovely to have a ‘pause’ from travelling and to stay in one place for longer than a couple of days and spend time with old friends. Julia celebrated her Birthday in Geneva and had a lovely time, complete with a home-baked birthday cake (thank you Caroline), bubbles (thank you Eric & Katie), Swiss chocolates (thank you Mr G), a day spent hiking, an evening on the town and even a birthday enchilada (thank you Will).
Once again we send a huge ‘thank you’ to the wonderful hosts who offered us amazing hospitality on our journey through Switzerland. We stayed with 7 Warm Showers hosts during the last 2 weeks and really enjoyed all of our stays. We loved hearing about all their various cycle touring adventures, many of which make our trip seem sedate! It has really enhanced our touring experience to meet such generous, interesting and inspiring people 🙂
We will spend the next 10 days heading down the Rhone Valley towards the South of France to meet up with Aussie friends holidaying near Avignon.