Day 6: Bludenz, Austria to Meiringen

21 June 2010

We left the hotel early to take the train to Meiringen. We had to transfer three times en route, which was a bit stressful since our tightest transfer was only 3 minutes long (and we weren't sure if Piaw and Lisa would have to carry the tandem up and down stairs at the station). On one leg, Cynthia, Kekoa, and I ended up in a car that only had two bike hooks. We managed to hang all three bikes with some creative application of bungee cords:

We arrived in Meiringen uneventfully around noontime. Although it was overcast, it would not rain that day, for pretty much the first time since we had arrived in Europe.

Cynthia and Lisa went to the post office to see if they could buy some prepaid SIM cards. We then went to the Meiringen tourist information center to find a hotel with vacancies, but were unable to actually contact anyone at a hotel who could show us a room. (Europeans take "out to lunch" very seriously.)

After visiting a couple of hotels, it did not seem like we would be able to get lodging in the town proper, so we gave up and got reservations at Hotel Zwirgi (a bit up the hill, overlooking the town) and started riding up. I thought this was a great idea, since after two and a half days without riding, my legs were itching.

European roads are dotted with public fountains. There is at least one in nearly every town (though they do take some training to spot, if you are not used to looking for them), so you can usually go for rides without having to load up with a huge amount of water.

To a Californian, it seems incredibly wasteful (indeed, downright extravagant) to have these fountains with water running all the time. Then you realize that in you are in Switzerland, which has enough rain that not offering these fountains would be a waste of water.

As we left the densely populated part of Meiringen, the road turned into a steep one-lane road through the woods. Perhaps three-fourths of the way up on the ride to Zwirgi, the trees cleared, and what do we see but a huge plume of smoke rising over Meiringen!

As far as we could tell, the building that was burning down was quite close to one of the hotels we had stopped at!

We arrived at Hotel Zwirgi mid-afternoon. We decided to hike down to Reichenbach Falls, which is just a short walk down from the hotel:

Hotel Zwirgi and Reichenbach Falls

The view of Meiringen valley from up there is just stunning.

Meiringen valley from Reichenbach Falls

We ate dinner at Zwirgi (pork chops, and ice cream!), and then retired to our room, which was the "family suite" at Zwirgi— a suite with two two-bed rooms, with a fifth bed they had brought in for us.

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