REHUMANIZE THE P.I.G.S.
part 4: Switzerland - Austria
Beginning of July, time to say goodbye to Tobias and Arianne super thankful for hosting me in the best way possible at the South West end of Switzerland. On this nice day I have to ride across the whole country to make it to Austria. I ask Tobias about the best route to follow on (as usual) non toll roads and his reply describes Switzerland in one sentence:
“Then you are obliged to pass through fantastic places”
We ride together for a few km, for totally different reasons though as he was just commuting to his daily work routine and we split as I make my way North East leaving behind this top guy. In the tender hands of Swiss countryside beauty is never a rarity and Col de la Croix which is right before Les Diablerets at 1778m confirms it:
The only mediocre thing around there is (as you may noticed on the right image above) the quality of tarmac, considering I am riding in Switzerland. Normally they really pay attention to road repairs hence the latter can last long. I saw workers pouring tarmac on cracks with a jar literally adapting the precision of a top pastry chef.
Right after Les Diablerets heading East, Col du Pillon welcomes me at 1546m:
I love riding on the 11 later. a route that passes through Weissenbach, gets even better around Boltigen but what really touched me more was the city of Thun. It is a medieval city built right by the Thunersee lake:
It really worth spending some time there even if you don't have much available to walk around this gorgeous city and tour around the lake. Especially the route on the North side of this lake is amazing crossing tunnels dug in the rock while the water of the lake is right beside you. The Brienzersee lake right at the east of Thunersee is as beautiful. The whole area there is very attractive and offers countless chances for pleasant pit stops.
I make a mistake later at Innertkitchen and instead of continuing east on 11 I take the 6 going South east. As I told you before though you can't go wrong at Switzerland - wherever you go you'll expose your eyes at wonderful views. This “mistake” of mine first leads me to lake Raterichsbodensee:
And then to Grimselsee:
Both of them offer perfect tarmac and nice bends for driving pleasure. Obviously the Grimsellpass is my next stop with the lake Totesee beautifying this special place.
Guaranteed attraction for the (sometimes quite funny) tourist buses:
At the end of the deviation this “mistake” caused, I do the Furkapass which has a unique wild beauty, lies at 2436m with a lot of snow and cold, while the weather is about to rain limiting my joy a little bit:
The left picture of me above is a kind offer by two cyclists who were more than happy to make it up there. They looked so excited that I offered to picture them so they did back the same to me. I am almost too hungry already to skip this foodie on the right picture but it is kinda too cold up there to enjoy eating so I decide to do so later in more human friendly conditions.
Heading for Austria I cross Lichtenstein which once more didn't impressed me that much (I was there a year ago November of 2009) and the main road that crosses it has a lot of traffic. Here I am at Austria and as I enter Hohenems, a mediocre town, I look for a place to stay for one night since my next host isn't available today. A cyclist out of nowhere offers to help me on that before I even step off my bike - probably attracted by a loaded motorbike with a Greek number plate. Greece is already often on the news worldwide for all the wrong reasons so maybe except from him being a super kind guy anyway there was a bit of mercy involved too. He shows me that by coincidence I have stopped only a few steps away from the local hotel and as I see no reception he escorts me to show what is what. This was my first experience with a fully automated hotel check in so I'm glad I got a helping hand. Since he was such a giving person I ask him where I can park my bike as the only space available around looked like the front space of a pizza house. He then tells me this also belongs to the hotel, pizza house is over and they serve their breakfast there instead. "Wow - I really wanna try that breakfast then" I thought, he assures me the bike will be more than safe during the night and I super thank this cyclist sent by the God of travellers (I guess...in case there is one...).
As I enter my room I am really glad it will offer me a nice rest after 400 km on non toll roads crossing all Switzerland at once. I also have the sound of a river which I can control its volume by inclining the window. Sweet. I go out for dinner and I find a good looking restaurant. The world football championship is still on, the German team does great and since I am solo, non German and indifferent to watching the match live I am offered an isolated table behind a tree. German wins Argentina, cars carry German flags and smiley passengers and I just walk back to drop dead on my bed.
Next morning it's finally time for that breakfast and wow - it really delivers! With a happy stomach and great weather I ride up to the nearby town of Dornbirn. This is where I would meet my friend Luna. Among other things in her life she has done a tour around South America for a year and a half alone on an Enfield. She changed around 5 pistons by herself on that trip. Now I am at her hometown she is away for the weekend so I would meet her sister Marianne first instead. I am early on our appointment so I decide to go at the local river where I find a place in the shade to sit for a while as the day turned quite like Greek summer. Funny how the locals are attracted to these paddles - sea spoiled enough coming from Greece I wouldn't even put my foot there while they even try to swim: