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Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 12: Andeer to Vaduz

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From Andeer down to Thusis, the road was once again smooth and fast, staying with the Hinterrhein through tunnels and a few more "schultz" style tourist traps while the freeway soared above us. It promised to be another warm day, but in Thusis, the bike path quickly veered off away from the main road and headed off into the woods on a dirt path towards Chur. The bike path granted us beautiful views of the river below as the Hinterrhein made its way into the Rhein. Around lunch time we headed into Ens, getting to the supermarket just before it closed for lunch. After lunch and a nap, we headed into Chur.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Lisa had missed the Heidiland tour the last time we were in the region, and she was determined not to miss it this time. She went to the information center and got directions to the Heidi Haus, which was in Maienfeld, about 20km away. While waiting for her and Phil to do some shopping, a man rode up on his bicycle and asked us if we were touring. I answered his questions and he told me how to get to the bike path towards Maienfeld. Imagine my surprise when he tipped me 10CHF and asked me to buy some coffee.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

When Lisa and Phil came back, however, he was so charmed that he invited us over to his house for some tea and to hopefully meet his wife. This was how we met Otto Rohrer. Otto's wife was not home, but he offered us tea anyway, and then tried to give us more stuff to take with us, including a club jersey. Otto told us that he had always wanted to go touring, but did not know how, and wanted to help out others who were living his dream. The thing is, he was strong enough to keep up with the local cycle club, so all he lacked was the actual push to go out and tour. People always seem surprised that I get experiences like this when touring, but it's something that happens at least once every trip.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

After we left Otto's house, which was conveniently located on the bike path to Maienfeld, we headed down the bike path. There was a nominal headwind today, but in the afternoon heat it just made for a pleasant breeze. While the bike path was meandering, the constant navigational challenges it posed made the miles go by. The headwind stiffed a little bit more as we rode directly into Maienfeld, and once in Maienfeld there were Heidi signs everywhere, including a Heidi shop right in the intersection at the center of town. Lisa went in and was told that there was an original Heidi haus up the hill. Since it was already 4:15 and the place closed at 5:00pm, we got onto the bike and started up the hill.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Well, never doubt the ability of the stoker to get what she wants. Lisa was so motivated on the climb that we dropped Phil on the steep grade. As we approached the Heidi haus, I spied a sign pointing to Vaduz, and realized that we could make a detour into Liechtenstein for the night. Finding the Heidi Haus was a bit of a problem, what with all Heidi-related postings on the road. There was the Heidi Hotel, and the Heidi Weg, and Heidi this and Heidi that. We eventually found it at 4:45pm, and Lisa bought tickets and went into the Heidi Haus while I stayed outside and guarded the bike from the mobs of Japanese tourists that would unload from buses at the Heidi Hotel and walk in.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

Phil eventually caught up to us and bought some ice cream. He had bonked on the climb, and was totally wasted. At the tourist shop, I examined the map and informed Phil that we were less than 100m from the pass into Liechtenstein, and Phil thought it was an amusing idea as well.

After Lisa was done touring the Heidi haus, and taking photos of the Heidi chicken coop and the Heidi goat field, we headed over to the Heidi weg, and began riding towards Liechtenstein. The pass turned out to be only 700m tall, and since we were already at 650m, it was not a problem, other than the last 200m stretch being on a road that was in the process of being repaved, and hence in a state of pure gravel. The descent into Liechtenstein took us past a Swiss military installation (I doubt if the Swiss really are worried about invasion from a country with less population than Saratoga, California, but nevertheless, it was a pretty impressive installation), and then zipped down to the valley into Balzers.
From Tour of the German Speaking Alps 2010

At Balzers, we found a hotel but it was full up. It took riding into Vaduz and searching around before we settled on a hotel that seemed even more expensive than the ones in Switzerland. Between the morning descent, the lovely dirt path, meeting Otto, and getting in the Heidi Haus, we were all pretty satisfied. Even better, it looked like we were over the worst of the cold.


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