The Cheesy Delights of Switzerland


One-Pan (short for one Emily carrying one pannier on bike) riding in the Swiss Alps
After our great trip in Iceland we took a midnight flight across Europe to land in Stuttgart early on Monday morning. We were laden down with bikes and panniers, and 6 train changes later we wearily unloaded our gear onto the streets of Chur, Switzerland. Not long after this young Lovely Lovell-Smith appeared with two wonky panniers and a big grin.

The three of us set off up the road to try to find Jamie and Penny at Flims Camping ground. Unfortunately we had a few mishaps along the way - my brake pad finally called it quits- and we got a little lost and ended up down in a huge ravine cycling along a very narrow track beside the railway line.

After a big grind out of the ravine we were still looking for Penny and Jamie and their camp ground as the light faded and it became dark. Fireworks started going off around the valley - it turned out it was the Swiss national day. Finally we got hold of Dieter, the Swiss coach for the New Zealand WOC team this year and he showed us to his campsite and a place for us to pitch our tents! 'A great start to a typical Em and Chris trip' said Lovely as we crawled into bed.



Dieter, Lovely, Chris and me on the first of four chair lifts and gondolas
The next day we woke to breakfast (yoghurt, muesli, croissants and fresh bread) delivered to our tent door by Dieter. Then we were heading up on the Flims cable car to run Day 3 of Swiss O Week - at over 3000 meters!

Post race Lovely and I search on the glacial rocks for a control...

This necessitates some leaping on my behalf, and some gazing on Lovely's!

The following day we took a trip on the local via ferrata - along with Dieter, Jamie, Penny, Michael, Toby, Tane, and Lizzie- a fun Kiwi bunch, plus a whole pile of other keen via ferrata-ers out for the morning.

That night Dieter drove us to his place in Davos and we had Raclette!

Raclette is delicious, what a cheesy delight. I did manage a serious cheese nightmare that evening though - a vivid dream about Chris leaping boldly across a channel, falling in and being eaten by a killer whale! Yikes!

The next morning we (being three again) set off from Dieters place up the valley with a plan to bike over a pass to a little hut where we could spend the night.

Lovely cruises into a little town near the head of the valley.

After many hours carrying and pushing our bikes up the pass we found the descent most enjoyable. Unfortunately large parts of the descent were also not very rideable, but Lovely shows off his skills on this bit.

We reached the little hut just as the sun set and night fell - just in time for some good posing (-:

We slept a very comfy night on the hard stone floor of the hut. Well at least I did on my great new Thermarest NeoAir. I am not so sure about the boys. At about 9am, when we were still asleep, we were woken by voices. Thinking they had left Chris went out to relieve himself on a nearby rock, not realising the very amused bikers were sitting just nearby taking it all in!

We set out to bag a nearby peak called Chüealphorn (3078m). The clouds were fairly low, but Lovely was convinced we would have sun on top.



The sun appeared through that little patch of blue sky just as we reached the summit. I was studying the little 'peak book' and enjoying the feeling of being up high. The coloured prayer flags sent shivers down my spine thinking of our up and coming adventure to Nepal.

Not long after we started our descent from Chüealphorn all sign of sun and blue sky was gone and it looked as if rain and thunder was on its way. We climbed down a steep gully to avoid crossing the slippery glacier we had crossed on the way up. Once we got back down to the hut we were back on the bikes - carrying them up another pass and then continueing carrying them back down the other side. This was not great mountain biking country!
In a few places we could ride for a few meters, here I am showing off some great 'quadpod' technique. Shortly after we had started carrying our bikes down the hill the rain decided to let loose, and we were rapidly soaked as we negotiated our way through a pile of angry mooing cows. Lovely was left behind to fend off the maddest ones (we are still great friends).

Feeling wet, tired and a little sorry for ourselves we came to a fairly raging river, which required the skills of Chris the expert river crosser to help ferry Lovely, me and our bikes across.

Finally we made it to the end of the valley and 50m of rideable track.

From there we carried our bikes up a very steep hillside and plonked them down onto the road which leads up to Flüela Pass. We cycled up to the pass, then put on all the clothing we possibly could for the wet, freezing but rather exhilarating descent into Davos. We stocked up with lots of yummy food from the supermarket, then rode back up the hill to Dieters wonderful warm home, a warm shower, a big warm feast and a warm bed, mmmm.

The next day we drove in Dieter's car no. 2 back to Flims to meet up with the other New Zealanders and Dieter himself again. Chris competed in Day 6 of Swiss O week, while Lovely and I did a big cycle (95 km and over 2500m climb) to meet them all near the top of Furka Pass (2436m) - via Oberalp pass (2046m). We stayed in a youth hostel which sits almost at the top of the pass, and ate a big cheese fondue for dinner.

In the morning it was time to say goodbye to Lovely who was due back at work in Freiburg the following day. It was raining as he set off on the last part of the climb, then he had another climb and then a big descent into Interlaken where he would take the train. The rest of us piled into two cars and headed away on the long drive to Annecy in France where we would stay for one week's training before the world orienteering champs in Aix Les Bains. Here we are enjoying lunch at a cafe along the way.

Comments

Cris said…
Excellent, well done Emily you have overtaken me in your blogging. Perhaps I shall just post a little link on my blog to yours instead of writing it myself! Besides my blogs are not nearly as descriptive...
Frances said…
I feel exhausted just reading about it all...you guys are irrepressible!We too went over Fuella pass recently - in the Blue Pearl.
Kate Pedley said…
So many cool adventures! Looks a beautiful part of Europe :)

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