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Old 01-23-2009, 08:59 AM   #1
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Switzerland - If the weather holds!

Hi folks,

here is another ride-report from the european alps.

Switzerland 2007

7th- 10th June

If the weather holds!!


The Prepping
The Club-ride of the Free-Biker Sonthofen is a fixed item in the annual calendar and always starts off with the question: Where-to this time??

As to me Switzerland is the crown jewel of the Alps, plans were ripe for a Swiss-Ride, regrettably the fact that Switzerland is quite expensive still holds true.

Time for a snoop around the Swiss Forums and I hit pay dirt at http://www.toeff-forum.ch, the reply came 2 hrs after posting my queries. Great accommodation and food was promised at the Simons-Herberge, and SFR 32 for the night with SFR 13 dinners, the email was promptly on its way.
Just as prompt was the reply…. BINGO!!!
Switzerland…here we come!!

Lake Brienz




To be more exact: the Bernese High Country, one of my favourites and one of the prettiest areas of the Alps!
7 bikes and 10 people, with Hannes splitting off at Meiringen for his trip to Lake Geneva.
The forecast was so/ so…a bit of everything from sunshine to thunderstorms.
What the hell, let’s go with the usual 9am start!

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Old 01-23-2009, 09:01 AM   #2
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Day 1….Sonthofen - Meiringen

Start was – as usual – at 9 am.

At the start



It was dry, but the clouds covered the mountaintops. First to Altstädten and Fischen then up the Riedbergpass (1420 m) via Hittisau and Lingenau to Alberschwende and Dornbirn.
Then into Switzerland and the town of Au for a fill up and a short conference to decide, which of the two possible routes to take.
We settled on the slightly longer but more scenic way via St. Anton, the Ruppenpass (1003 m) and Trogen, the glorious bends to Oberegg and on to Appenzell.

Near Hemberg



From here via Urnäsch to Bächli and Hemberg… the Restaurant Hörnli offered itself for lunch.
Off we went again via Wattwil, across the Rickenpass (794 m) to Rapperswil and Lake Zürich. Past the lake it a quick right/ left and up into the saddle (932 m).

Following the signs to Zug to get to Arth at Lake Zug proved to be wrong after getting to Lake Ägeri. A quick turnaround got us via Steinerberg (brilliant views onto Lake Lauerz here) to Lake Zug, skirting the southern shores to get to Küssnacht at Lake Vierwaldstätter.
Entering Luzern, the Collective decided on a Coffee break, the bridge across the River Reuss just too picturesque and unique to fly past. Hard to image that the bridge burned down a few years ago…


Lake Vierwaldstätter / Luzern








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Old 01-23-2009, 09:02 AM   #3
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Stefan had lost the key for the helmet lock! …Hannes took off towards Lake Geneva and the rest boiled in their gear, waiting. A small Allen key from the next service station fixed the problem and the flipper-helmet came off, yeeha !

Along Lake Vierwaldstätter towards Sarnen, and the skies looked dark but the rain held off. Past Lake Sarnen and Lake Lungern it was up the Brünigpass (1008 m) and on to Meiringen, the day’s target.

The Simons-Herberge was easy to find, the rooms proved simple and rustic with not too much comfort, but they’re very reasonably priced…for Switzerland, anyway.

Simonsherberge Meiringen



Here we met Fred from Frechen (near Köln), who wanted to hook up for the next 2 days. Dinner (Sfr 13 Franken /~9 €) was Geschnetzeltes, Rösti and Salat and a small dessert…. and Stefan made up for the Luzern-wait with some complimentary drinks for the bunch.

Toursheet from Sonthofen to Meiringen




Best greatings from Germany
Rudi
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:18 AM   #4
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Day 2 Swiss Highlights!

Start around 9…. and 4 Passes above 2000m were on the program….the skies clear for a great day ahead.
From Meiringen to Innertkirchen before the cracker of a run up the Grimselpass (2165 m). Past Lake Räterichsboden and Lake Grimsel to the top – what a dream-road!!!

Grimselpass







At the top, the small road to Lake Oberaar was closed due to road works; the 6km stretch (toll-free) is useable for 10 mins at full hour, and 10 mins every half-hour for the return. What a disappointment, the views to the Oberaar Glacier, the Finsteraarhorn (4274 m) and the Lauteraarhorn (4042 m) are magnificent from there.

Missing out this time around, we went on to Gletsch, as the clouds decided to move in a little.
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:19 AM   #5
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At the Grimselpass





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Old 01-23-2009, 11:20 AM   #6
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The way down offers great views onto the Rhône-Glacier and the Furkapass.
A right turn in Gletsch and Ulrichen isn’t far, the start of the Nufenenpass (2478 m) As usual, this means a “free for all” …pegscrape or tootle to your hearts content.

Nufenenpass









A short Photo-Stop at the saddler before the descent to Airolo – I took it slowly here, the views are just too beautiful.
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:21 AM   #7
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Then up the St. Gotthard-Pass (2108 m) using the old cobblestoned road and its 24 hairpins—The Tremola needs some care but is an absolute “Must-Do” when in the area!

Old Gotthard-Road (Tremola)





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Old 01-23-2009, 11:22 AM   #8
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Another shortstop before the drop into Andermatt and an experience of the “special kind”…
Needing to fill up, I stopped at the petrol station at the edge of town. Taking the browser—nothing works.
The young attendant grabs the hose and proceeds the fill up someone else !!?
I wait, and then try again. Once more, nothing works. He asks if I want to pay by card, confirming that, I’m told to punch in my PIN.
“That won’t work with a German card! Always the Germans—nothing but trouble”
Some back and forth, we settle on cash.
Petra asks him if he doesn’t like Germans…. No, hates them!
Handing over the change he drops (deliberately) some coins to the floor…he also hangs onto part of the change…as a tip!!!
By now I had enough and insisted on all of it, last time ever I’ve stopped at this place!

The Andermatt- Göschenen stretch calmed the nerves again.
Here a beautiful, narrow road climbs to the Göscheneralp (1797 m) ab, a little side-trip NOT to be missed. Everyone enjoyed the winding and traffic-free asphalt crowned by a good Cappuccino.
A quick return trip to Lake Göscheneralp, with some grand views into the High Mountains

Lake Göscheneralp



Back to Göschenen and on to Wassen, turning up the Sustenpass (2224 m) Another brilliant bike road of Central Switzerland, this is a load of fun.
A-grade bend-surfing!!!

Sustenpass/Stein Glacier





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Old 01-23-2009, 11:26 AM   #9
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Sport touring doesn't get much better than this

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Old 01-23-2009, 11:26 AM   #10
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Another short stop at the saddle before descending past the Stein Glacier and some exceptional bend-carving to Innertkirchen.
Instead of taking the direct route to Meiringen, we turned left just short of town into the Reichenbach Valley and Schwarzwaldalpe / Rosenlaui.

Schwarzwaldalp



We just couldn’t miss out on the steep, wet and slippery climb to the Rosenlaui-Glacier-Gorge, the narrow path is permanently drenched by the wet fog of rushing water tumbling down from the glacier, the rock walls easily 70 to 80 Meter high.
It’s like being inside a dishwasher, what a spectacle of nature!

Rosenlaui Gorge





From here it’s finally back to Meiringen, ending a fantastic day with some drinks in cosy surrounds.

Toursheet "Swiss Highlights”



All pics from day 1: http://www.motorradrudi.info/Schweiz...ae7b634.0.html

day 2 (1st part): http://www.motorradrudi.info/Schweiz...0463a8c.0.html

day 2 (2nd part): http://www.motorradrudi.info/Schweiz...6cec958.0.html

(klick on the image for bigger size)

Best greatings
Rudi
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:00 PM   #11
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great stuff.......

as usual......thx......bruce
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:34 AM   #12
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Sorry, for being late with the last part of the trip - but here it is!

Day3-Bernese High Country

Another day of exceptional highlights: The Bernese High Country
Once more a 9am start for the photostop at Lake Brienz.

Lake Brienz



Along the shores at a leisurly pace to Interlaken, then Wilderswil and into the Lauterbrunnen Valley, turning left to Grindelwald. Rolling towards the gigantic Eiger North Face is something else…

Eiger-North Face



Through town, the way leads towards the foot of the Upper Grindelwald Glacier, yet another stunning sight. After the carpark the road is closed for public traffic, open only for the local bus/ public transport.
After the stop it was back to the Lauterbrunnen Valley towards the town of Lauterbrunnen where the Staubbachfalls drop over 300m over the steep cliff onto the valley floor, one of the highest waterfalls in Europe.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley hosts a total of 72 waterfalls!
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:35 AM   #13
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Continuing to Stechelberg we then turned back to Interlaken and uphill to Habkern, another smorgasbord of bends. Just shy of the village, a narrow road signed to “Bort” provides fantastic views into the valley, Lake Thun and the incredible mountains of the Bernese High Country.

View towards Lake Thun



Narrow roads



A few k’s on a sign points to Beatenberg, the next “target”, but first another stop to enjoy the scenery.

Lunch Break



Perfect conditions for the Paragliders, who obviously had a ball.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:40 AM   #14
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Then on via Beatenberg and another tiny road (toll-road) to Sigriswil, with more impressive vistas to Lake Thun and beyond. Turning north in Sigriswill, following the signs to “Schwanden” first, just past Meiersmaad we turned right towards “Horrenbach“. Following the road, it soon turned into a rollercoaster, following the terrain to Eriz, where the road widens again.
After all the slaloming it was time for a coffee-break before the climb up the Schallenberg (1167 m). Past the crest it’s on to Marbach and Escholzmatt.
Obviously one of the local “racetracks”, as there were many more bikes about…

The last “Highlight“ was the Glaubenbüelenpass (1611 m), the road fairly wide to Sörenberg, narrowing down once past the town.
Up the pass it was on again for young and old…but the drop from the top brought some heavy bike-traffic, some of it not necessarily in their own lane….some just never learn!
In the valley it was past Lake Lunger for a photo-stop above the lake, a very scenic spot. While parked, a whole group of Fiat 500s passed….I never would’ve believed there’s still so many of them out and about!

Lake Lungern




At the Brünigpass



After that short interlude, there was more bend-surfing across the Brünigpass (1008 m) back to Meiringen and it looked like we’d timed our last break perfectly, as the roads were soaked by some very recent rain…. a day where our “weather-luck” held perfectly, despite the later reports of some heavy thunderstorms and flash flooding in some areas of the Bernese High Country.

And then came “Pizza-Night” !!
The walk around town the previous night had resulted in the choice of venue for our last night…the pizzeria next to the train station. It looked fine…with pricing distinctly in the upper region (around 13 – 14 € for a pizza!!)….but that’s Switzerland for you.
We’d booked a table for 10 and were looking forward to it..

Pizzeria in Meiringen



Things started slow, very slooooowly…food could only be ordered after the drinks were served….and the order of those was sloooow. No surprise then, when the wait dragged out…and out….until some HUGE plates appeared.
Huge plates allright, each could’ve taken 3 of the pizzas that sat on top !
Lots of big, wide crust…solid enough to use knives and forks vigorously.

Big Plate - Little Pizza



Have to give them one thing, though…the taste was fine. Things didn’t speed up when it was time to pay, the bill was “all-on-one”…
“You can split it between all of you”
Noooo, we didn’t want to…
“I’ll be back when I’ve got time then”…
Hmmmm…
Things didn’t stop there, some back/ forth about prices of this and that….but finally we made it out of the dump, let that be a warning to all future travellers to Meiringen: Stay away from the Pizza Shop!!

Toursheet Bernese High Country




All pics from day 3: http://www.motorradrudi.info/Schweiz...1fd80c9.0.html
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:45 AM   #15
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Day4… The Return loop - Meiringen – Sonthofen

After fixing the bill and a big thank-you to our hosts it was time to get rolling again Fred , who’d been doing really well on his CBR 600 despite missing pass-experience, had to leave us for home, at least it was in brilliant sunshine…
Off to the Grimselpass (2165 m) for the rest of us.

Grimselpass



Once more, down to Gletsch and a left turn up the Furkapass (2431 m). The uphill stretch is fairly wide and easy to navigate, the drop down the other side is lots narrower and the sheer drop on the right looks threatening.
Through Andermatt and up the Oberalppass (2044 m).

Oberalppass



A short break, then via Sedrun and Disentis towards Chur for lunch (and a short meet with some folks from the Swiss Chopper Forum (www.chopperforum.ch). Chur to Landquart is a quick section, but some roadwork in Landquart had us baffled. A very convoluted detour resulted in a myriad of turnoffs to get us back to where we’d started!!
We worked it out in the end, though….Maienfeld, Balzers , thenVaduz/Liechtenstein.

From here via Feldkirch and Götzis to Dornbirn for a right turn across the Bödele and Schwarzenberg to Hittisau. Goodbyes were said at the service station before the short hop back home to Sonthofen.

Toursheet back home to Sonthofen




Wrap-up:
It’s been a GREAT weekend and been a lot of fun again, there just isn’t anything better than Swiss Passes and a good bunch of riding mates!

Incredible Landscapes!

Superb Bike-roads!

Fun pure!

Note:

Many thanks to Fred and Mäggi, allowing me to use some of their photos

All pics from the last day: http://www.motorradrudi.info/Schweiz...36a94c4.0.html

Lots more pics (100+) here:
Schweiz 2007 - Fotos

More info, tour-sheets etc (in German) can be found here:
Schweiz 2007

With a BIG cheers from Sonthofen, Germany
Rudi
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