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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

June 15th: Pragg-Jenaz to Davos

 Boen had started coughing at night, dashing my hopes of making it to Austria or Italy before having to hunt down his medication. I spoke with our hostess, and after some misunderstanding, established that her doctor right down the street was her kids' primary care physician and they had Ventolin in stock. We were warned that we would have to pay cash since we were from out of the country, but anyone who's faced the US medical system will discover that European healthcare system with no surprise billings and an upfront declaration of cost is a tiny mosquito bite compared to the hummer-sized disaster that many doctor visits in the US can generate.

It started raining, so we started bundling the kids up in rainjackets, making them take off the pants they had already put on. In the ensuing confusion, we left Bowen's hiking pants behind. We also somehow managed to lose the pin that was on Xiaoqin's GoPro bike mount, rendering her GoPro useless until we got to Bolzano.

At the doctor's office, we showed them photos of our US medication, and they immediately sold us Ventolin and Seretide, the Swiss equivalents of Ventolin and QVAR, without a doctor visit or consultation. My guess was since it was a doctor's office they didn't have to jump through the hoops that a pharmacy would have had to do. The nice thing about being in a small village is that the doctor's office will also stock all the medication you need, so there's no need to run from the doctor's office to a pharmacy.

From prior research on the internet, I'd read that past Kublis, the bike path degenerates and becomes a disaster for traditional trekking bikes, which meant bad news for the triplet. Despite this, we took a wrong turn and ended up on a nasty dirt bike path that I could barely ride up with the kids dismounted. Of course, that Daddy gets to ride and kids have to walk made the kids determined to stop using the bike path and ride the steep pavement up to the main road, which actually had a reasonable grade!
The road eventually met up with what looked like a limited access (no bikes allowed) road! We puzzled over it by the side of the road for a while, until a kind motorist stopped, got out of her car, and told us that if we went down the other fork of the roundabout, there was a bike path which was signed that would take us to Kloster. Sure enough, that bike path sign was there, but we were glad she stopped and told us to look for it because we might not have seen it otherwise. I was learning that bike path signage is just not a priority, even in Switzerland which otherwise has no issue spending money on infrastructure.

The bike path took a detour and showed us a gorgeous waterfall in the shade before we rode more uphill into Kloster where after a few wrong turns we ended up at Kloster-Platz at the supermarket right next to the train station for lunch. After lunch, Xiaoqin and Boen decided to take the train to Davos, while Bowen and I would attempt the ride over Wolfgang pass, which I'd never done before.

The ride over Wolfgang pass has a deceptive quality to it, which is that at the decision point where you have to decide between the dirt road and the official highway, most of the traffic on the road had been drained over to use the tunnel under Fluela pass. So at that point, you would be fooled into thinking that since traffic was light, it was ok to take the road. But soon after that, the traffic from the tunnel now joins the main highway, and you are completely committed to riding the road at that point, since your hard earned ascent would have to be undone! So Bowen and I fell into this fatal trap. To rub salt into the wound, there was road construction in the final kilometers of the climb, so we had to put up with dust, dirt, and rough roads!

The descent from Wolfgang pass over to Davos was short --- only 100m, though we got a nice view of Davos Lake, and a diversion down to the lake as part of the bike path to get us out of the heavy traffic. We made it down to the serviced apartments just as Xiaoqin and Boen had gotten the keys, so we got everyone settled in --- the apartment manager had given us 2 rooms in 2 different buildings, parked the bikes, took showers, used the washing machine (the last time we would get a chance to do so on the trip), and then upon learning that there was a Fondue restaurant, the kids demanded that we go there.

The ride to the Fondue restaurant was beautiful, reminding me how even the most mundane ride in Switzerland is gorgeous, taking us past streams and fields. The dinner was OK --- we did finish most of the Fondue, and bought breakfast for the next morning from the supermarket next door before returning. The forecast was for rain the next day, but with increasing possibility of sunshine during the day. I got the laundry out and dried, and slept decently, waking up once again at 2am but no longer distressed and sleep deprived.

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