Such a great night of crisp, clear skies and temps in the 40’s. With the bags pulled up around our heads and the buff over my head and eyes we slept great and woke to a beautiful morning waiting for the sun to make its way over the mountain and give some warmth to the little valley we were camped in. Hungry this morning and wanting a cup of coffee from a little bakery was a top priority this morning, as was finding a bike shop for a much-needed rear tire. I knew when we left Heidelberg that we would need a new tire, but an extra couple thousand miles is worth the wait.
We headed toward Chur, Switzerland hoping to find a cafe or bakery and a bike shop. Passing through a little town we found a market with a cafe, stopped and had a filled pastry and a chocolate croissant, with a great coffee, not American, and an orange juice.
Just on the outside of Chur we passed a Ducati racing shop, Grisoni Racing. I figured I would give them a try, doubting they would have a tire for my bike. Pulling up and parking my dirty, fully packed Triumph next to the Ducati Red, amazing looking bikes was great. Guys in one piece, leather racing suits were milling around checking out the race bikes inside the store. besides Melanie and I, there was no English spoken in the store, even the way I massacre the language. Using sign language and two languages with the service manager I finally got the point across that I needed a rear tire. Great, they had one, a Michelin, radial street racing tire. OK, I’ll give it a go since I need one really bad. More on this mistake later. The shop was great and took a bike off the rack to get mine worked on right away, plus an oil change. The price was surprisingly low also, not normal American BMW prices which was a welcome surprise.
It was past 1200hrs when they finished with the bike and soon as I paid for the work they closed the doors and all left for lunch. They wouldn’t be opening up again until 1500hrs, long lunch, and would remain open until 2000hrs. Crazy!
We were hungry by now but all of the restaurants and stores were also closed for lunch, they all went home to eat. We pulled over for fuel, grabbed a sandwich and took off looking for a quite lunch spot in the woods away from the busy world. Riding between freshly cut, golden wheat fields being hand turned by a farmer and his wife, and the forests we found a perfect place with a small picnic table and fresh, cold mountain water coming out of a pipe. Sometimes fresh, mountain water just tastes so good.
We finished eating and filled our water container with more of the cold water and continued north toward Liechtenstein. We stopped over the border in the small town of Balzers and visit Winzergenossenschaft Balzers-Mals, a castle in the middle of town on the hill surrounded by carefully terraced vineyards.
Everything was closed for lunch so we headed back into Switzerland following the Vorderrhein River toward the town of Andermatt, a bike riders paradise. Andermatt is a beautiful town in the middle of the Alps surrounded by mountains, and of some of the best passes in Europe. We rode into town across the Oberalppass at 2044 meters, and rode through the Furkapass, at 2431 meters (my favorite), and the Grimselpass at 2165 meters. Enjoy the pictures we took of these epic passes.
Leaving the passes proved difficult, not because of the riding, but because of having to leave views and a beauty that we had never seen before. At the top of Furkapass we stood in awe with it being a moment we didn’t want to end. Melanie had to get us going by ending my moment with a snowball.Heading toward Brienzersee on the north side of Interlaken we decided to stay on the north side of the lake with its smaller towns and roads and find a campsite for the night. We pulled into an overpriced campground on the lake in the small touristy town of Brienz around 1900 hrs, just as their restaurant was closing. No worries, we just figured we would head to town a grab a bite. After setting up camp beside a couple of rude female campers from France we walked to town to find severely overpriced food so tonight we had a noodle salad, bag of peanuts and an inexpensive bottle of wine from the gas station. Sitting on the edge of the lake as the sun was setting, snacking and drinking wine seemed a great way to end such a fantastic day as the swans swim by looking for handouts.