Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Biking in Switzerland

22 March 2008 --
A few weekends ago, I took another long bike ride down the Aare valley. This time, I brought along a camera, and took some pictures along the way. I set out on a beautiful Saturday morning, with a light jacket, a water bottle, and a camera. The first part of my trip was down the road to Gümligen, where I was met with a stiff, cold headwind. I wondered what I was getting myself into, and debated turning around to go home.

I went through Gümligen down to the other side of Muri, near the local Media Markt. I found a nice little "Wanderweg" down the hill to the Aare river. I stopped to take in the breathtaking scenery, and snap a few pictures of the Aare valley, very clearly able to see the Bern-Belp airport and Belpberg.

These photos were taken at the location as represented by the northern-most camera icon
"View of Belp and Belpberg" on the map linked at the very bottom of this posting.

As I traveled further down the path, I found this lovely little park bench next to a water fountain, where I filled up my water bottle, and read a historical sign describing the construction that was done around the riverbank to tame it, in the 1850s. After a short break, I was on my way again. I headed south, this time, trying to see if the eastern bank of the Aare was as friendly to bicycles as was the western bank.

When I got down to the riverbank, I took a short break to snap a couple shots of the river. I bet that this river would be great fun to swim in during the summer time. In fact, lots of people do swim in this river. It is clean enough, and although fast moving, there are plenty of places to pull over and get out.

I found this cool little island accessible only by foot traffic on the path. There was no bridge, so I I dragged the bike along the stone that were submerged just a centimeter under the flow of the creek. When I got to the other side, I did not find much of interest, but a few campfires burned out, a small island of untamed wilderness, and a little bit of trash that has washed ashore from the river.

After getting my feet very wet on the return across the creek, I set back on the path, going south, toward Thun.

It was such a warm and sunny day by then, I was really excited to peddle briskly down the path. I passed lots of people, making sure to ding before I passed the strolling people -- all Swiss bikes are required to have a bell for just these circumstances. Nobody took it personally, and they always replied "Bitte" when I called out "Enshuldigen Sie, bitte!" I called Stacy when I thought it would be a great idea to have her drag out the kids for us to cook out in one of the many parks along the way.

I had to stop again to get a few excellent shots of the Alps from my bike path.

By the time I had met up with Stacy, it had gotten cold and grey. The light jacket that I was wearing had gotten me downright COLD. The kids threw rocks into the river near Münsigen, while I tried to start a fire to cook lunch. With not enough kindling, not enough matches, and wood that just didn't want to get lit, we eventually gave up on trying to cook any food.

Stacy and the kids retreated from the cold and drove back to the house, not only disappointed that I had dragged them out of the house, not only disappointed that I couldn't get the fire started, but also disappointed all-around.

I rode my bike down to the Wichracht train station , and made my way home by train. On the bike ride to the station, it was snowing heavily. Having never been to the city before, I was lucky that there were many signs directing me to "Bahnhof"

We got home and cooked the wursts on the outdoor wood grill. It was snowing heavily by then. The two who enjoyed the snow the most were the rabbits, whom we let out into their "play area" outside the front door of the house. They dug in the snow, got some on their heads, shook it off, and then repeated the whole process.

Here is a map of the path, along with the locations of all pictures [Map]
Here are all of the pictures I took on that day [Pictures]

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