With apologies to Ralph Waldo Emerson
Monday, September 1
Rigi to Grindelwald
Today has to be less eventful than yesterday. RIght? Actually, there were no uneventful days on the Swiss ride, but some were sure more stressful than others. Read the post about yesterday's ride, for example.
But, today (in the "we are back in August on the Swiss ride" sense) is a new day with new adventures awaiting. And wait they did. Given our perch high up on Rigi we were quite limited in our options. We could a) take the 7 a.m. train with all of the school kids down to Goldau or b) wait for the 9:30 train. Having to get up, dressed, packed and breakfasted in time to walk down to the station for a 7:00 a.m. train did not seem to be the best idea so 9:30 it was. This did provide the opportunity to ride the train UP to the last stop for a view from the top, the very thing Laurenz had brought us up here for. So, we dutifully marched down to the station around 8:30 to wait for the train. It so happens that there are web-cams on the mountain and they were sharing the views via a monitor on the platform. And the view from the top was fog. Or clouds, from the inside, if it really matters. This certainly changes things. We can ride up and put our heads in the clouds or go back to the hotel and have some more coffee. And the answer is...
Well, Laurenz was disappointed that we did not get up to the top, but what can you do about the weather?
Coming Down from Rigi
By the time we got back to Goldau, retrieved our bikes and got instructions for getting out of town it must have been around 10:30. Now for any bicycle tour, this is a really LATE start. And, true to form, Laurenz directs us out of town on a bike route that turns into a cattle path almost as soon as we leave the station area. We mountain bike down towards the highway, inappropriately outfitted for this segment of the ride with lightweight bikes sporting narrow, high pressure tires. It is not clear that we are going the right way, but Bob is confident. The same Bob who confidently sent us up the walking path towards Rickin, I might add. But, not having a better idea, we follow and eventually make it to the lakeshore town of Brunnen. From here, we follow a very nice lakeside road around through Gersau to the Vierwaldstattersee ferry dock. There is no ferry at the time, so we retire to the restaurant for coffee.
Rupert Enjoying the Wait for the Ferry
We wait about 45 minutes, during which time the rest of the riders, save Earne, arrive then motor across the lake to Oberdorf where we finally continue the ride. It has been several hours since breakfast, only about one of which has actually been spent attached to the bike.
Corinne and Laurenz on the Ferry to Oberdorf
It is a cool, gray day with drizzle off an on. We ride west, the plan being to get over to Meiringen. At one point, Bob follows me up to a bike path which soon deteriorates into a difficult riding surface. Bob suddenly turns off of the path into the deep grass of the field to our right and I follow. We plow through the field a short way before reaching the road which we follow into Waltersberg. We have separated from the rest of the group, so we stop to wait, assuming they will come up on the main road we have reached. Bob soon gets a call from the group...Chris has a problem and is looking for a chain tool. They are on the bike path near the airfield, so we head in that direction. It doesn't take long to find the riders ~ they are approaching the road on which we are riding and it is obvious that Chris has already solved his mechanical problems.
Now Which Way?
We ride on a bit, but upon considering the lateness of the hour and the relatively little progress we have made so far, we make a major change in the plan for the day. Bill and I decide to ride into the small town of Stans to get a train to Interlaken. From here, we can ride up into the mountains, something Bill has suggested from his experience is something we really want to do. We JUST MISS the train at Stans and have to spend another 45 minutes waiting. It is a long ride as we have to go to Luzern, change trains and backtrack a bit before going on through Meiringen then along the lake to Interlaken. After lunch in the square in front of the Interlaken Ost train station, we take off, now having given up on the idea of a ride to Lauterbrunnen before going up to the day's final destination of Grindelwald.
We get a bit turned around as we leave Interlaken and, at one point, stop and ask some soldiers, who seem to be guarding a speed bump, if we are on the road to Grindelwald. They reply that they do not know. "Perhaps this is how the Swiss army succeeded in invading Liechtenstein", muses Bill. We finally get everything sorted out and are on the way up. It is a marvelous ride in the late afternoon; there is little traffic as most of the tour busses are coming down, making their return trips to Interlaken, mostly loaded with tourists from Japan. I wonder who is watching the country.
Lost Near Interlaken
I am blown away by Grindelwald. In the hotel room, I look out - and UP - to an amazing view of the tallest of the Swiss mountains. I call Shirley and can only say, "You just would not believe what I am looking at!" She tells me later that I said this a lot when I called, but this time, I really MEANT it!
Rugged mountains rise up almost startlingly from the high valley. You can close your eyes and still feel their massive presence. Towering, steep, right there in-your-face mountains, the sharp edges not even begun to be worn down by the winds of time. There are clouds around the peaks early on. As they clear later, one of the peaks is exposed, a glacier glowing like a golden beacon in the late afternoon sun.
Click on the image for an up close view of the glacier
It was an unusual day as cycle touring days go, with a lot of waiting. But as I looked out on the dark falling down upon the mountains, I think it was well worth the wait.