Figure Eight Invigorate

The plan after breakfast was to ride to Interlaken, and if the weather was ok and the road open, do the ride up Grosse Scheidegg. I knew from the outset there were a few things going against me doing this ride.

It was possible that the road was not yet passable, due to snow.  Secondly, even if it was open, rain, thunder and lightening were forecast. Finally, there was was the omnipresent rib issue and deep breathing needed for such a tough climb.

I decided to deal with each as the day unfolded.

I had mapped a ride out on Ride with GPS so set off with a multitude of pages and instructions. What confused the matter was a plethora of cycling trail routes, with various route numbers that crisscrossed.

Within minutes I was doubling back and headed up this road with this sign on the left. Fortunately my climb was not nearly as steep.

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I stopped countless times to check my navigational points. I have no wifi on my phone, so I had taken many enlarged map images as photos on my iPad, so I would check and double check.

The Berner Oberland approached.

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As you can see, the view was awful. This is the view I had for most of the day…various aspects of the Swiss Alps. This is the range behind Thun.

CA2DCDFC-4DE8-459E-8FD6-814B69F25B21I rode straight through Thun, which is a historic market town set on the River Aare, at the northern end of the Thunersee. A very old town with a castle on a hill. The town is quite spread out and I headed across the river as I was going to head down to Interlaken on the Alps side.

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Crossing the River Aare,  it’s the small Police boat.

I followed a nice bush trail before turning back towards Thun to find the secondary road. The bush trail was lovely, but slow going.

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I found the secondary road to Interlaken with great views of Thunersee. Thunersee is a slender arc of a lake sited between Thun and Interlaken in the valley of the River Aare. It is 18 km long and 4 km wide.

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I passed the town of Spiez, and you can see the medieval castle, set on a slur jutting towards the lake. The church to the right is baroque.

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A little further up the road, looking back.  My bike blends in nicely 😊

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Arriving in Interlaken I was given a choice of Interlaken East or West. I chose the wrong one, but ended up in the town centre via a convoluted route.

Crossing the River Aare again.

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Interlaken lies on a narrow strip of land between Thunersee and Brienzersee. It is a base for bushwalking, skiing and for trillions of tourists who wander aimlessly over the roads without a care in the world.

Time to keep moving, but a few more photos first.

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I sat in a chair, in a park, adjacent to the river and ate a croissant (taken from breakfast!) Nice views. The snow is quite low and that looks to be below the 1980 m mark of Grosse Scheidegg, so the climb was looking more and more remote.

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Note the heavily snowed Alps in the deep background

I was enjoying ride down the side of the lake, until the thunder and then rain started.

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Just before the rain

As the rain got heavier, I pulled over and sheltered in someone’s carport. I sat there for about 20 minutes, putting some wet weather gear on, and admiring the views.

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View from the carport

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The house over the road from the carport, very eclectic.

Time to keep moving, rain or not.  As the rain settled, the sun on the distant Alps was beautiful. The photos do not do it justice.

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I arrived in Brienze and needed to find a loo. Now this loo is the best on the planet. As I entered, with my bike, I was assaulted by heat. this toilet has floor heating! I had a wet bum and wondered how long I could sit in the floor for to dry my Knicks?

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The time had come to seek information about Grosse Scheidegg. To do the climb, I needed to ride another 10 km or so, before starting to climb. Alternatively I could ride back, on the opposite side of the lakes.

I found a bike shop and definitely the road had not yet opened due to snow. So I either hopped on the train, or I rode back to Interlaken or Thun.

I thought it might be nice to ride the opposite side of both lakes I had just ridden down. The turn was only a km or so up the road.

As I was taking this photograph, the town was overcome by incredible noise.  Four ( I assume) Swiss Airforce jets were doing a low altitude swoop over the lake and then up and over the Alps, and a few minutes later they returned.

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There was a bit of a climb on this side of the lake to get past a huge rocky outcrop. The views back over Brienze were great.

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This is where my trip started to get interesting. I had no notes for this side of the lake…I had not planned to do this route. A bike route sign appeared for Interlaken so I turned off the road to follow it…it went down…I thought I hope this is right, I don’t want to ride back up here…but I found this magnificent waterfall.

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In a nice forest….

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Across a little bridge….

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That has nice views to the Château…

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…and this path…

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Well I meandered around up and down this trail very slowly and wondered where the secondary road was….I found a fence and a gate and dropped my bike over, squeezed through but was not sure if it was the secondary road or primary one heading along the lake.

A few km down the road I experienced one of the most nerve wracking moments of my cycle touring ever.   A sign indicated a tunnel 350 m ahead…cool, been through quite a few now.

I got to the tunnel, and it said it was 1325 metres long….oh crap!! There was no way around over or past….there was a narrow ledge on the side, and I chose to walk my bike down it ( rear rail lights flashing).

It was the longest 1325 metres of my life, in a very dark, very busy tunnel…I was so glad to make it out alive!

A little further down this same road, I saw a sign to turn off to a hamlet…I took it….it went down and down, and there were chairs off the side that you could sit on and admire the view! I recovered there!

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Back through Interlaken I headed to the opposite side of Thunersee heading straight to Thun. The photo below does not look much but it is looking up a cliff to where the sign says are “Swiss Caves”.

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A final look towards the Alps as the rain started to descend on Thun, including thunder..quite appropriate I guess..😂

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Once in Thun I needed to decide whether to hop on a train, or ride back to Bern. Given the rain and slippery conditions, and the fact I’d done 124 km already, I decided I’d head home nice and safe!

Today is a rest day…family celebration as my second eldest child Ben marries Sharon in Bern and we have a small celebration at her parents place in Stettlen, next village to where I am staying.

Then tomorrow I am up early as I need to be in Zurich around 9 am to meet my riding companion and head off to Italy for the next stage of my European adventures bikepacking from Switzerland to Italy.

Stay tuned!

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8 thoughts on “Figure Eight Invigorate

  1. Ray Burgess

    I have enjoyed your numerous journeys and adventures and also your blog. Yvonne and I wish you all the best in your life. I look forward to another adventure later on that’s of course if you ever come home!!!!!!

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  2. Adventurous day. We were in Interlaken some 20 years ago. Rode up to Grindelwald and took the cog railway up Jungfrau… so interesting to see the area again. The Swiss Caves was something we missed.
    Hope the wedding went well. Best wished to Ben and the new bride!! Hope Rod & Robyn took you to dinner!!

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  3. Yes we went to Jungrau in 1987,having stayed in Wilderswil for 3 nights. The wedding is at 3 pm…I catch the train in just over 30 minutes…Thankyou for your best wishes…RR don’t speak or acknowledge so I don’t fancy my chances, ha ha.

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