Sunday, June 07, 2009

Out and about around Vierwaldstattsee

There aren't a whole bunch of tourist attractions around the Vierwaldstattsee so i decided to take a ride. They're quite organised here and Caron found me a map of mountain bike routes and I chose one that 'should' take 2:30 and was of 'medium' difficulty. I am always a little conservative when grades are awarded because 'medium' sometimes means it will be easy and other times that it will be quite tough. Todays ride falls into the quite tough category.

The cycle map which, although quite nice for planning, is a bit difficult to actually use because it doesn't show actual roads; only cyclepaths and these are sometimes roads, sometimes next to roads and sometimes nowhere near the road so it is quite easy to lose one's way. This is what I did several times although I never had to backtrack fortunately. Jason would have loved this ride because it came with the requisite amount of pain; that is to say loads of it. The route profile climbs from the word go until it goes over a pass after 1200m of climbing and then descends all the way back home. It took me 4:30 although at least an hour of that was spent taking photographs and visiting a coffee shop to put something back into my depleted body.

When the climb started in earnest I happened to be behind a group of 5 cyclists but quite quickly overtook them; mainly because they stopped to have a rest. I also stopped but just not for quite as long and they were the only cyclists that I saw going up the hill. Once I had crested the hill I saw plenty of riders pounding their way up the other side of the hill as I was descending and it was nice to be able to give them a broad smile as I whizzed past. "Not long to go now!" was what I said; what I thought was "Only about another hour of pain, he he!"

At least the scenery was spectacular and I even had the experience of being charged by a cow. I didn't know that cows charge, the cow was on the other side of the paddock when she saw me and came charging down, udders out of control and cow bell ringing dementedly. There was only a single strand electrified fence between me and her and I remember thinking that this will really be a test of how well electrified fences work. I am happy to say that they are quite effective and with only 3m to go the cow took a left turn along the fence and then turned around and followed me up the hill waiting for any possibility to pounce. Lucky it wasn't an eland because then I would have been finished. An eland, for those that don't know, is about the same size as a cow but can jump over a 6' fence from a standing start - or so I have been told!

Arriving back it took me a while to sort myself out; doing these long rides on just water and no energy bars or drink really takes it out of one. We decided to go out for lunch but couldn't find anywhere that took our fancy so we ended up back at camp for tuna mayonnaise which went down a real treat. We did however find a really nice place to have supper (Rigiblick am See; I kid not) so after relaxing, reading, catching up on the blog that is where we went for supper. The weather is still playing silly buggers and can't make up it's mind whether it wants to be raining, sunny or windy or all three at the same time so eventually we just crawled into the bell of the tent and sat there.

The dinner was awesome and at 106Fr it should have been! We didn't order a starter but one arrive anyway, compliments of the chef, consisting of a a single grilled prawn with sweet 'n sour sauce and a gooseberry; this has to be tried to understand just how tasty it was. I followed this up with salmon taglietelle in an orange sauce while Caron had pan fried perch with almonds and potatoes and creamed spinach. It was awesome especially looking out over Vierwaldstattsee at the storm as it retreated across the waters.

On the way back we took a photograph of this:

we're not exactly sure what this is but there are loads of them all over town and seem to be the names of the children which live in the flats; why anyone would want to do this is beyond me. But then again, there are an awful lot of garden gnomes around here.

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