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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Day 1: Sarnen to Rosenlaui

We installed our chintzy $60 bike rack on the A180 with no problems whatsoever. Not only did it fit well, the bikes did not stick out far enough to block our exit from the tiny garage entrance. Prior to the trip, we had calculated that the savings from train tickets would justify carrying the bike rack onto the plane.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

I was not surprised that the drive out to Sarnen along the freeway was faster than taking the train, but was surprised to discover how much faster it was! The drive was an hour while the train (including transfers but not including waiting for the first train) was more than 2 hours long! That meant that we could wake up later (not that we would be able to do so given our jet-lag), and still get to Sarnen with plenty of time. The cloudy skies looked like they would bring rain at higher elevations and block out any views we could get on the Melchsee-Frutt adventure, so we opted for a traverse over the Brunig to the Lammi restaurant. After setting XiaoQin's Phone to navigate to the Lammi, Phil and I got our bikes out, and began the ride after synchronizing our cameras to the GPS unit.

To my surprise, my GPS unit routed us around the Sarnensee on the West side rather than the East side that I was familiar with. I didn't complain much, because it gave us nice beautiful views of the Sarnensee as we approached Giswil. After the intersection with Highway 4, we found a bike path signed for the Brunig with a 12% grade. That sounded like fun, so we immediately rode up it to get beautiful views of the area.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

The bike path flattened out and turned into dirt soon enough, as bike paths are wont to do, and then dropped us off into Lugern where a steep climb took us along the railroad tracks on a dirt path. The climbing got fairly hefty as the train tracks went into a tunnel and the bike path went over the tunnel, but we soon got high enough for some decent views at Chappeli.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

From there, it was a hop skip and a jump over to Brunig pass, where we abandoned the bike path in favor of a fast road descent into Meiringen. The consequence of going fast when it starts raining is that rain drops at 55kph hurt! Nonetheless, we soon arrived at Meiringen and rode up the Kirchet pass to the Lammi restaurant, where XiaoQin had been waiting. The rain had turned into just occasional drops, so we opted to eat lunch outside under the umbrella. Lammi produces what I consider to be the platonic ideal for sausages, and this time was no exception. The onion sauce is a must have.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

After lunch, XiaoQin drove off after I gave her the very simple directions to Rosenlaui followed by instructions to pull aside for the post bus. The climb started dry, but by the time we got to Zwirgi it had started raining and was getting heavier. I abandoned taking pictures, put on my jacket and just hammered at the pedals trying to get to the hotel.

I arrived at the Hotel in due time to find that XiaoQin had already checked in and was taking pictures. Christine, assessing her condition, had immediately gotten someone to help her with the luggage and so we were all moved in! I parked the bike at the usual place and then XiaoQin and I took a walk after I gave Christine a copy of the touring book so they could see the picture of Andreas and I on one of the early pages.
From Tour of the Alps 2011

Rosenlaui in the fog is no less pretty than in the sun, and while the rain was annoying, it's still a magical place. Upon returning, Andreas greeted us and said he really loved the book, asking if I had plans to get it translated into German. "There are plenty of cycling books in German," I said. "Ah, but no how-to books. They're all region guides!" I haven't the faintest idea as to how to crack the German book market, but if that's true I'd be willing to sell my German rights.

Dinner was the usual four course meal: soup, a salad, lamb, and panna cotta, all cooked to their usual high standards. Andreas said that the weather was due to change by the weekend, so we hoped for less rain for the next two days.


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