Thursday, 10 September 2009
Day 4: Day Off
Day4 –Day off. “Using different muscles.Feet getting increasingly sore and blistered. Too much time spent cycling to get fitter, but feet feeling as soft as a baby’s bottom, as a result. Getting out of bed to go to the loo in the middle of the night was becoming increasingly more uncomfortable, with super-sore thighs. So it was decided that we would have an easy, “rest” day today. We’d use some different muscles and give our feet a break. We planned to set off nearer lunch-time, giving the sun time to get up and warm the valley. We did a bit of washing (they have real washing-machines, and driers and a fantastic free drying room, where we can put our wet towels overnight, although someone does seem to have taken a shine to our brand-new towel!) We did some repairs to a damaged window mozzie net, and I up-dated the blog.
We set off about 12am, cycling down the valley towards Interlaken. Yet another glorious, blue sky day. We cycled across the airport runway, pausing to take photos of some very large raptors, which looked a little like eagles. Then we rose above the lake and road, on a hilly section, pausing again at Iselwald, at the Hotel Bellevue. We made a note to come back here for a special wedding anniversary. It was a modest, small hotel, but had tables set up right on the waters edge, and they specialised in fish dishes, so that’s a promise! We quickly ate one of the famous cakes with a coffee- plum tart! Absolutely huge and equally delicious!! But it was 2pm, and we hadn’t had anything to eat. I find I can’t eat a proper meal when I’m working hard cycling!
Up and down again, on to the splendid Giessbach Grand Hotel. The whole area down by the lake has a very old wealthy feel about it, almost Riviera-style, with boats ferrying people up and down across the Brienzersee lake. The lake itself is expansive, separated from an equally large lake called the Thunsee, by the town of Interlaken. Both have a love turquoise colour, and on a day like today, with no wind, the water was still. I was surprised to find it quite quiet down by the lake, considering the stations are quite busy, but when you get out into the mountains it’s quiet there as well!
We took photos under the Giessbach falls which tumble down the mountainside at the back of the hotel, rather like the Lauterbrunnen falls at the back of the campsite. From the falls, onto the head of the lake and Brienz, which didn’t seem particularly striking, as we shot through it at a speed that a half-digested plum tart will allow!
We worked hard all the way from Brienz to Interlaken, on the opposite side of the lake, stopping at Interlaken to watch the paragliders landing in the field nearby, and called in at the station to buy some 1920s style mountain railway posters. Incidentally the Swiss will be working towards and celebrating 2012, like us, but for a different reason, celebrating the railway centennial, so it would be a great time to come back then, although I’ll be amazed if we don’t return yearly whilst we have the van, because we’ve both agreed it’s an amazing place!
From Interlaken it’s a gradual climb of 12k back to Lauterbrunnen, and I was ecstatic to see Lauterbrunnen railway station appear, around the bend, up the hill. I was feeling shattered but really pleased when Ian told me we’d just covered 41miles, yes miles not ks. Not bad for a rest day!
We ate a pre-prepared frozen chicken tagine with couscous and loaded up with all the food we’d missed that day, and stayed in to watch “Harry Potter” on dvd..
It’s weird but I can see what pulls Wilkie and team back to this area every year. We’ve only had one day in the valley, and we can’t wait to get into the mountains again. A bit like an addiction really, you do get a feeling of such euphoria when you@re up there in the sunshine, looking at those views!