Final French Fling

Judy and Stephan (Sharon’s parents) were coming for mid morning brunch today. They had been staying at their cabin in a forest somewhere high up a hill…I’m sure I could get lost there too if I tried!

I wanted to contribute something to the brunch so had this great idea. Genuine French croissants.

Yes I know I am in Switzerland but France is not very far away. Ben was not sure if they would be open, being Sunday but I wanted to ride anyway.

The roads were ever so quiet. I do like riding earlier before people with cars get out and about.

Leaving Therwil I headed to the border and onto Leyman..,no bakery, but just out of the village, on my way to Rodersdorf, I took these nice rural scenes and another reminding us how fast they can drive here on open roads.



I rode through a series of sleepy villages including Biederthal, Wolschwiller, Lutter and Raedersdorf. No bakeries but nice scenery.

I liked this church with the ominous sky.


No man bathing here, but the cat was enjoying it. After this car, I saw many. I suspect there are many wild cats in this area.


Looking back up the hill to an older chateaux.


More forest, nice and cooling. Actually the temperature was great. Being so early it was about 19 degrees Celsius.



Freddy made it onto the side of this structure.


Then this was adjacent…TNT…it’s dynamite! Made me think of the AC/DC song I often train to.


This bee hive was in a village. Great to see and surely this is something we could do in Tasmania with local communities getting  behind it.


Another sleepy village ahead. I climbed around and then over the hill.


I then had a steady 4 km climb of 6-8 percent and started to wonder about the merits of croissants! Were they going to be worth it, if I was actually able to find a bakery? So far, not one bakery!!

Riding on the town of Ferrette came into view. At the top of the hill is the old castle ruins.


I found a panel with information. So the castle is Château de Ferrette. The county of Ferrette came into existence in the 11th century and consisted of a large part of southern Alsace ( the French region I was in).

In 1324, the County was acquired by Austria through the marriage of Jeanne, Countess of Ferrette with Albert II, Duke of Austria.

Austria ceded it to France in 1648.


Having climbed for 4km, there was going to be some downhill….not very fast though as I hate cobbles. Again, this is steeper than it looks. The time on the clock is 8.40 am. Still nice and early.


Down the hill and around the corner..a bakery!! It was open! A really nice village and one I will come back to explore more.



I had a coffee and packed my 6 croissants into my pannier  and left as I was not sure how long it would take to return.

I was just cruising and spinning with zero interest in pushing myself as my knee and feet have been playing up from the walking. My body is also still recovering from my 24 hour ride two weeks ago.

I rode through Fislis and Oltingue where I photographed this renovators delight.


Pretty flower boxes and a sign to the gelato shop!


Looking towards Switzerland and Liebenswiller.


Back in Leyman I photographed this cool crossing sign. Quite a few of these here.


So the croissants made it back safe and sound and a scrumptious brunch enjoyed by all.

Wags, Ben’s dog from Australia, now happily ensconced in Switzerland, ever hopeful of food scraps.

Hannah arrives in a week and she is going to be overjoyed to have a pooch to play with.


I have now cleaned and packed my bike. I considered riding Monday am and riding with Ben into Basel and back but took the conservative option….’just in case’.

My flight does not depart until 10.45 pm so it is going to be a long few days as I journey home.

Today’s route took me across the Swiss French border a few times as you can see.



Thanks for reading …. stay tuned for my next cycling adventures. Xxx



Basel has a population of around 180,000 and is Switzerland’s third largest city.  Today, we were to spend the day in the city therefore no cycling today.

Ben and Sharon had booked a brunch for us at a restaurant that features a number of Swiss foods as well as a variety of European cuisines.

Funnily enough it was opposite a major intersection where Tony and I got lost en route from London to Venice in 2016!

There was a delightful range of food, including many items I had not tried before.

As you often do with a buffet, we waddled out!



We were heading down to the Rhine River and passed through a dog park. There are a variety of tactile experiences for pooches.


We followed a pretty creek.


The creek emptied into the Rhine, and at the junction was a small beach with swimmers in force already.


Walking along the river banks were a multitude of cycling signs including directions to towns in Germany and France.


The Roche building again where Ben works. The construction site is another new Roche building being developed.


I was intrigued by these huts. They feature at regular intervals on both sides of the river. They are privately owned fishing huts.


A section of an old Basel building from the Middle Ages.



A lovely old door with 1539and 1614 mentioned.


It was a hot day and the temperature was around 30 degrees. This is a drinking fountain. The lesson today folks is this….make sure you do not dunk your bottle into the pond section…always from the tap!

This guy was quite chillaxed in the fountain.


Lovely ivy clad home.


One of the things I love about Switzerland is their progressive attitude to cycling. The city of Basel recognises that cycling is better for the environment and actively encourages it.

Here is an older lady zipping along, nicely dressed.


Ben insisted we head into the Tesla showroom. He has his eye on a Tesla car. There is no dashboard information. Everything is on this large iPad like screen.


They can’t decide between white, blue or red. I quite like the red! Price is around 60 000 CH which seems quite reasonable. I am sure they would be heaps more in Australia despite the fx rates.


A tram to the other side of the river and we walked around a lovely park. We stopped here to soak our hot and sweaty feet. Little fish nibbled our feet curiously.


This is a great bike to hire if you have little kids. I have seen numerous of these around the city with kids being carted to and fro.


Shoes back on and we continue our walk.


Plenty of well maintained bike paths.


We headed into the Tierpark. This is quite large and free! It was established in 1871.


I quite liked the buffalo and goat.



Switzerland has many of these structures for bees, acknowledging their importance.


I liked the park rules signage.


This is the children’s playground. How cool is the wooden structure?


Finally Basel’s heraldic animal, the Basilisk. Curiously the definition of basilisk is a poisonous worm and fable emerging from the egg of an oold rooster, brooded by the warmth of dung or by a snake or toad.

The appearance is described as ‘like a cock with dragons wings, the beak of an eagle and the tail of a lizard’.

The basilisk…..


My feets and knees were knackered, and I was glad to arrive back in Therwil where we had some amazing Japanese food that Ben picked up on our way home.

Thanks for reading! Stay safe and keep smiling. Xxx


Eye opener

I planned a longer ride today, starting off by riding into the city of Basel with Ben as he headed off to work.

There was a constant stream of cyclists snaking their way along various routes. Cycling is heavily encouraged to reduce traffic congestion with plenty of bike storage options.

I bid Ben farewell at the Basel Bahnhof and headed Rhine River via Munsterplatz and the Cathedral. This was my third time riding past the Cathedral since 2016, and I had not noticed this on the Cathedral walls.


I took the little animal on the right to be a dog…bit over the top treatment. I later learned from Ben that in fact it is a dragon…a pint sized one. So St George slaying the mighty, scary dragon.

Just past the Cathedral was this view of the Rhine River, looking upstream.


Looking downstream to the old bridge I was to cross over.


I crossed the bridge…this is looking downstream, the intended direction for today’s ride.


I winged it today. The rule was keep the river to my left as practical as possible. I knew I had an industrialised and port section to pass through.

This maybe one section I should have avoided. This was the steepest set of stairs I have ever ever taken my bike up. There is a metal section you can see on the right for the bike wheels, but I had to do this one step at a time, using my bike brakes and my body to stop the bike having a speedy descent.

So…coming back, note to self…avoid!!


Out the other side an onwards. Last year I crossed this bridge from France to Germany. Yes, I was now in Germany. It is reasonably close to the point where the three countries meet.


Various sign posts clearly indicating what towns and village options available. I was heading towards Neuenburg and further on again.



This lock crosses a section of the river.  For much of today’s ride there is a very Long Island in the middle of the Rhine. you can ride over this bridge to the island, go further island and then cross over into France.

Next trip  I will explore that.


Priding along I encountered this creek. I was about to get wet as no way to avoid it. I just love 100 percent saturated shoes so early in a ride!


The trail joined up with another….looking back from where I had come was this sign, Verboten! Oops!! Well, I survived!


Some lovely river views.



I liked this anchor. Apparently there used to be a ferry crossing at this point of the river, so it is believed the anchor belongs to the ferry. The ferry operated from 1918-1952,with the anchor being found in 1999.


Just after here I saw the most incredible site a cyclist could see. So what astounding and confusing and the question is WHY?

Ahead of me a man came out of a side track towards me. he had no shirt in…not so,unusual…then he got off his bike.

This man was in his 30’s, very muscly and a tan on every part of his body….how do I know that? He was riding his bike nude!

Would it be wrong to take a photo 😂😂😂

If anyone could get away with riding nude, it was this man…but ooh the saddle chafing!!

I then came across this beautiful spot on the river, being enjoyed by swimmers. It was over 30 degrees Celsius and I envied them.



At this point I had been on gravel paths for 40 km ( out of 55 km) and was in need of some food and drink! So made the decision to head away from the river to the village of Grißheim.

I rode around the village, and even though it was 11.45 am on a Friday siesta time seemed to have come early.

The only thing was this van selling a variety of cold meats.


My big purchase…I should have purchased more!! This was a bit less than one euro. Very tasty.


The water fountains in the village all had non potable water, unlike Switzerland where you can drink from most.

Hazy views towards the Black Forest over recently cut corn crops.


A little further on a flower farm. Gladioli featuring.


Villages I passed through with no water included Zienken and then I arrived in the much bigger town of Neuenburg.

Lots of fountains and statues.



I stopped at a cafe and had a lovely iced coffee…but they had no water either. No shops around with water! It was becoming a luxury commodity!!

I rode through Steinenstatt…having climbed up hills in the heat, to see what views there might be.

I arrived in Bad Bellingen and did a reconnaissance of the town …. there are often shops near churches…not here though!


This was looking promising….


At last, bliss!


Great cafe, lovely owner who was very interested in where I was from, what I was doing.

Continuing on through the hills…

This view towards France.


Little stalls on the side of the road, honesty system with payment. This one even sold used golf balls.


Over the road was competition.


Rural vistas. First looking towards France, the second Germany.



It was very hot up the top of the hill so decided to head back to the gravel river paths. I stopped here and studied the sign.  I took the turn down the hill.


The gravel path quickly evaporated to this rough track in the vineyard.



Totally running out of track, I could see a road, so wheeled my bike down the slope, through the sti going nettle.  Once I got to the road, I either had to head up the hill, or down!

Well  the river would be at the lowest point so down I went.


Back on the river, there are numerous of these excess water storage pits for times of Rhine River flooding.



Back in Basel I cross the bridge and you can see swimmers out floating down the river.


I ride back to Therwil. Potable water! I filled up here.  These fountains very iconic in Basel, being a cross between a dragon and rooster.


I quickly showered and headed back into the city via tram to meet my dear Swiss friend Sandra. We were heading out for the evening.

We passed the City Hall. Lovely building.


Popped inside for a look….then I heard familiar music. looking out a group of Hare Krishna’s passed by so gi g their familiar chant.


This sign indicated that bicycles are permitted inside for visitors. My cycle tan arms 😂😂😂


I liked this cool dude!


We ended up on the river front, in the industrial area.

Shipping containers are painted, crates of weeds and looking really funky.



Table tennis was being played. That guy looked a bit like the one of the bike. The one playing table tennis that is!


English trees beside the river.


More funky stalls selling a variety of food and drink.



A red ship…whatever! It was looking more and more li,e I had walked into a Mad Max movie set.



This caravan intrigued me!


We ordered food and sat upstairs with a view back over Mad Max.


Potted weeds everywhere and a nice old bath next to,our table. Great idea to just grow weeds!


Sandra and I tried multiple times to get some selfies, but neither succeeded in the dark!!

It was such a joy to see her. We first met in the Maldives in 1985. Then visited her and her husband in 1986-7 in Switzerland and then I did not see her again until 2016.

Since then we caught up,last year, and again this year!

So another wonderful day has come to pass. I rode about 108 km, and about 60 km of that was gravel.

Here are my route details.





I once was lost…and then found myself…in a dark forest!

I wake up early and once it was light enough decided to go on an exploratory ride, checking out a few villages…all before Ben and Sharon arose was the concept anyway.

I mapped out a ride but had not been able to upload it to my Garmin so took my iPad.

This is the route I completed today. The thick pink line indicates the border between Switzerland and France, with a smattering of Germany top right.


There were a few navigational issues initially and I was then on my way to Leyman, although not as originally plotted.

Just a few hundred metres short of the border I stopped to take these photos.



The road weaved around and I came to this sign. I was pretty sure I needed to take it, and it looked ok bar the red no entry sign.


So a short climb and I was at the top of a small hill looking back towards Switzerland hills, although the town is in France.


The road turned to gravel. At first the gravel was fine, you just needed to slow down more.


The gravel got looser and lumpier and I ended up pushing my bike up a hill. There were side tracks everywhere and I was just hoping I was on the right one.

The gravel became bitumen and I thought, yes….you are on the right one…it lasted all of a few hundred metres as I arrived at this Chapel, bang smack in the middle of nowhere.

Chapelle de Heilenbrunn was apparently a former place of pagan worship, and a chapel with a spring with healing powers.  Where is that spring??

The chapel was first recorded in 1359 and the present building dates back to 1682.

It was sold as national property during the French Revolution, being bought by the municipality in 1812 and restored to a place of worship.

It has since been renovated three times and hosts various events during the year.

Only catch is a shite gravel road! MTB bikes and 4wd worshippers preferable! If you survive, somewhere in that deep dark forest might be some healing springs to soothe your nerves and aches.


Right, so which direction from the chapel? It looked like a dead end until I noticed a small opening in the forest.


This is quite steep and I pushed my bike up. Photos never do justice to degrees of climbing.


It plateaued out at the top and this was the view all around me. Left or right…..I decided right and was met by so many choices as to further track alternatives. Crap!

I figured being in the middle of a forest, if I stuck with the ‘better quality’ track it should end up somewhere ok…..then I started thinking about all of the Monty Pythons puns about being lost in a dark forest, looking for a shrubbery!

There was no Lady of the Lake, King Arthur or Patsy, just me on my touring steed.

I did not see the healing spring, nor did I see one sign post. The Swiss love their sign posts, whereas the French have skimped!!


Eventually my theory was right and I ended up on a major road….one that I had not plotted on my route…but I figured it out and headed to the next town.

What a shame…a French bakery was open…what do? Well one chocolate croissant later I was moving again.


From here, navigation was easy as I just memorised the names of each village, and fortunately in each village, the next village in each direction was listed at intersections.

So many pretty towns.



It was now around 9am and the sleepy villages were arising. I had two smaller hills to climb to drop back I to Switzerland.

At the top of his one is what appears to be an air traffic control tower. This hill is the highest point around and Basel’s international airport is actually located in France.

I had scouted nearby earlier in my route.


A bit more forest, back into Switzerland and oooh look, a sign post!! I was heading to Oberwil and yes it was listed.


Back at base Therwil, Sharon and Ben were up and about to have breakfast. Great timing.

We then took Wags for a walk in the adjacent forest. Dogs doing what dogs do…..


The the rest of the day unfolded.  We caught a tram into central Basel. Went to an amazing pet shop so Sharon could buy Wags some donuts! Yes, dogs eat donuts too it seems!!


Wags will eat anything but not sure if he would eat this! You know the only way you should cook kale is with coconut oil. That way, it is easier to scrape into the rubbish bin!!


Then we hopped onto a train to head to the Swiss capital of Bern. A few sights.



Then another train to Stettlin, the village that Sharon grew up in with her parents Stephan and Judy, sisters Davita and Joy.

It is perched high on the hill overlooking Stettlin and valley towards Thun,

Stephan and one of his daughters attended a course in how to construct pizza ovens and then built this with all locally sourced material. So yes, home made pizza for tea.


Here we are enjoying dinner.


Then it was a train back to Bern, train to Basel where there was this bike with a keg type of barrel on the back. I hope it is empty.


Finally a team back to Therwil, walk back to home base and I jumped straight into bed!!

Thanks for reading…tomorrow the plan is to do a site seeing ride around the Colmar – Vosges Mountains in France.


Mother and son, part 2

A beautiful morning as I looked out the window.


I got up and dressed ready to go for a walk with Ben and his dog Wags.

I was hoping Wags was feeling ok as I discovered last night that Wags has got into my medicines and had consumed 6 Mylanta (antacid), 1 Buscopan (anti spasmodic) and 1 Imodium (anti diarrhoea). What a mix!

Fortunately he had not touched my epilepsy medicine as I am sure that would not be good for a dog!

So from now on this is what I need to do…shut my bedroom door. Isn’t that a lovely welcome sign too!


Wags appeared to be in fine form! Relief!

Check out this slug, it is huge! Wags seems to have no interest in eating them.


Wags sniffing!


Throughout the forest there are many woodpiles.


Wildlife zone providing protection.


That is a young Christmas tree farm. Numerous patches of  beautifully formed and coloured trees.


We planned to do a short ride from Lucerne some 1 1/2hour drive away.

Parking the car was a pain and eventually we found somewhere, headed off on our bikes towards central Lucerne.


After a short distance Ben was aware of issues with his bike. By a stroke of good luck, a bike shop was less than 500 metres walk away. The store needed the bike for a while to complete the mechanical repair so we found somewhere to eat.

I had the soup and Ben the antipasto.



Finally we hit the road, planning to ride around the lake to Vitznau and catching a ferry back to Lucerne.

I had visited Lucerne some 33 years ago, recalling that it was particularly beautiful.



The vistas as we scooted around the lake were fantastic. The mountains were difficult to photograph as the sun had created a haze over most of them.

This is looking towards the direction we were heading.


This is Mt Pilatus and a tiny tip of the Matterhorn to Pilatus left.


Not all tracks were rideable….pushing and lifting needed!


This section was difficult too as it was particularly narrow and we came up it. Tricky!


At the top of the stairs were numerous kiwi fruit vines, bearing many fruit.


Beautifully green countryside.


Then this beautiful outlook with a cute statue.


No matter where I looked, I clicked!



A break in transmission….this Church was in Vitznau where we needed to wait for an hour to catch the ferry.

The ride was great….it was hot, and undulating, with significant tourist traffic in Lucerne.



The ferry was packed to the rafters so we stood at the front. It was cooling and provided many wow factor vistas.


There were some very impressive chateaus.


One had a small chapel on a rock island.


This one is very impressive!


Finally we arrive back in Lucerne with the imposing Mt Pilatus backdrop.


A final look back before we jump into our car to head back to Therwil.


Switzerland is such a beautiful country. All along the lake today, people were making the most of the water in the soaring temperatures.

It was over 30 degrees today and if this keeps up, I will have a suntan!!

Back home, Ben knocked up a cheese fondue for his old mum.

It is now 10.37 pm and I need some shut eye, having been awake since 5 am.

Take care, thanks for reading








Mother and son

A few years ago my second son Ben moved to Switzerland..and yes, there was a young lady involved.  Since then, she has become my daughter in law! I was in Switzerland May 2018 for their wedding.

Happily living and working in Switzerland means I do not get to see them often, so I took the opportunity for a short break to fly over and see them…oh, and of course I brought my touring bike with me!

I arrived yesterday afternoon in Zurich after four flights. I grabbed a hire car and then drove to Therwil, on the outskirts for Basel some 95 km from Zurich.

Ben has taken a couple of days leave to be with his dear, old mum. Fortunately I am in better knick than Ruth Cracknell’s version of Mum.

Despite my jet lag, we headed off on a ride through the adjacent local forest up a series of gravel paths. They wind around farms and crown land.



The sign above, in German, is warning users of the risk of bushfire given recent dry conditions drying out the forest. This place is so green compared to Australia.

Switzerland has a brilliant network of bike trails, using existing tracks and roads. They are well signposted.



They have well constructed bridges for shared use with walkers and cyclists. This was a nice river crossing.



In 2016 Tony and I rode through this area, en route London to Venice. We passed through Augusta Raurica and saw a very interesting Roman ruin. Here I am in 2016.


So I was keen to see more of this area as the area is a Roman archaeological site, and the oldest known Roman colony on the Rhine River, settled around 44 BC, in the vicinity of a local Gallic tribe.

Today many ruins have been discovered and preserved. However over 80% of the area is still to be ‘discovered’ awaiting the advent of advanced imaging.

First stop was an area of Fort wall, where a significant silver treasure trove of over 50kg of pure silver objects in 1962.  The treasure chest had been buried in 350 AD.

They sure built thick walls!



The next spot was the base of the old church constructed between 360-400 AD. For part of its existence it served as the seat for the Bishop. By 749 AD the Bishop relocated to Basel.


This picture below shows the church, above the archaeological section we viewed.


Old gravestones have been found including these two.



Leaving the old church, we followed the narrow track adjacent to the beautiful Rhine River.


The Rhine baths were next. They were built around 260AD and were still in use until the 4th century.  Today the only remains are the underground installations, walking on the floor of the underground heating system.



Wooden shoes were required to be worn in the ancient baths so as not to damage the floor.


The next site is where craftsman made and sold their wares.



The highlight is the ancient theatre. Workman were packing up from a Roman weekend festival.


The steps to the old temple.


The ancient amphitheatre barely exists, but the picture showed what it once looked like.


Very little remains now bar the basic shape. The vegetation has taken over the former seating.


Finally, we visited the former East gate and town wall, funerary monument, complete with a mini animal farm.



Finally, back to my view from 2016. Looks like the vegetation has grown!


It was stinking hot today. The temperature was over 33 degrees Celsius and we were 10 degrees Celsius when I left Tasmania on Saturday afternoon. It was a shock to the body and plenty of water was being drunk.

Water is available in all villages, as they all have sparking clean, cool water at fountains like this one.


We rode on parallel with the Rhine to Rheinfelden, a very pretty town, also visited during our 2016 trip.

The town has a bridge across the Rhine. So yes, that is Germany in the background. Plenty of people sunbaking and swimming from the island in the middle of the river.



Beautiful Rheinfelden.



Over the bridge into Germany and we rode parallel again to the Rhine, but heading back towards Basel.


Eco friendly church.


Another fountain. We both tossed out our remaining water here as the water was warm, and refilled with this lovely cool water.

The forest behind the church is part of the great expanse of famous German Black Forest.


From this Rhine River view we could see bathers swimming in Switzerland!


Ben has never been keen on having his photo taken, but his annoying mother got one!


This was intriguing. Ben told me that in another hour or so, hundreds and hundreds of people would converge on the river, with bags, and float downstream.

You can see some swimmers with their bags below.


We rode past where Ben works. He works on the 14th floor of Switzerland’s tallest building owned by Roche.


Basel Cathedral.



It was a lovely ride. So nice to be able to ride with one of my kids. Not sure how he will pull up as it was a bit further than he is used to.  I think we rode about 56 km.


Thanks for reading….I will have to plot another ride for tomorrow next!!