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Charlie's Page

JUST A FEW WORDS ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN MY WORLD.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I arrived in Bern on the 2nd. As I have said before, I would love to live here. The downtown is beautiful.



It's clean and people don't steal bikes - well, very rarely. Socially, they are polite.

Christophe, Erika and I left on Friday for Lucerne (Luzerne) Erika and Christophe rode a tandem. (Erika is legally blind.)



It rained pretty heavily just before our first overnight stop, Glarus. This is a photo from our window in the morning.



The next day started out with a long mountain climb. They had closed the mountain pass road to cars so there were many people riding along with us.



Both Erika and Christophe are strong riders. They started the climb in the morning faster than me. I also would stop to take photos. A couple of hours later at the top of the pass, I couldn't find them. (I imagine at anyone time there were about 250 people up there.) I bought a something to eat and kept looking for them for about 20 or thirty minutes or so. I noticed a tandem couple with a blind woman and I asked if they knew Erika. She did and he didn't notice them coming down the other side. (She didn't want to call Erika.) Christoph told me where we were to stay that night but I didn't remember but decided that they had left. Before I left, I decided to use the toilet once more. It was a good thing that I did because as I was going to my bike - there was Christoph. They took a detour on the way up and were way behind me.

On the way down, I had gone around a tight bend and heard a loud "crack." I looked back and the tandem had gotten a flat on the rear tire. Was it because of all the heat generated by the force of braking with all that weight going down the steep hill. I'm sure that had something to do with it but I'm sure there were other factors.







This is just outside of the town the next day, Casaccia. It was all downhill to Chiavenna, Italy where I realized that I had left my passport and wallet. We called the hotel who found it and kindly sent it back to Bern. They didn't check my passport when I entered Italy.

After lunch we did a few hours of climbing and then stopped for the night in Campodolcino. The next day we continue the climb up towards Spulgenpass where we had to discuss the way that we were going to possibly have to explain to Swiss customs why I didn't have a passport.




There was no one home so we easily passed into Switzerland down the other side.



We stopped in Thusis where Erika and Christoph took the train back to Bern. They were in a bit of a rush to get the next train so I took the address of the place that Christoph had found on the internet for me to stay. I rode up the hill but it was no longer in existence. I went to the tourist information and got the address on a farm 10 km (6 miles) away. I climbed into the town of Paspels and asked where the farm was. It was another kilometer straight up a steep hill. In the morning, I had a very nice fresh farm made breakfast and then met Christoph at the train station in Chur.

From there, it wasn't a difficult ride but as the afternoon went on I began to get more and more fatigued. We stopped early in a small town Tavanasa. I started feeling sick. I decided to eat healthy so I started with a salad followed by Gazpacho soup - but it ended up being fairly spicy which is unusual. I went to the bathroom. When I came back, Christoph was talking with the owner. We were talking and he suggested the local specialty - ice cream. After that I said that my stomach wasn't feeling so well and he offered a digestive. It was a strong alcoholic drink which I drank too much of. To sum up, all and all a bad combination of food. I had to run to the toilet many times before I went to bed. (Not a good thing when you're sitting on your butt all day long.)

I fell asleep for less than two hours when I woke up with stomach and intestinal cramps. It hurt like a SOB but since it kept moving, I knew it had to do with something that I ate and that I had to just wait it out. It felt a lot better at about 5:30 in the morning then got slightly worse. At around 7, we were discussing that I had to take the train back to Bern but I had to go to the next station a few kilometers downhill or if I felt OK, uphill. As we were packing up, we discussed several scenarios. The planned day was to continue upwards to Oberalppass but then take to train to the top from a station a little less than 20km (12.5M) away. Suddenly just after 8, I felt like I could try it. I could always turn around and head downhill or take the train in Disentis back to Bern as our trip was almost over anyway. I so LOVE bike touring in Switzerland that I wanted to continue.

About 5 km (3 m.) of riding slightly uphill convinced me that I could do it. We took the train up to the top and from there most of the rest of the day was downhill. I felt fine despite not eating breakfast. The rest of the day, I just munched bits a pieces of food all day long and things ended up fine. I think that it was caused by the maybe-not-so fresh farm food that I had eaten on the farm. The only dietary change that I had was there - their sausage, sliced ham and unpasteurized milk. Or maybe one of their cheeses.




We had a great nice long ride down hill to Lake Lucerne and stayed at the same hostel that we did two years ago. We ended up doing 92 km (58 m.) I felt good and ate a lot that evening. The next day Friday, we rode back to Bern with a short train trip on the mostly uphill portion of the trip because I still wasn't feeling completely recovered. As we were getting very close to Bern, I expressed great sadness at having to end the bike tour. Since I wasn't leaving until Wednesday, Christoph said that I could still go riding for a few days. Hmmm. INTERESTING idea.

I went to the Paul Klee Center on Saturday. (see my August 17, 2007 entry)

Sunday, I left for Lauterbrunnen a beautiful valley that was my favorite place in Switzerland for two nights. I decided just to stay there because the forecast called for rain on Monday and Tuesday. If you're headed towards Thun, I found the road in which you can drive your tank on....



It rained the first night I got there and was generally cloudy the next day with periods of sunshine. This is the view from my room with the train that goes up to Wengen.










This is the view from Wengen a small town which doesn't allow cars to come in from the outside. They bring supplies up mainly by train.







This is taking forever to do so I'll leave this part of the trip with a final Lauterbrunnen photo of the semi-famous Staubbach waterfall.





















(I'll try to do the Venice part of the trip before I leave for London on Sunday and then post a bunch of photos on Flickr.)

posted by Charles  # 9:56 AM

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