Sunday, 17 August 2008

Thursday 24th July - Basel to Lake Luzern

This is the most 'Swiss' picture I could get; it reminds me of chocolate wrappers

Firstly, an apology. I have been really lax in updating this blog, partly because I've found it hard to find an internet cafe to write something meaningful in between days of heavy cycling and also because it is an expensive habit I can afford only occasionally. So I apologise to the doubtless legions of would-be blog readers who think I have either fallen off a cliff or can't be bothered. Neither is true, but I have now reached Athens and have free time and internet so am writing my posts from my journal to catch up. Hope you enjoy reading it still and this slightly inauthentic time delay doesn't spoil it! British School at Athens - 17/08/2008

It seems that all of the hill training I did in England was for nothing, for after two weeks of cycling down the Rhine I have got proper soft. Still, to be fair Switzerland is not a place of gentle inclines, but thigh-busting, life-defining two-wheeled ordeals, always rewarded with a gallon of sweat, a beautiful view and a seriously fun descent. It's just a shame the climbs the climbs take so long and the descents are over so quickly. It reminds me of being at major theme parks as a child; the rollercoasters are a blast, but the queues are so long that you can only manage three in a day! It's a trade a laborious build up and an exhilarating 5 minute reward and for cyclists, Switzerland is one of the worlds most beautiful and exciting theme parks.

One weird thing that happened was a dragonfly flying full pelt into my left cheek whilst clocking 50 kph downhill; it felt like being punched in the face. Dragonflies are really irresponsible pilots, truly. By the end of the day I was aiming to get to Fleulen on the far side of Lake Luzern, but ultimately only got to Merlischachen on the near side, staying in a nice little campsite right by the lake (it is next to impossible to wild camp around here). This means that to keep to The Schedule™ I'll have to cycle 90 kms tomorrow to get to around Fleulen and THEN ascend the Alps to 2108 metres to the Gotthard pass, before rolling down to Airolo in the Italian part - that's a fair ride! I'll give it a good shot, but I'm not afraid to take an extra day if necessary. This is the kind of thing that really gets me going!

Seriously, is that not one of the most inviting things you've ever seen in your life? Fleulen

18.8 AV., 57.1 Max, Dist. 125.03, Time 6.38.43

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