This was my first bicycle tour, and I enjoyed it a lot. All in all, I found self-supported bicycle touring to be an ideal way to vacation, for a number of reasons.

First, you (as a group) set to set your own schedule. We only made reservations for our first and last nights in Munich, as well as the nights in Rosenlaui. There were very few instances where we had to be at a particular place by the end of a particular day. So if you're feeling weak (or strong!) on a particular day, or if some attraction catches your eye, or the weather is awful, you can change your plans on the fly.

Second, I've found that staying physically active helps to clear my mind. Cycling is very meditative, in a way. If I were lounging around on a pool deck instead, my mind would very quickly wander to work-related stuff or any of a large number of other possible stress-inducing thoughts. The point of a vacation is to get away from all that! Cycling sort of derails one's internal monologue, as both climbing and descending take up a good fraction of one's cognitive capacity (for different reasons). The beautiful scenery everywhere surely helps, too.

Third, if you are in a country with good food, you can pretty much eat as much as your body is capable of eating— including ice cream and beer at every meal, if you like— and you will still lose weight.

I also enjoyed traveling in Switzerland in particular. Most of the time, we stayed in rural hotels, so we were able to travel quite cheaply. Switzerland provides a lot of support for cyclists: from the considerate drivers to the water fountains to the well-labeled and well-maintained bike highway system. You just don't get signs as useful as this in the US:

Climb sign showing amount of climb and the distance until the summit

Additionally, there's the fact that apparently if you follow any road for two hours, you will arrive at a town with a grocery store and a hotel. There is pretty much no such thing as "getting lost in the middle of nowhere." This is definitely not the case in the US— granted, you can deal with this, but it requires a bit more up-front trip planning. With the typical American experience in mind, I packed a whole bunch of Clif bars for the trip and ended up not eating most of them.

There were many exhilirating descents on the tour: St. Gotthard, Susten, and Göschenen to Wassen come to mind. The landscapes, too, were engrossing. Winding roads, breathtakingly green fields lit up in the sun, wildflowers, snow-capped mountains, gorges, waterfalls, streams, and lakes. I loved just soaking it all in.

I'm really looking forward to returning someday to see some of the things I missed this time around. But frankly, I would be perfectly happy to go on the exact same route next year (well, hopefully, minus the rain and the getting sick).