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Day 29 Friday 21 August - 66km Cum 1757 Geneva to Lutry
The weather cooled overnight which was a massive relief and we rode out of Geneva past some lovely parks.
Very well marked bike paths took us along Lac Leman, the crescent shaped lake and soon we were riding through small
water-side resort towns.
Switzerland has a national Bike route system and we followed Route 1 for the day.
We came to Nyon and there were some lovely gardens with Roman Ruins and water features.
Photo on right proves that while cycle touring, there is still always time to stop and smell the roses.
The floral sculpture was a dedication to the Swiss Clown - Grock. A great entertainer and musician.
While looking for some cake, we looked up a street and saw a castle above. Decided it looked worth the climb, and it was!
On to Lausanne where we visited the IOC headquaters (International Olympic Committee) which is surrounded by water features great sporting sculptures.
A few yards on, there was a large complex of Roman Ruins which we explored.
The small town of St.Preux had some elegant medieval features and there was always the Lac Leman to enjoy.
The bike path was lovely here and took us through some cool forests. There were constantly flowing water points and we stopped here for some icey cold water and rolls and cuisants I had prepared earlier.
Then on to Lutry, just short of Vevey where we stopped for the night.
Our hotel overlooked the lake and we saved money getting a room with a bad view.
Photo on left shows our hotel - called Hotel De Ville -the large pink building. Photo on right is taken from our room.(the bad view)
We looked at the mountains, the lake, the village and that night we watched a free concert from our room.
Day 30 Lutry to Bulle 55Km Cum 1812
We had a cold start to the day and at one point thought we would need our rain gear.
The lake had a powerful, brooding feel and we marvelled at it as we rode along on the quiet morning.
We rode 14Km on Route 1 along the lake to Vevey and there was a large market going.
We met a man dressed up as a nerdy boy scout with a wig and fake moustache giving out bread.
A big buch of guys were sitting at a nearby bar jeering him. He told us he was getting married and he had to do what they said.
We visited the famous Charlie Chaplin statue and started to leave town.
We loved the statue of Charlie and thought he had a great view of the lake and the fork someone had stuck in it.
A horde of guys rushed past us singing and our boy scout was now wearing the bright green mankini made famous by Borat.
He and his crowd greeted us and we wished him luck.
I had done the climb out of Vevey 4 years ago with Daniel and knew what we were in for.
On a heavily laden tandem it was a lot tougher.
We had to find the start of Route 9 and then it was ON.
As soon as you get to the back of town you climb 100m at 20%. Wow, what a heart starter.
It then levelled off to 8 to 10% and we climbed for the next 2 or 3 hours.
The payoff was the fantastic views, little farms, cows - each with a different pitched bell.
There was music all around us. The bells as the lead and our panting as the rhythm section.
Although Hilary loved the cows and their bells, we were climbing, not smiling.
The last bit of the climb was off the scale in gradient.
We walked the bike and I was nearly lying down flat to push the bike along.
The next 25 Km was on sweweping hills and, the cooler air at altitude - about 1000m - was refreshing.
Bulle was lovely so we stopped there.
We were only a few kms from Lake Gruyere and the cheese around there is the main attraction.
We stayed at the Cavaller Le Blanc (White Horse Inn) and had the speciality of the house.
Cheese fondue with their accompnying white wine - formidable!
We walked into the local castle and found it is now used as the local police station.
By the way, so far in this part of Switzerland, its all French.
Note: Funny (or dumb) incident for the day. While looking for a room, we found a lovely building in the centre of town called Hotel de Ville so I went in to ask if they had a room. The lady behind the desk just starred at me and explained in French that this was the Hotel de Ville. I said good so this is a hotel - she nodded - so can I have a room for 2? She starred again.
A few minutes later someone who spoke English explained this was the town hall. When we get to the Germanic speaking part of Switzerland it will be back to the Rathaus and I won`t be so confused(dumb).
Day 31 Sunday August 31 Bulle to Marly 32 KM
As is our rule in Europe, get in early on a Sunday, we rode along Lac de Gruyere through forests fields tiny towns and farms.
Stopped for some cake at La Roche and further along stopped at a pub for a drink.
We were only 6km from our target of Friburg and the atmosphere was so relaxed at the pub that we asked about a room.
The room was lovely and the only deal is the staff were all going home at so we would be on our own till the morning.
It was strange having the run of a 3 storey hotel with pin no. for the front door and all.
The Swiss value their free time above all and we saw many examples of this.
Day 32 Marly to Biel-Bienne 64Km Cum 1908
Rode the few kms into Friburg and parked the bike at a bike tow-away sign to see what would happen.
Fountains and old feature everywhere. Looked like a nice town but we moved on.
Took bike path 5.9 to Murton. Stunning castle and old city that had to be explored.
The bike path could be steep at times.
More coffee and cake. Lots of bikes around.
We followed the bike path through Erlach (Hi Danny and Esther) went along Lac de Bienne did some more climbs and at 32C pleasant as the humidity was down.
Day 33 Biel to Olten 66Km Cum 1974
Followed the No 5 to Solothurn. This bike path is a major one through Mittleland - the centre of Switzerland. It was often gravel which is fine for all the Swiss on their hybrids and mountain bikes but our skinny tyres didnt like it much so we went out to the main roads a fair bit.
Biel is also called Bienne and we rode along Lake Bienne and stopped at some lovely spots for snacks.
Our bike touring map ran out here and although we knew the No 5 would get us to Zurich I would have preferred a map but none of the tourist Info places had them or they were closed.
I told Hilary I could see a bunch of kids in the distance on bikes coming towards us. When we met them my estimate was out by about 60 years per person, but they seemed youthful as they sang along and rode by.
We climbed above the lake and if you cant read the sign, it says 14%. This time Hilary is smiling so it can't be too bad.
We would try for Zurich tomorrow.
Soluthurn was also a beautiful city along the river.
More coffee and cake in Neiderbip and stopped in Olten for the night.
I was keen to get in early to Zurich as I knew packing the bike was going to be a project that could take a few days.
Oltern has a well preserved Alternstadt (old city) and a covered bridge (above)
Day 32 Olten to Dietikon. 72 Km Cum 2046
We rode along the no 5 bike path as I had looked at a map and the freeways looked like they were all over the place.
I knew if I stuck to the bike path, it would get us there safely.
Along the way, somewher near Lengnau, I noticed a flag with BMC out of the corner of my eye. I asked Hilary if she minded if we stopped at a bike shop. We went in and were impressed with the rang of bikes there. We chatted with the friendly owner and it was great to hear fluent English and to have an interesting conversation with such a friendly guy. It turned out to be Hans Ledermann the famous Swiss cyclist and he took a snap of us in front of the shop and then emailed it to us.
We stopped at Aarau and explored, there were also cakes.
The path however made the ride a lot longer and the Aux-hilary motor was showing signs of fatigue.
We came into Baden and asked about a room and were quoted 350 Swiss francs for a room.
This was normal for Baden we were told and despite the castle pushed on looking for some reality.
A few small towns couldnt help till we came to Dietekon and settled for that.
We would just have to do the last few Kms tomorrow.
We settled in for the night and decided to look around town.
Next to our hotel at Dietikon
Before going out I chatted to the helpful guy at the front desk. Wanted to know a good place to get 3 nights in
He said it would be cheaper in the suburbs and I asked where he recomended.
He said we were already in the suburbs and we struck a deal for 4 nights and that was the end of the cycle tour.
A bit of sightseeing and shoppping in Zurich.
Visit friends of Mum, meet Aussie squash player and coach John Williams, play some squash and have a great night out with John and the lovely Helene.
The next few days were spent on the great train system exploring Zurich and trying to find a bike box.
We went to a COOP shop and a Lady named Katy Deutsch rang her home town, tracked down a box and said she would bring it in to work the next morning.
We couldnt believe the kindness and gave her a bottle of Australian Wine and a Koala for her troubles.
Bike packed, we were tranformed from cycle-tourists into normal tourists and the website becomes even more boring so I guess thats it for Gumby and Pokeys big adventure.
We had a great tour.
Through a bit of good planning and good luck, everything went smoothly and we are home safe and well having cycled 2,000 Km in 5 weeks of riding.
There is no better way to experience a country than cycle touring. I knew it, now Hilary does too.
We have had great coments about the site, but it doesnt really convey the mixture of peacful fields and forests, quaint towns,
Exploration of historic and cultural sites that are not on the main list of tourist destinations, chance meetings, new friendships, smells, sounds and sensations that make up cycle touring.
I hope we have shown that anyone can get on a bike and do this.
You don't neeed to spend a great deal on a bike or eqipment.
You don't need to be super fit (its a by product)
You just need an adventiuring spirit and an open mind.
Email me with any questions.