1:00. Flughafen Zürich. Right. Go to Gepäck. Bulky items on 16. Sperrgut. Check the other luggage wheel just in case. Ah, the yellow light and the belt is moving on 16. There’s my bike. Set it down, take off the plastic bag, cut zip ties. Adjust handlebar. Reassemble pedals. Remove bubble wrap from derailleur. Place rack bag in position. Enjoy feeling of satisfaction in my plan and preparations having worked out. Change clothes. Fill water bottles. Leave airport. 1:30.
Disorientation. Took the wrong direction from the airport, then figured it out and headed back. Everything’s in German, which makes me really happy, and I get distracted reading all the signs. 2:00. Go too far east, too far west, not far enough south. Finally get the sense of the layout. Stop for food and drink. Listen to people speaking different languages. Grab Birchermüsli, Emmi Caffe Latte, a can of Feldschlößen, a bottle of Rivella, a bag of Studentenfutter, Vollkornroggenbrot and some oranges. Need a better city map than the one I downloaded to my phone. Try to avoid stopping and looking lost and alone. See a few tall landmarks and follow Limmatstrasse towards the Zürichsee, and continue south. I ask people for directions when I get turned around. Find the main train station and go to the tourist info place and grab a free city map. Now if I could just get one of these for every region I pass through. Not long after the train station, I find a regional bike path. It takes me until 6:30 to get out of Zürich and southwest into the countryside. I’m managing 14 miles and hour on the bike, but I still stop for pictures. Beautiful ride, but for efficiency’s sake I wish I had invested in a new phone with an international phone plan. The GPS with Google Maps and Schweiz Mobil would have made this a piece of cake. I’m going a little slower because of the added weight of my bike luggage and backpack, but I lose more time to disorientation and way-finding.
6:30pm. The bike path is the number 94 regional path heading southwest towards Zug. I follow it all the way and the signage is easy to find at crossroads. It meets up with bike path 9, which could take me all the way down to Luzern, but I don’t think I will be able to find the Jugendherberge before 10:00 if I get turned around in Luzern like I did in Zürich. At the train station in Zug, I see a Jugendherberge on the public map, and find it within minutes. 8:30. I decide to stay the night and buy a youth hostel membership card, thinking I will probably use it again in July while cycling on the weekends from point to point.
Summing up: Traveled from Zürich to Zug today.
Total bike-in-motion time: 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Total traveling time after getting off the plane: 8 and a half hours.
Total distance: 47 miles.
Should have been closer to 80 or 90 according to the plan. Feeling the jetlag. Clean up, head to the room and try to access the WIFI, but no luck with phone or laptop. Guess it isn’t robust enough to be shared across the youth hostel users. No public computer for common use.
Plan for tomorrow: breakfast is at 7:30. After breakfast, head to the train station and take the train to Brienz, which is where I had hoped to end up today. Go from Brienz to Spiez, passing through Ringgenberg and Leissigen for photos of ancestral Heimat. From Spiez, head towards Adelboden. If elevation is too difficult, take bus and end up with my friends by 6pm at the latest. Back-up plan: If Plan A becomes untenable, re-direct towards Freiburg.
Just figured out that the WIFI connection is excellent downstairs. Maybe I can upload some photos. Communicated with friends and let them know Plans A and B.
P.S. Blog posts may have a somewhat truncated style while I’m rushed for time and trying to figure things out.
P.P.S. Why do I like traveling like this? It’s actually a lot of fun.