Sunday 8 – Wednesday 11 October 2017
After debating between a detour through cheaper Austria or driving through expensive Switzerland, I decided on Switzerland. Curiosity won. And I thought I might as well make the most of it and spend 3 nights in Switzerland too, and do some hikes in the mountains.
The drive over from Pietrasanta (Italy) to Gersau in Switzerland, was another beautiful one. Like a multiple hour documentary. But unfortunately the Gotthard tunnel cost me an hour’s traffic jam before the tunnel, because they use traffic lights at the entrance in order to avoid traffic jams inside the tunnel.
It’s a pretty bizarre experience to be in a tunnel for 17 kilometers. After about 10 minutes you really start to wonder if it’s ever going to end. But the light in the tunnel is pretty good, almost like gaps with daylight. Not like some tunnels on Sicily where you almost fall asleep, they’re so dark and long.
Good value hotel
Gersau is a cute little village by the lake shore of Vierwaldstättersee, or in good English translation: Lake Lucerne. Hotel Tübli is also very good value, less than €70 per night including a big breakfast! The owners are on holiday but the father is taking over, a very sweet man who helped me with specific hiking recommendations.
I had soup at a nice restaurant with friendly staff, and some snacks in the hotel.
A walk in the clouds
On Monday I took a cable car up from Weggis to Rigi Kaltbad because I wanted to do an easy walk that day, but still have a view. And I think the views were spectacular. 🙂 If it weren’t for severe fog, and basically being inside the clouds. Ha ha….
Anyway, that also gave it a mysterious aspect, and sometimes I could really see the clouds coming in, or separating and offering a peek onto the lake below.
I had good soup at a typically Swiss restaurant with a view (if it weren’t so cloudy).
Oh and at Rigi Kaltbad I spent some time chatting with a Dutch lady who ran a shop up there. 32 years ago she left for Switzerland to work there for a year. 😉
€€€ (Or SFr. SFr. SFr.)
The cable car price was a bit of a shocker by the way, €48 for a return ticket, the ride was only 10 minutes. In Germany I had paid about €15 or €20 for exactly the same type of ride.
Some more photos of my foggy walk…
And some more images of Gersau…
Lots of Asian tourists
Somehow, Switzerland attracts a lot of Asian tourists, to my ears most sound Chinese and they travel in groups. At first I thought the sticker in toilets was funny but then I saw what happens in toilets that do NOT have such a sticker….
Glorious hike in fairytale landscapes
On Tuesday, fortunately the weather was much better and I was able to do a hike that the hotel guy recommended: starting from Gersau (at lake level), up steep slopes to Gätterli, then around the back of a mountain to Urmiberg, from where I could take a cable car down to Brunnen, and then a bus back to Gersau.
It was a tiring, challenging hike for me as a flat land cyclist, not a mountain goat! I had risen 700 meters / 2,300 feet in altitude, also ascending and descending a lot along the way. But it was fantastic! I’ve seen a lot of the world but these landscapes were beyond anything I had expected, even after seeing photos. And I have to say, my photos don’t do it justice either.
In fact the hike was a bit beyond my powers but the reward was very sweet. I had good pumpkin soup and a large beer here at restaurant Timbelweid (and flirted a bit with the lady who ran it):