Aug
21
2009

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To Chur

by Tara

We started the day bright and early at 6:30AM so we could dash away safely from our relatively unhidden wild-camp last night. Breaking down was a quick affair, as we'd been careful to unpack as little as possible so as to afford ourselves an easy exit. Finally, something free in Switzerland!

With our things quasi-stowed and piled loosely onto our rear racks we pushed our bikes to a nice spot right off the cycle path we'd camped by to make breakfast. It was chilly and we took turns making French toast so we could both eat while it was hot.

Swiss Cycle Route Swiss Bicycle Path

Our route started with a scenic ride around the south shore of Lake Walen (or as the Swiss call it, Walensee). Sadly it was gray and cloudy so we didn't get to see it in all of its turquoise beauty. The day wasn't without exciting sights though; more than making up for the crummy weather was a very special bike path.

Walensee View Walensee View Walensee Bicycle Path

When the highway our route was following went through one of Switzerland's ubiquitous tunnels through a mountain, we had our very own bike-sized tunnel right next to it. How cool! As we rode through the mountain on our pint-sized and blissfully car-less path, I sang songs while Tyler chanted a nonsensical gregorian-sounding hymn about how stupid cars are.

Swiss Bicycle Tunnel Swiss Bicycle Tunnel

Emerging from the other side of our tiny tunnel we passed a small village and suddenly (all too quickly), Lake Walen was over! For the rest of our day we cruised along, enjoying an increasingly rare bout of flat valley riding. There were two routes we were considering to enter Italy—one (very mountainous) path through Andermatt and the relatively flat one we were on via Chur. I was thankful we chose the flat one!

Walensee Houses

On our way we stopped in the perfectly manicured spa/resort town of Bad Ragaz for lunch and briefly considered visiting their famous hot springs. While we were eating and looking at one of the many advertisements for the spa, we remembered it would be most likely be outrageously expensive and so we opted instead to finish our last 18km and find a campsite.

True to our Swiss friend Bettina's warning, it was nothing special. Save for a typical commercial downtown most of of the city seemed to be an industrial park devoid of any charm. The campsite was equally unwelcoming: shadeless, crowded, and located in right on the outskirts of the industrial sprawl.

It was pretty early when we arrived so we decided to stop at our usual haunt: the local McDonalds. Tyler got some work done and I finished one of the many books from my front-pannier library. After a few hours we rode back to the campsite and set up camp in the tent-only section. The place wasn't much to look at but it was relatively cheap (for Switzerland), "only" 23 francs a night! While I slowly pumped up our mattresses, Tyler set about making a delicious fried potato dinner with our thankfully trusty alcohol stove.

Tomorrow we start our ascent to Silvaplana!

We also stopped in at the Giger bar, decorated with all kinds of funky biomechanical artwork by Swiss surrealist, HR Giger. It turned out to be a bit of a let-down, but these chairs were cool!

Giger Bar

…and now for Tara's Flower Hour:

Dahlia Morning Glory

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