1 July 2010
Göschenen was, mercifully, above Wassen, where the route up to Susten started, so we started the day with a fun and fast descent. The road had gentle turns and passed under a few bridges. I hit somewhere around 40 or 45 miles per hour.
At Wassen we started up the hill to Susten. The first part of the climb has a few switchbacks, galleries, and tunnels.
But after that, the road levels out and you get a clear view all the way up the valley. The grade on this road is very consistent for the entire length of the ascent, which was nice because it helped me to pace myself.
After another apparently interminable climb, I reached the pass and relaxed on the restaurant's patio until I heard the unmistakable sound of the tandem's bicycle bell as Piaw and Lisa rolled through the tunnel.
Piaw wanted to make it to Lammi for lunch, so we didn't dawdle. The descent from Susten is spectacular and long. The road had gentle turns in most places and a smattering of tunnels and waterfalls, too. At the speeds we were going I felt like I was playing a video game. I had to follow a "slow-moving" car (35mph) for a few kilometers until I was able to pass it at a turnout.
We coasted about 30 km in 45 minutes, down to Innertkirchen. Just past Innertkirchen I climbed the four hairpins (about 100m of climb) that immediately precede Lammi. I sat down at a table, and when Piaw and Lisa arrived we ordered bratwurst and noodles. Kekoa and Cynthia also found themselves at Lammi a couple of days later, and together we reached the consensus that the bratwurst at the Lammi is pretty much the platonic ideal of sausage.
After lunch we made the short descent down to Meiringen. We were at Meiringen three days ahead of when we had reservations at Rosenlaui, so we decided we could stay in Grindelwald for a few days and do some hiking there. We took the train to Grindelwald.
We headed for the tourist information center in Grindelwald, which is unusually large and on-top-of-things because Grindelwald is a major tourist destination. As we were trying to obtain hotel reservations, it started to rain. We got a reservation at Hotel Alpenblick (at a good rate, under the condition that we stay the third night in hostel-style accomodations). I rode up the hill to secure the reservation, and Piaw and Lisa followed when the rain lightened up a bit.
By dinnertime the rain had cleared out, so we went back down to downtown to eat dinner.
After dinner I stopped at the Mont Bell store to look for hiking shoes, since I was not particularly relishing the thought of hiking in either my biking shoes (i.e. with cleats) or in flip-flops. Mont Bell had some shoes for 120CHF, which seemed like a good deal if I could get four days of hiking out of them and have a light pair of shoes to take home. When I was trying the shoes on, I asked the salesperson for a larger size. Not only did she bring some out, but while I was trying the larger shoes on, she relaced the smaller shoes so they had a bit more room. That was actually just what I needed. In the US, a shoe salesperson who showed this level of attention would be considered shockingly helpful, but I guess at a Japanese store this is par for the course.
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