Treatise on Swiss neutrality…

Day 43, Interlaken, 3.898 km

I have now been in Switzerland for 4 days and, by force of circumstances, I have been around its inhabitants. I have always been told that the Swiss are neutral (a little history: since the Treaty of Paris of November 20, 1815, the European powers have recognized the perpetual neutrality of Switzerland). Neutrality, neutrality, I think there are a lot of them that kind of stand out… An old man who tries to block my way in Schaffhausen because I am on my bike in a pedestrian zone. I thought he was going to throw himself under Jay’s wheels to protest… A lady literally yelling at me something very aggressive as I cross a road in a small town… After giving it lots of thoughts I think that she wanted me to get off my bike to cross… A cyclist that I meet on a climb (and I’m kind of suffering at that time) and who tells me « Hop Hop !! », like « Move your ass, you lazy »… Just a hello would have been enough… A kid who, instead of saying hello, says « Salaam » to me… I must look like an ayatollah with my beard… Roger, that I meet at the campsite, and who lives six months of the year in his motorhome because it’s less than paying for an apartment… why not… We are far from neutrality in my opinion…

Otherwise I have seen a lot of lakes (9 in total) in recent days, the first under a bright sun but with a little wind, the last in the rain… We don’t see the weather on the maps but you have to imagine that the further you go to the right, the more it rains…

Hohenems – Schaffhausen – Jestetten
Jestetten – Zurich
Zurich – Lucerne – Horw
Horw – Interlaken

I leave the Lake Constance, alone, under the sun, but facing the wind. Fortunately, the views of the lake and then the Rhine more than make up for it. I hesitate to stop for a swim, but I tell myself that the day might be a bit long, especially if I trust the signs, the Rhine Falls would be more than 140 km away… while my GPS shows me a total of 110 km… I’m a little worried… (in the end, the GPS was right, 120 km in total with 10 additional km to my night stop). I fight against the wind and admire the views. And my visceral hatred for motorized cyclists intensifies with each person effortlessly overtaking me as I have to give it all for every meter traveled. On the other hand, I meet a lot of people who have as much luggage as me, maybe the Swiss are more adept at long trips by bike…

The lake of Constance
The Rhine

I arrive in Schaffhausen, where apart from the pedestrian activist, the only notable event is: I eat an apple. But not just any apple… an apple I picked up from a tree on the way. So it tastes totally different from any apples I’ve eaten in my life! A little tour in the old town later, I head for the Rhine Falls. And I have to admit, that it’s pretty impressive. I take about ten photos, especially since I ride along them for a little while I have the impression of having a better angle every ten meters… I then return to Germany where I found a favorable spot for my evening stop. Indeed, a small clearing overlooking a river is just waiting for me and my tent for the night…

Schaffhausen
The Rhine Falls

The next day, I am faced with a terrible problem: I have no internet connection. Damned. I am trying to follow the signs (knowing that every second road is under construction, and one in three detours leads nowhere, the task is tough!). After many twists and turns, I finally arrive in Winterthur (very cute city center) where I find a WiFi to connect to to calculate my route. Finally safe ! I want to enjoy Lake Zurich a bit, so I take a little detour to ride along the coast for longer. And the detour is worth it. First the descent to the lake with the Alps in the background is superb, then along the lake, its marinas, its beaches, its villas,… very nice. I finally stop to rest for a little while and take a swim before arriving in Zurich. Cold but pleasant!

The lake and the Alps
View from Zurich

The next day, I take a short tour of the city (very short, let’s be honest), before setting off again. As in all the cities where I passed since my departure, there are construction works everywhere. I walk along the lake for a little while then head towards Zug. Terrible climb (Baptiste, luckily we didn’t do that with the girls, there would have been casualties), I have to push Jay for at least 200m. But the view of the lake at the top is a nice reward. Then I arrive in Zug. Very pretty. On the other hand, the weather begins get cloudy. Less pretty. The road along the lake is superb, little frequented, very pleasant (despite the few raindrops, which are increasing by the hour…). After a mini-lake (to be pronounced with a high-pitched voice), I start the last « real » lake of the day in Brunnen, on the edge of which I will find Lucerne. Likewise, the road is a treat, the magnificent views despite the clouds, amazing!

The lake from the heights
Zug
The view from the « port » of Brunnen

Lucerne. Under the rain. It must be really pretty, but I have to admit that I don’t really want to hang out outside. I still do the tourist for about twenty minutes, then I find a little cafe hoping that the rain will pass. I hope for a little while, but it doesn’t pass. I finally decide to go to the campsite in the rain (wild camping prohibited in the canton of Lucerne). Hope it will be better tomorrow. I hope all night. It still rains in the morning. I make the breakfast and the preparations for departure last but it is still raining. Never mind. Wet anyway, we might as well go. In addition tonight I have a hostel with a bed and a hot shower waiting for me!

Lucerne under the rain
We are hoping…

We ride towards three new lakes, in the direction of Interlaken. It is raining. Not too strong but it’s still wet. The landscapes are very beautiful even if it must be better with a little sun. I would have loved to take a swim too but it is 13°. Next time… it goes up a bit, I find myself in a dungeon to take a short break under a shelter before climbing a pass, and I realize that my camera is drowning (see photo below)

The road along the lake
Camera flooding
Litte dungeon-break (Jay is already inside…)

After a nice climb up to the Brünig pass (a good part of which is on a gravel road, it looks more like a hiking trail than a cycle path…), I start a superb descent in the pouring rain. Great. I even have the impression that it hails at one point (unless it is the supersonic speed that I reach that has this effect on me…) but I end up arriving alive at the edge of Lake Brienze, which I will ride along to Interlaken. It’s very hilly and I have to admit that I’m getting a little fed up with it. In addition, I am more than wet. It must be visible on my face that I’m not at my best because the people I meet are all smiling at me (which I take as a sign of encouragement). I hold on, thinking of the hot shower awaiting me. Bad luck, I arrive at 2 p.m. and the hostel reception doesn’t open until 5 p.m. I try a Lebanese restaurant. Closed. Korean. Open, but I get kicked out after an hour because they close too. I finally find a cafe that welcomes me while I wait for my shower … Phew!

The lake of Brienze
Interlaken, probably nicer under the sun

From tomorrow on, direction the Alps, we will climb a little! By the way, coincidence or not, I have planned 102 km tomorrow… Wait for the nice surprise for the 4,000! Thank you again for all your messages and comments, and see you soon!!

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