July 7
Zweisimmen to Grindelwald, Switzerland

It was a rainy day. We stopped for lunch in the bustling resort town of Interlaken, ordering in French from the menu.

Bill and Kären each bought Swiss Army Knives -- not just ordinary Swiss Army Knives, but the bicyclist version, which has a chain tool and hex wrenches. With the chain tool they cost 72 Swiss Francs, so I resisted the temptation.

There are gorgeous flower gardens everywhere in Switzerland. I've seen better examples than this, but this is the one I photographed.

Bill, Kären and Karrie rode with me until the road started its steep ascent to Grindelwald, where Karrie jumped in the sag van.

Just before the climb started, we saw a bike path and since the traffic was relatively heavy, thought riding on it instead of the road would be more pleasant. As we started to climb, Kären, the fittest of us, took off leaving Bill and I to struggle with the steep climb. It turned out that some of the hills on the bike path were 25% grades. The bike path was so steep that I had trouble keeping my front wheel on the ground. It kept raising 6"-8" off the ground. I tried standing up to push my weight further forward, but wasn't in shape to ride standing for more than a few feet at a time. At one point a Porsche Boxter sports car came down the bike path. Bill and I were forced off the road. Both of us crumbled to a halt and had to walk our bikes for a few feet to the next plateau.

Our route was starting to look very difficult. I bought this postcard to send my wife. Interlaken is in the lower right. Grindelwald is marked "Today." The pink line depicts our course through the mountains (If you can display 800x600 pixels on your monitor, click on the postcard for an enlarged view).

When we got to Grindelwald, it started pouring. I set up my tent in the rain and got soaked clear through to my underwear. It was cold (about 2°C) and I was exhausted, so I retired immediately to my tent, napping on top of my duffel bags. When I awakened, there was 4"-6" of standing water in the bottom of my tent. A few years of heavy use in the bright sunlight apparently killed the water-proofing of my rainfly and the tent floor. Water was seeping right through the rainfly and tent fabric into the tent. I was concerned about hypothermia in the cold rain (and snow was forecast), so I decided to check into the Hotel Bodenwald adjacent to the campground.


In the evening several of the group came to my room to watch the World Cup soccer game, but the proprietress told them that they had to be out of my room by 11:00 PM, so they missed the overtime play that decided the winner. The Swiss are a bit rigid, but I do understand the concerns of a hotel proprietor about campers abusing visitation privileges. I'll bet they get campers sleeping on the floor often. That was not the case with our group, but the rules would not be that flexible. The hotel was very nice:

78 km

  
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