* September 26, 2008, Albergo San Gottardo Hotel, Switzerland:
I had the typical breakfast at the hotel, loaded up and starting making my way over the next pass, slowly heading back towards Italy. Check out how beautiful Interlaken is with the glacier-fed river running through it. I topped the GS tank and snuck a pic of a typical aisle of cereal in a store - some familiar, some not. Heading over the next pass ????, the scenery once again got more typical postcard like of Switzerland - it is so beautiful. Now I know where they got the design for so many cuckoo clocks! I then did more off-road exploring just up from a village. The road twisted up the side of a mountain (through a herd of sheep) and stopped. Not sure why, so I turned around and headed back down, then I saw the tunnel work - that’s why the road went up. It appears to be a huge construction or vent tube for one of the tunnels through their mountains. The Swiss are so expert and crafty with all their rock and cement work! Further up the road I pulled over at a statue dedicated to the construction workers and met two guys from Cologne, Germany - Holger and Hans. They were very nice and we had a great conversation about BMWs and riding. Holger spoke very good English, but Hans did not know much English, so Holger also translated back and forth. As we parted, they suggested I should stay at the hotel that they were at the top of the Tromel, which was the first road over the Swiss Alps in the early 1900s. That’s the photo that I wanted to be sure and get - it’s the windiest road in the entire Alps. I informed them that I had quite a few miles to do, if I was to make it back on time to return the bike, so not to count on me.
I continued over the pass (they were going the opposite way) and went by many dams and trams (I‘m a poet and don‘t know it). And check out those most excellent hiking/biking trails! More stacking of rocks. I was a bit disappointed that it was still foggy, and kind of felt robbed - heck, I STILL had not seen the full Swiss Alps! Then I crested the pass, and the sun started peeking through the fog - wow! I’ve seen pictures, but seeing the real deal is so awe inspiring! I pulled into a restaurant (that was motorbike friendly) for some coffee and just sat on their deck taking it all in. Stunningly beautiful! After coffee, I headed down the other side - just look at those windy roads! I elected to take a side route that would return me back to the bottom of this road. Man, it took me forever since I had to stop practically every 100 feet for photos and just to take it all in. Another thing about Switzerland - they have the most fat and contented-looking cows I’ve ever seen. And they’re just like the goats and sheep - big bells around their necks making for massive wind chimes. And check out that golf course - that tee is about 20 feet off the road (looks like a par three!). Once I got to the village and headed up the other road to return back, I tried confirming with a local that it was in fact open. He scratched his head, shook his head, and that’s when we both realized that the route I was trying to take (displayed on my GPS) was actually a small train track - doh! So then I had to suck it up and go back over the same pass again - shucks.
I have finally reached my zen, or coupe de grace of road biking: riding the Swiss Alps!
Then I headed down and up another pass that would take me to the Tromel area. Yet more stunning vistas! I could spend months in this kind of beauty! On the other side of that pass, I then started up the Tromel - wow - cobblestone even! But it was after 5pm and was getting COLD! I eventually made my way to the summit and the Albergo San Gottardo Hotel, found Hans & Holger, snagged a room (the last one!) and got cleaned up and settled in for the evening. One odd thing I realized was that the GS front brakes began to no longer work. Inspection showed that the brake fluid was low, so it was best I spent the night anyway. I would try to find some brake fluid in the morning. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and they suggested I try Rosti, which is a local, traditional food consisting of potatoes, ham, sausage and eggs - very tasty! We went through numerous bottles of good beer and closed down the place after midnight. I really enjoyed their European viewpoint of everything, including their thoughts on America. One thing I’ve noticed throughout the countries I’ve been in: everyone is very knowledgeable about world politics, especially America. I noticed that most everyone is very tired of Bush, and is extremely curious about how things will work out with the next president. Enlightening, especially since (it seems to me) so many people in America could care less about politics.
Leaving Interlaken - a beautiful city.
Another cool Honda tiddler.
A convenience-store breakfast aisle. A few things different, and a few not so different.
Up through the next pass.
The Swiss really take care of their places and have zillions of flowers.
Sheep, wondering what that two-wheeled thing is.
Massive tunnel vents? For perspective, notice the truck at the bottom. A tribute to the construction workers.
Hans, Holger and yours truly. Great guys. They were amused by my riding attire.
Continuing up over the pass.
Look close and you can see the two hikers sitting on the rock.
The old roads are still cobblestone.
Another huge tram.
People like to moto on the Alps!
Check out the rock work on the hiking trail.
Yup, there's a hotel out on that rock island in the middle of the lake.
Fog, fog, fog, dangit...
FINALLY - SUNSHINE! My first view of the Alps!
Had to unload some cappuccino - I managed to score a few points in the soccer goal.
Just around the corner, this is what I was presented with! Now things REALLY started to look incredible!
The Alps like moto.
Share the road, there's plenty of room, right? Oh, and don't go off the edge - it's a quick flight!
Too many pictures, I know, but it was just too beautiful not to share.
More happy, fat cows.
Looks to be a par three! It was about 190 yards across the small valley and up to the green on the other side.
My dashboard view is prettier than yours. Onward over the next pass.
The newer Tromel Road, and the original, finely cobblestoned Tromel - awesome!
Another hotel room view. Man, was it cold out! And my dinner of Rosti, along with friends Holger and Hans. And doesn't our waiter's hair look just like James Brown's?