Our stay at Glutentargs was lovely. It was nice to get some rest before getting on the bikes and we enjoyed exploring the lovely town of Andermat. We got up early and had the most awkward breakfast ever with another man staying at Glutentargs place. The language barrier was a key factor in that awkwardness. We rolled out of glutentargs and boarded the train in our usual highly strung way. Is this the right train? How are we going to get all of our stuff on and off this train in time before it leaves? Turns out that there is heaps of time, still its not that easy with so much gear.
It seems to take us so much time to get everything ready and on the bikes, which I’m sure we will improve on. Having finally got all our stuff loaded we found ourselves in the heart of the Swiss Alps above 2000m looking down and the most amazing road we’ve ever seen, with about a dozen hairpin corners to coast around. Surrounded by mountain peaks, enourmous cliffs glaciers and stunning alpine views we wobbled our trusty steeds, Wally (amy’s) and Whaley(andy’s cos it’s overoaded) into the first steep descent and loved it.
Since then we have seen a lot of people on bikes, but only a few like us with all the camping gear on board. We have descended 1400m and just finished climbing 300m up. The total distance we are covering is about half of what we thought we would do, as we have to stop all the time an marvel, film and photograph so many amazing things we see along the way. On the first day of riding after taking a wrong turn that led us to a really great part of the ride we found ourselves in a huge hail storm and happened upon a tiny little wood shed to shelter in for about half an hour until the hail had eased enough to get out and ride again.
So it turns out the first few days were mountain biking, not really ideal on our touring bikes. Amazing trails through the bush. The other thing that didn’t quite go to plan was using lamp oil for cooking in a home made beer can stove. Due to the language barrier we ended up with the wrong fuel, a near bushfire when I tipped it over, and the blackest pot you could imagine. I was ready to give up on the beer can stove after the most stressful cooking experience ever. Glad to say that we got the right fuel now, and the beer can is cooking like a dream. Overall, my year 9 German is coming in very handy though. Turns out I was listening to the German teacher after all. I just ordered 2 large beers in full German with no mistakes.
After a very slow start to the distance we are covering, we are managing 50km + days. We are currently sitting at a bar overlooking a marina and Lake Konstanz. It has been well above 32 Degrees and way to bloody hot to be riding all day with a head wind! Most people in Switzerland are athletes, the old nana B&B host in Andermatt goes mountain biking, paragliding, skiing and we thought she was old and frail. We think that there might be a fat tax in Switzerland on fatty foods that we crave after 8 hours of packing up/riding/getting lost/checking the map/shopping for food that will survive 30+ deg heat and eating like a vegetarian for dinner. We are leaving camp on average at about 7am and getting to camp between 2 and 4pm. Unfortunately, ‘wild camping’ is not the go in Switzerland so we are in caravan parks with a million other people, but the showers are nice for sure. Looking forward to some “wild camping’ in Germany.
Travelling by bike is really quite nice. Bike touring is amazing! We are not hard core bike tourers, but are loving the life on the road. After a few shitty camp sites, there is nothing better than getting on the road again at the crack of dawn. We have improved signifiacantly to the first day. It took us 3 hours by the time we got up, packed up, made coffee and breaky and being on the road, Now we are doing it in an hour. This morning we couldn’t do it fast enough, we could wait to leave Buchs, due to the bells from the church that rang every 15 mins all throughout the night. We have been swimming in the Rhine River along the way to cool off.
We are carrying all together including the bikes about 85 kilos everyday. Even though this is a summit to sea, there is still a lot of uphills that we weren’t expecting. We have probably climbed 700 vertical metres all up over the last 5 days. But have descended a lot more than that.
We are sad to be leaving the Alps and the most amazing mountain scenery I could have ever imagined. We are looking forward to the adventures that lay ahead, swimming in the blue lake Konstance for the next few days, and whatever is around the next corner. We had our first conversation with an English speaking person today who was looking at our bikes outside a supermarket today. He thought that he would like to do this kind of trip.
Things that kinda suck but are all part of an amazing adventure
-being overtaken by old nannas or kids
-getting spiked / scared everday by my mountain biking pedal spikes
-the sunburn in weird places (ankles, feet, calves)
-not speaking german
-church bells we originally thought these were quaint and end up being awful. We camped next to a church where they went off every 15 mins all night long, I wanted to pack up, and night ride at midnight but Amy was not so keen.
P.S we are 4 giant Austrian Beers in, after going to 3 different countries so far today. Cheers