Sunday, July 21, 2013


My sister came to visit! My sister came to visit!

We're back in Zürich, one of our favorite cities in one of our favorite countries, and I finally got to share it all with my sister. It was a whirlwind trip that included a lot of swimming in very cold rivers and lakes, hiking in the Alps, beautiful sunny days, hanging with good friends, eating cake, and of course bicycle touring.

With all the fun, we only had time for a four day tour, which we maximized by taking the train out and riding the bikes back. We did a route (in reverse) that Joshua and I did last year. We also gave ourselves plenty of time to explore in non-bike touring ways. Last year we did the same distance plus an additional 15kms in only two days. This year we did it in four, doing about 30kms per day and going downhill rather than up. So. Tour-ism, here we go.

I don't think they mean it.

We rode from Lungern to Sarnen on day 1 after our train ride, which included the first stage of the Brunigpass climb - going down was really spectacular. That evening at the campsite we made the mistake of setting up next to some kids who stayed up late smoking their hookah and giggling. Corina actually asked them to be quiet, and then said she felt really old. Welcome to the club. I was very grateful that they quieted down, and it was funny to watch them wake up the next morning looking grumpy and poorly slept. Corina swam in the afternoon when we arrived and the next morning. I wimped out. So coooold!

We followed route 9 east and north, and made some friends along the way.

they made cute faces, but didn't want to eat the flowers Corina offered to them
swans tip their rear-ends straight into the air and eat off the bottom, apparently
this is an airport runway crossing - the bike path goes across an airport
what it looks like in the middle of an airport runway

On the second day we made it to Horw, just south of Luzern.

along the lake there's the best bike path. okay, they're all the best. this is Switzerland.
And here we decided that it was worth our while to go up to see Pilatus for ourselves. We went for a swim in the afternoon and sat around giggling about our camping neighbors, but decided that if we were up early enough the next morning, we'd go see Pilatus. This is one of the first dramatic mountains you see as you head south, and last year I became kind of obsessed, saying the name over and over again as we rode around and away from it - you can see the peak for a long time when you're touring through the valleys around Pilatus.

We got up relatively early, took our bikes to the Luzern train station, locked them up, put our bags in a locker, and bought ourselves a round-trip ticket - up on the Pilatus Bahn, which is the steepest train in the world at a 48% grade (so they say), and down on the other side by cable car and ski lift. Little did we know what the view would be like from up there.
pretty steep tracks
at the bottom 
getting more dramatic
oh right, mountains.
and an alpine horn 
you can climb a bit higher and see the full view
of the hotel and restaurant near the top
this guy with his pipe and beer. pretty sure he hiked up.
the flowers were incredible

The pictures do not do the view justice. The mountains were fully visible when we got up there, which isn't always the case. Even before we left, small clouds started to form around Pilatus and on the cable car down we went through clouds. It's just so moist here and with the temperatures in the mid-20s C (high 70s F), all that water just floats up and turns into clouds.

The same day as we did the whole magical Pilatus journey, we rode our bikes almost to Zug. More swimming, thank you very much.

The following morning we spent a bit of time wandering around Zug, which is a lovely little city. We did some tourist shop shopping and one of the shop owners gave us a key to the clock tower, so we could hang out and see the view while she gift-wrapped the things Corina bought. Then we headed back towards Zürich and unfortunately disaster struck.

Corina's iPhone? Gone. She probably had all the good pictures, sadly, and although we did our best, the iPhone is still missing. It's official, I need a new camera - my pictures are not enough. If it was going to be returned anywhere, it'd be in Switzerland, so we're keeping our fingers crossed. 

We rode back into Zürich, unpacked, and then packed back up so we could head into the Alps for some serious hiking with our good friends Thomas and Emily. With the views from Pilatus in mind, we were looking forward to getting a closer look.