Monthly Archives: August 2015

Cycling – Geneva to Leysin – 116 km plus… (Part 1 of 3)

Day 1 – Geneva to Nyon – 43 km – 300 m

After traveling solo for a few weeks it has been so much nice to have good company. Our son Alex and his girlfriend Emily joined me in Switzerland for the final segment in Europe.

Yea...Let's take the hilly route.
Yea…Let’s take the hilly route.

We picked up rental bikes at Bike Switzerland in Geneva. The quality of the bikes (more about this later) and the lack of stress in packing and shipping bicycles made me wonder why we’ve been carrying our own bicycles everywhere. But then I remembered, most places we’ve been did NOT have Trek 720 rental bikes. Plus my bike is now like an extension of me – I know all it’s quirks and sounds.

We chose to cycle clockwise around Lake Geneva which, according to the local Swiss tourist cycling map, is the “best” way for views, road signs, and general ease of travel. That being said, I was happy my cycling friends were agreeable to taking the clockwise yet more hilly, slightly longer, a lot less-traveled, scenic Route 50.

Getting higher in elevation means more cool castles.
Getting higher in elevation means more cool castles.

Our biggest mistake, and I know better, was to leave Geneva without any snack food. We started feeling hungry just past noon with no food in sight. After almost two more hours of cycling we found a cafe/restaurant . After locking our bikes to the fence by the cafe and walking inside and waiting for the waitress to appear, she curtly informed us “Je suis domage” (she didn’t really appear that “sad/sorry”), but “tu peu ne pas mange’” (you can’t eat). Yep, we’d arrived after the restaurant-serving-food time of 11:30 – 1:30.

I still wasn’t too worried because I’d seen a grocery store nearby. We walked across a parking lot only to find a darkened store and with a sign over the door “ferme’.” The hours of operation included a nice “nap time” from 12:15 – 15:30 pm. “Quelle domage!” (It really was sad.)

As things always have a way of working out for the best, it turns out that Nyon was only a few kilometers further down the road. We found delicious made-to-order sandwiches for a fraction of the price of the “plat du jour” at the sad-but-not-really cafe from above.

If you look closely, the Roman columns form a border around Mont Blanc.
If you look closely, these Roman columns in Nyon form a border around Mont Blanc.

Day 2 – Nyon to Lausanne – 43 km

Today we cycled through a large patchwork of vineyards carved out of the side of steeps hills overlooking Lake Geneva. The many swarms of fruit-flies feasting on the nearly ripe grapes stuck to our sunglasses and sweaty faces as we cycled by. Although a nuisance, they were also a reminder of grape harvest season which, in turn, means wine-making season, which led me to thinking about wine for dinner and trying to remember the local names of some of the vineyards so I could try something local.

Beautiful vineyards led to tasting yummy wines for dinner.
Beautiful vineyards led to tasting yummy wines for dinner.

A swimming break for Alex and Emily and a reading break for me, followed by a picnic, a long stop at Morges for ice cream and a walk around town put us in the super lazy, relaxed mode. We’d lingered because we’d assumed the final 12 kilometers to Lausanne would be a breeze…

Quelle surprise!

Let’s just say, I’d never been so happy to finally arrive at our destination, the city center of Lausanne. However, unlike many of the towns we’d visited along Lake Geneva, the city center is about 250 meters up a VERY steep hill. That coupled with the late afternoon, hottest part of the day made me feel like I’d just crossed the Arabian dessert and was crawling to an oasis. Ok, I’m exaggerating, but I was unexpectedly tired (and probably dehydrated) and didn’t think I’d be able to take off my cycling shoes, let alone carry my panniers up to the room.

It was time for a “night at home” where I consumed 6 bike bottles of water, a large tomato juice, a small pizza and a plate of very salty spaghetti before calling it a night.

Day 3 – Lausanne to Leysin – 30 km cycling plus a ferry ride, plus a train ride.

All of us were a little tired today, so I think we were all secretly happy when a spoke broke on Alex’s rear wheel. (This is the first rental bike issue…) Luckily it was only 7 km to the next town, Vevey, which has a nice bicycle repair shop. A couple of hours later, we were ready to roll….our bikes onto a ferry boat to enjoy a scenic journey on the lake from a different perspective and with much less energy expended: beautiful hills, vineyards, castles, and a very modern elevated highway nestled along Lake Geneva.

A broken spoke delay led to a wonderful ferry boat ride.
A broken spoke delay led to a wonderful ferry boat ride.
Chateau de Chillon, our point of disembarkment.
Chateau de Chillon, our point of disembarkment.

We disembarked at Chateau de Chillon and biked 12 kilometers to Aigle where we enjoyed a cold beer while waiting for the cog train to take us the remaining 800 meters almost straight up the mountain to Leysin. We all agreed that we were SO glad we took the train and we will have NO regrets when we will enjoy the super fun downhill.

View from the window of the cog train taking us to Leysin.
View from the window of the cog train taking us to Leysin.

I’m typing today’s post from the veranda of Les Airelles Bed and Breakfast overlooking Mont Blanc and many other peaks and glaciers that I can’t name. I’m also peering down on several very expensive (80,000 Swiss Francs per year according to the B&B owner) Swiss Boarding schools.

This was the perfect place to enjoy Swiss fondue and raclette for dinner last night. “Fondue” and “raclette” both mean a lot of cheese but the fondue is in a pot and the raclette is somehow browned and warmed on a grill. We dipped bread, gherkins, onions and potatoes in our cheese.

View from Arielles B&B in Leysin, Switzerland.
View from Arielles B&B in Leysin, Switzerland.

Leysin is the perfect place to enjoy cool mountain air, warm tasty fondue, and snow-capped peaks and glaciers.

Cycling – Basel to Geneva – 3 Days- 283 KM

Day 1 – Basel to Biel/Bienne – 95 km

Aside from the difficulties I had exiting Basel, this segment was lovely – just the right amount of hills, scenery, and old stone buildings. The weather was a bit on the cool side making it perfect for cycling.

Exiting Basel was difficult for me because I wanted to avoid the mountain biking Route 3 (with the brown marker) as well as the very hilly, more isolated Route 7 along the French border. Basically, I was trying to find an exit out of town on Route 3 (the North South Route with the Blue Marker) until it eventually intersected with the popular Route 5 (The Middle-land route).

To be honest, I had no idea where I really was between Listal and Balsthal but the scenery was great and the roads not-too-steep. I love Swiss highway engineering with wide, sweeping, hairpin turns at 2 – 3% grades. (At least up to this point…)

It would be fun to be a kid here with a ski lift right on main street near the school.
It would be fun to be a kid here with a ski lift right on main street near the school.

After resting in Solothurn, enjoying an ice cream cone, and finally finding a blue route marker for Route 5, I knew I had the energy to cycle on to my destination, Biel/Bienne, located at the northeastern tip of the Bieler See.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
St. Ursus Cathedral, Solothurn

I stayed in a great old hotel. Although the rooms were dated, the beds were new and comfortable, the wifi worked well, and the shower was hot. The owner and his daughter were quite helpful and welcoming thus making me glad I chose to eat dinner at the hotel. And after dinner walk around town helped stretch out my sore legs and gave me time to explore the sights.

Bieler See near Biel/Bienne
Bieler See near Biel/Bienne

Day 2 – Bile/Bienne to Yverdan-les-bains – 92 km.

The good thing about my staying in a tiny hotel room in a small, sleepy town is that it gets me on the road early. I love the mornings before everyone wakes up – just me and the swans and the purr of my just-oiled chain – cycling along the lake.

This sums up the peacefulness of the early morning near Biel/Bienne
This sums up the peacefulness of the early morning near Biel/Bienne

The peacefulness did not last long as today’s route took me along the main highway to Neuchâtel- (love the name “new castle” for an 14th century relic).

This water-wheel/fountain at the north end of Lac de Neuchatel is fun to watch
This water-wheel/fountain at the north end of Lac de Neuchâtel is fun to watch

I stopped by the Tourist Information Center to find the “must-see’s” in town. The very friendly guy at the help desk gave me more information than I needed but, more importantly, he gave me a free postage-paid post card. I sat down right then and there to write and mail it.

Sitting next to me was a very elderly (turns out 97 years as he later told me) man wearing all white – kind of a brave color choice, if you ask me, for someone that old. On his head was a straw hat reminiscent of the 1920s He eager to talk. We started in French, but then after he told me he sold real-estate in Australia for 40 years, has 3 children, ? grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren, 3 advocates (lawyers?) etc, I asked if he spoke English. We switched to English and I learned that he returned to Switzerland because it’s better for older people (Remember my 100% handicap-accessible hotel?)

He also told me that I speak really good English. I thanked him and wondered just where he thought I was from considering he hand’t picked up on my poor French accent.
After about four good-byes, I made my way towards the “Centre-ville” by following the throngs of tourists. Once there I decided I wasn’t up to the crowds at the Neuchâtel castle so I checked the ferry time-table for the earliest escape. Forty minutes gave me just enough time to grab a spinach and mushroom crepe before the ferry ride across Lac Neuchâtelto Portalban.

Saying good-bye to Neuchâtel on the ferry to Partalban
Saying good-bye to Neuchâtel on the ferry to Partalban

The remainder of the day was easy riding through the walled city of Estavayer de lac, on a surprisingly rough and narrow wooded trail and into the town of Yverdon-les-Bains.

The walled city of Estavayer-le-lac
The walled city of Estavayer-de-lac.
I was surprised how rough Route 5 was for a few kilometers.
I was surprised how rough Route 5 was for a few kilometers.

It turns out Yverdan has ancient Roman ruins and baths (hence the “les-bains” attached to its name). It’s lovely resort town located on the southwestern tip of the Lac de’ Neuchatel.

Loved this hotel room with the heavy double French doors and a small balcony.
Loved this hotel room with the heavy double French doors and a small balcony.

Here’s where patience and lack of internet and phone service paid off. It wasn’t until I got to Yverdon around 3:30 pm that I started looking for a hotel room. Because I’m a booking.com “Genius” which just means I’ve booked a LOT of hotel rooms, I got a great deal (seriously!) on a beautiful 4-star resort complete with a spa: sauna, steam room, jacuzzi for the price of a youth hostel. I changed my typical after cycling sightseeing routine and locked myself in the spa until dinner time. It was a real “Calgon – Take Me Away” afternoon.

Day 3 – Yverdon-les Bains to Geneva – 96 km.

I woke up like I usually do after a spa visit – with lead legs. The first few kilometers were tough.

Not the most beautiful scenery to start the day.
Not the most beautiful scenery to start the day.

The  scenery was industrial sprinkled with recently-harvested, brown farm acres. I followed Route 5 to the town of La Sarraz where I promptly lost the trail.

Somewhere around this old church I lost my way.
Somewhere around this old church I lost my way.

So, I went to “compass mode.” As long as the road was taking me in the general direction of southwest, I cycled it. This seemed to work although I think I found a few more hills than necessary.

About 20 kilometers later I came to an intersection with a Bicycle Route Sign putting me back on track.

So happy to see this sign.
So happy to see this sign.

Chateaus, vineyards, cabbages, walled cities and a delicious poisson au citron (fish with lemon sauce) made the middle of the day delightful!

A chateau plus vineyards.
A chateau plus vineyards.
Thinking "Cabbage Patch Kids".
Thinking “Cabbage Patch Kids”.
See the wall in the distance? I'll be riding by it soon.
See the wall in the distance? I’ll be riding by it soon.
Here's the wall. Even this road is not too steep.
Here’s the stone wall/road from the last picture. Even this road is not too steep.

A long, steep, windy downhill finally brought me near the edge of Lac Le’mon (Lac de Geneve).

First view of Lac Léman.
First view of Lac Léman.

I was hoping for some beautiful lake views but huge old mansions probably from the managers of Rolex, Bulgari, and other fancy watch brands whose headquarters I’d cycled past, had gobbled up all the water front property relegating the cycle path to a trail along the railroad tracks and behind industrial warehouses.

Moevenpick means more than ice-cream.
Moevenpick means more than ice-cream.

But always one to “make lemon aid out of lemons” I was delighted to find the headquarters of Movenpick. Ice cream!…I thought.

I did find a tiny cup of Swiss chocoate, but what I really learned was that Movenpick is an importer and distributor of wines (among other fancy things) around the world. Walking through the “cellar” I found Chateau St. Michelle and Columbia Crest from Washington. And, the cashier told me she’d tasted Kung Foo Girl riesling from Washington. Small world!

About 15 kilometers from Geneva I “hit the wall.” That is, I got really tired, needed water, and focused only on my sore butt. It was time for a break.

That’s what I love about Europe! Things are close and no sooner did I think “stop” than a fountain and tiny village with an open restaurant appeared.

Everyone tells me this water is OK to drink so I filled 2 bottles.
Everyone tells me this water is OK to drink so I filled 2 bottles.

Because EVERYONE has told me the water in the fountains is safe to drink, I filled both of my bottles. I took a big sip and topped the water bottle off again, just in case.

Of course with all that water I then needed “une toilette” which meant also buying “un cafe.”

Just as I sat down to sip my coffee a lady with a big, black, hot-because-his-owner-made-him-go-for-a-walk, black lab approached the water fountain. She was urging him to take a sip from the pool at the bottom of the fountain. But I know labs and I know they LOVE water – not just sipping water but swimming in water, splashing in water, jumping in water, sitting in water and then taking a gulp to make the “water experience” complete.

I was hoping that Swiss labs would be more refined than American labs with 1500 years or more of training in the local castles. Mais NON! They both share the same I-love-water gene.The life-saving, dehydration-preventing water I had just hastily gulped (albeit mine came from the spigot) had now become the swimming/play pool for the neighborhood black lab.

I’m typing this several days later so I guess I’m OK.

Geneva!!!
Geneva!!!

Arriving in Geneva was a mixtures of emotions: happiness that I’d found Geneva, sadness, joy and relief that my “solo tour” was coming to and end, and excitement that our son and his friend would be arriving in 2 days for a cycle tour together.

Sometimes it’s Difficult to Navigate

It took me awhile to realize that some of these are mountain bike routes and others are road routes.
It took me awhile to realize that some of these are mountain bike routes and others are road routes.

This morning I could not get my bearings.

I had a Google route on my phone. I had my Garmin turned on. I’d made copies of a Swiss cycling map and placed it in the map holder of my handlebar bag. I’d written down the names of towns I would be heading towards.

I’d thought I was ready to tackle the day.

But things were “off” from the start.

I’d left my cycling gloves packed deep in my large pannier and couldn’t be bothered to dig them out. The weather couldn’t make up it’s mind whether to rain or shine so I kept stopping to change clothes. And….only about half a mile from my hotel the Swiss cycle route signs contradicted my carefully planned way.

I had to make a quick decision – Switzerland or Garmin?

I could trust that the Switzerland route signs were in the correct place and hadn’t been “turned” by mischievous adolescent types or the wind, or I could trust Google which, to be honest, hadn’t been finding the “roads less traveled” like farm roads, hiking tracks and dirt lanes.

I chose  Switzerland.

But in my mind I didn’t really trust Switzerland.

I tried to trust the burgundy colored Swiss Cycle Route  signs. But, within a mile of the first turn, I doubted the direction and the signs. I checked my phone. Everything was good but still felt wrong..

One of my decisions was to chose the hilly road route instead of the hillier mountain bike route.
One of my decisions, after I recognized the different pictures on the signs, was to chose the hilly road bike route instead of the hillier mountain bike route.

I cycled a few more miles and came to a detour sign. Detours often mean trouble. Just imagine a highway worker at a five-point intersection moving the detour sign just a few feet. This can mean miles of extra riding. I checked the map on Garmin. I could see where the detour and the main road would intersect. I followed the detour until I lost the signs. Then I checked my phone…again….

One of my random choices took me by the BMC factory which was exciting.
One of my random choices took me by the BMC factory which was exciting.

After few more miles the direction again felt wrong. I checked my phone AND the compass on the Garmin. My instincts were correct. I WAS heading in the wrong direction. I backtracked, found a tiny, burgundy arrow hidden under a vine. I got back on the “route.”

The day continued: lose road signs, check Garmin, open phone, check paper maps, repeat.

To make things even more difficult, my navigation aids were missing. It was cloudy so there was no sun or shadows. I was on hills rather than beside a river.

I was so “off” I couldn’t even daydream for a minute for fear of missing a “sign”.

I was ready to call it a day 15 miles short of my original plan.

This beautiful fountain was my view while enjoying an ice cream cone.
This beautiful fountain was my view while enjoying an ice cream cone.

Until……

I found ice cream!

And a river!

And the sun!

Those three “finds” made breezing through the final 15 miles easy and gave me time to think about how life’s like cycling.

Some days it’s easy to navigate and others it’s not .

The Hotel Artus in Biel/Bienne was a real "find." Friendly owners, good food and a great bed!
The Hotel Artus in Biel/Bienne was a real “find.” Friendly owners, good food and a great bed!

 

But….There are Hills! – Cycling Munich to Basel

The splendor of mountains makes cycling them worth the effort.
The splendor of mountains makes cycling them worth the effort.

Traveling solo I’ve noticed a lot more people feel like they need to stop and offer help. If I pull out a map, or my phone, or stop to get my bearings from a map on a sign post someone generally stops to offer help. This has been a common conversation the past few days:

Cyclist on electric bike (CEB): Hi. Do you need help? Where are you going?
Me: I’m going to Bad Tolz. Is this the path?
CEB: It’s that way. (pointing in the direction I’m headed) But…(and here they take a long, deep breath and looking with pity at my loaded panniers) THERE ARE HILLS.
Me: (Shrugging it off…no big deal) It doesn’t matter. Thanks for your help!

And off I pedal thinking I can handle hills. I like hills. I like challenge. But, the CEB’s comments seem like foreshadowing.Will my smug reply come back to haunt me?
Day One – Munich to Bad Tolz – 82 km – (Ascent 485m Descent 295m)

Leaving Munich I followed the Isar River on the Isar Radweg. (Radweg is German for cycle path or bike trail)

Swimmers at the Isar River.
Swimmers at the Isar River.

The trail starts out flat and crowded with Munichers riding to their favorite swimming spot in the river. I’m lulled into the lazy days of summer mentality until I reach a downed tree blocking the path. Perhaps I missed the “detour” sign but soon I found myself on single dirt tracks in the woods: rolling hills, switch backs, rocks, gravel, sand, you name it. But I was enjoying myself. I could smell the scent of pine and feel the softness of pine needles under my tires. I was relishing the cool shade from the canopy of pines. And I only had to push up one small hill. So far so good.

Lots of mountain bikers were also enjoying these trials.
Lots of mountain bikers were also enjoying these trials.

Day Two – Bad Tolz to Benediktbauren – 80 km (Ascent 528m Descent 420 m)

At Bad Tolz, I left the Isar Radweg and joined up with the Bodensee-Konigssee-Radweg. The trail is well-marked but not always the most direct route. Usually when the route took, what I considered a detour, it usually brought me by an interesting landmark or view.

Most of the hills were gradual grades carved through rolling hills of farmlands. There were beautiful vistas of fields of clover, daisies, and sunflowers dotted with cows wearing clanging bells and baroque style church steeples in valleys and distant hill tops. The reward for the long, slow climb was a breathtaking, winding downhill with all the thrill of the Tour de France minus the danger of collisions with other cyclists.

Day Three – Benediktbauren to Fussen- 85 km – (Ascent 660m Descent 498 m)

This would be a peaceful place to spend the night.
This would be a peaceful place to spend the night.

Before getting into rhythm of cycling, I stopped at the Kloster of Benediktbauren. If wish I would have know about the Kloster (which I think means cloister and peaceful nuns) beforehand because I would have spent the night in one of the guest rooms. The church, the nunnery and the Kloster grounds are beautiful and worth a visit.

There are lots of crosses dotting the hills.Some of from the 1800s.
There are lots of crosses dotting the hills.Some of from the 1800s.

The rest of the day was cycling up and down hills with plenty of stops admire the views and take photos. Long before reaching Fussen, I got my first magical views of Neuschwanstein Castle. If I had more time, I would have spent another day in this area to visit the castle and swim in the lake.

Day Three – Fussen to Lindau 124 km  (Ascent1060m Descent 1429m)

One of many ski areas.
One of many ski areas.

This was a long, hard day made even longer and harder by the fact that I was using both a Open Street Maps route that I loaded onto my Garmin and trying to follow the Bodensee-Konigsee-Radweg signs. There were many places they conflicted. At one point, trying to avoid a very steep uphill on a very busy road as Garmin suggested, I detoured and followed the Radweg signs. This change added 20 km longer to the day’s ride through some beautiful places, but…….I STILL had to climb the very steep hill (16% according to the sign). My smugness to CEB was coming back to haunt me.

Riding along the edge of the hill.
Riding along the edge of the hill.

In spite of the hills and the length of the day, I was happy. I cycled past ski areas and beautiful mountain towns and got ideas for further winter cross-country ski vacations and summer mountain biking trips.

Day Four – Lindau to Berlingen, Switzerland 80 km (of which 17km is on the ferry between Meersbourg and Konstanz) (Ascent 151m descent 140 m)

The ride was flat but lots of grapes were growing on the hills.
The ride was flat but lots of grapes were growing on the hills.

This ride was a pleasant reprieve from the grueling hills of the past few days. And, there are TONS of cycle tourists making a trip around the Bodensee. (4 days 150 km) so it was always interesting and entertaining. The paths were packed with bicycles, trailers, tandems, electric cycles, toddler bicycles, wheelchairs, dogs in baby carriers, todders walking two-wheel pedals bikes and trying to keep up with dad on his touring bike, families in matching cycling shirts, women’s clubs, men’s clubs and soloists like me. It was a hoot.

Ferry from Meersburg to Konstanz
Ferry from Meersburg to Konstanz

However, after the ferry ride when I saw the mobs of tourists crowding downtown Kontanz, I lost all desire to sight-see and decided to move on. I stopped under shady tree, booked a hotel 19 km down the road and left the hustle and bustle of tourism central.

I crossed the border into Switzerland barely 1 kilometer outside of Konstanz.

I even remembered to walk across the street to the German customs office to get my shopping receipts stamp for the VAT refund. (lots of clothes shopping to send Eric back to work.)

Day Five – Berlingen, Switzerland to Waldshut, Germany -82 km (530 m ascent 590 m descent.)

I found tranquility in this town. I ma have been the only tourist.
I found tranquility in this town. I ma have been the only tourist.

After a restless night’s sleep in my very new, 100% handicap accessible hotel – the room was hot and the adjustable hospital bed illicits too many memories of hospital stays- i headed west along the Swiss side of the Rhine river. I crossed back into Germany at Steig am Rhine, a great little place to spend the night, stop for coffee or visit a museum. But, the bus loads of tourists causing a 20 minutes wait at the WC motivated me to cycle on.

I got quite lost due to road construction detours near Schaffhausen, and never really got back my navigation confidence for the day. As a matter of fact, at one point I was out in the mucky, dark, rocky 4WD boonies wondering if my cell phone had enough charge to send pings if I never made it to my final destination.

I thought I was lost when I cycled through this lumber mill in the Black Forest.
I thought I was lost when I cycled through this lumber mill in the Black Forest.

But, I needn’t have worried. The beautify of old countries is that all the land has been claimed, mapped, and cultivated for centuries and eventually leads to somewhere. Sure enough, a road sign deep in the middle of the dark forest assured me I was on the right road AND told me I only had 29 kilometers to go.

The last half of the ride was predominately downhill. While dropping 500 meters in elevation (1500 feet) to almost sea level the temperatures climbed disproportionately. When I finally reached civilization (to me this means a well-stocked ice cream cafe) I stopped, gobbled up a five scoop bowl of ice cream and began my search for hotels.

Wouldn’t you know that this was the first time in 10 months that lodging was scare? The best I could find was Goal Motel/Tennis/Soccer. (Yep, that’s the name). But, I was happy to have a bed AND to meet our friend Manfred (see Dalat ride) for a beer and dinner.

This is the perfect motel is you're a soccer team having a week sports camp.
This is the perfect motel is you’re a soccer team having a week sports camp.

Day Six – Waldshut to Basel, Switzerland -72 km (Ascent 311m descent 359 m).

I woke up on the wrong side of the bunk bed because a) who puts flannel sheets of a bunk bed in the middle of summer in a non air-conditioned room and b) who charges for a quad when the hotel is closer to empty than full and c) what sucker uses booking.com to book a bunk bed in a youth camp? (Don’t answer that last question.)

The water on the river is still calm early in the morning.
The water on the river is still calm early in the morning.

Anyway, the good thing about bad accommodations is that it gets me on the road much earlier in the morning. This is a big help due to the stifling heat and baking sun of early August in Germany/Switzerland.

There were two exceptional parts to this day’s ride and they both happened at Bad Sackingen: The first was eating a pint of fresh raspberries that I purchased at the street market, and the second was crossing the border on a covered bridge.

The covered bridge between Germany and Switzerland at Bad Sackingen.
The covered bridge between Germany and Switzerland at Bad Sackingen.

The remainder of the ride on the Swiss side of the Rhine got very industrial with many manufacturing plants for large pharmaceutical companies: Roche, Bayer, etc. By the time I got to the old town (Stadtmitte) it appeared that most of the residents of Basel were floating down the Rhine River to escape the heat of the city.. I was ready to jump in and join them but I didn’t have one of the floating “pillows” that bob behind them so the river boats can see them.

There is no beach on the sides of the river so there are these sunbathing platforms dotting the river in Basel.
There is no beach on the sides of the river so there are these sunbathing platforms dotting the river in Basel.

I’ve highly recommend this ride especially because there are hills!