Standing atop a meadow on the way back from swimming in the lake, I counted no less than 15 building cranes dotting the neighorhood where Thomas and Emily live. Zurich is definitely thriving. More remarkable is that the meadow was under cultivation (some sort of wheat I've never seen before) and from where I was standing I was a stone's throw away from a farm with dairy cows, sheep, pigs, and bees. As we were landing at the airport I saw a farmer raking hay into windrows at the edge of the runway. Every apartment building has gardens - some on the roofs. Many are magnificent. The way that the urban/agricultural boundary is blurred is very appealing.
Emily and Thomas in their kitchen - I finally caught Emily sitting still! It's been a busy couple of days and a full house for them. Emily's mom and aunt were here, as well as Joshua and I. Today Max is at daycare, so it's quiet in the house.
Yesterday Thomas took us on a city tour around the center of Zurich. I couldn't help snapping photos of all the great bike infrastructure. Below, lanes for everyone.
Even if you are turning left...
We rode up onto a path that goes over the river, an amazing urban river that flows from the gigantic lake which Zurich sits on. The people on the little bridges down there are going to jump in, float down to the other end, and climb out again. It moves quite quickly.
This is the old aquadukt, still used for trains up above, and with a bike/ped path below.
At the end, where they are expanding, but haven't completed it yet, there's a little staircase. But they threw down some rails so it's easy to take your bike up and down.
This is for the Bean. Awesome use of old shipping containers...
Thomas explains the signs. Here is an area where pedestrians have the right of way, bikes and cars can't go faster than 20km/hr, and it's generally discouraged for cars to drive through unless they really must.
The river again...
We stopped for a swim here. The water flows so fast that it is very difficult to swim upstream. Impossible, in fact, unless you are a very strong swimmer. So folks line up, jump in, float down, and climb out at the other end. It's a fast little ride, we did it three times. And it was freeeeezing.
This bike's top tube is a light. On the back, there's a little solar panel to power it.
Thomas took us up this crazy cobbled hill, after a sharp left turn where I almost hit some tourists. But we made it. And it brought us up to the old Roman battlement, left over from a long time ago. It is now a park, from where you can see much of the city. This is the old center of town.
We went for a bike ride, even though we were behind on about 16 hours of sleep over the previous two "nights" and were close to passing out. But what better way to adjust than to power through one more day.
I gave Max (2.5yrs) my camera to use while in his trailer. He managed a good photo of his Daddy (Thomas), checking out the Cashmere Chicken.
And he got a pretty good self-portrait:
We rode through beautiful Zurich, or the edge of it, I guess. There's an amazing integration of city and countryside, and we were out at the lake within 10 minutes of riding on paths that were either bike and ped only, or not wide enough for even one American car:
Katzensee, where people apparently arrive by bicycle:
Not too bad for "suburban" Zurich.
Tired but happy
One the way back, checking out the cows.
Along big roads like the one below, they put in a separate bike path.
And we stopped for fresh milk on the way home. That cow has the words Frisch Milch 24h on her side.
Joshua and the fields that edge the neighborhood where Emily & Thomas live in Zurich
Switzerland is great for bicycle riding. We watched the US fail against a very determined and skillful Ghana team, and camped in the back yard. We slept very, very well. Now we're heading for a little tour of the city on our bikes, and probably another swim in another lake.
Our flight took the great circle route over Canada, the Baffin Sea, Greenland and Iceland. Being the middle of summer, we had no night. So we didn't exactly sleep a lot. The upside? The most awesome views of icy waters, mountain tops of Greenland, and some Iceland glacier and rivers.
We rode 27 miles today from Elk to Point Arena down the Mendocino coast. We had a stiff wind at our back all the way - smooth runnings. We are here for Anna and Jim's wedding. This was our first ride fully loaded. We weighed our gear before we left. Ramona has 50# and I have 75# (gulp). There was a little pushing the bikes today: once up the drive way (no surprise), once up the switch back at the San andreas fault, and at the end up the gnarly dirt road to Anna's house. We stopped for a beer and a tequila in town and a local Welsch man shared his chips with us. Ramona looked stunning in her yellow skirt and blue tights. I wish I had snapped a picture because I was picking up some wicked visuals off her (thanks Federico).
We saw this Benz in Point Arena, CA and it made me think of Zak and Jana.
Before we pedaled the last 4m to the wedding, we stopped for a beer at the local bar. My right shoulder was a little sore. I swapped the weight from my rear panniers to the front before we left thinking it would make the bicycle a bit more stable. The result was a pretty wobbly ride and a lot of effort to keep the bike on the road. I mentioned this to Ramona and she said that a tequila would probably fix it. I ordered a small shot and balanced the shot glass on my shoulder before we drank it - seemed to work.