Travel Through Switzerland on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Switzerland on a Harley (24/4/98 - 1/5/98)
Distance 1187 km (97624 km to 98811 km)

This is part of the third section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from  Germany
 

24/4/98 A great border crossing, all the facilities you need including an ATM (Bankomat) much better than currency exchange and cheaper. Switzerland does have the annoying charge to use their motorways, $US 30.00 valid for 12 months or one day, if that is all you want to spend in the country, and motorcycles are the same price as motorcars. Staying overnight at Interlaken, a small town at the base of the Swiss Alps, set as a back drop and surrounded by two glacier fed lakes, magnificent in the spring warmth and filtered sunshine. Back to riding in 20 degrees, my favourite temperature, unhindered by heavy gear and not uncomfortably hot.

25/4/98 some mornings getting out of bed is the hardest thing you do all day but with the cloudless sky and warm weather its easy. A ride up into the mountains to Grindelwald and a walk to the blue ice of the glacial face, Storm over Lake Geneva along the river and moraine, before heading across to the other valley where cable cars take people to the ski fields, or if more adventurous you can bungy jump 180 meters out of the cable car. Jungfrau, Europe's highest mountain at about 4100 meters can be reached by cable car for just $US 100 each, but having ridden to 4700 meters in Pakistan over the Karakoram highway, we thought it way out of our budget and left it to the Japanese and wealthy tourists. We spent the evening listening to swiss music in a small bar over a beer while our washing churned away in the laundromat down the road.

26/4/98 Trudging through the snow in the Swiss Alps. We caught the train today up to 1600 meters where the snow is patchy on the ground and walked the track back down through timbered hills, grassy meadows, alpine flowers, and listened to avalanches in the distance as the spring snow melted. The air clear and fresh and the legs aching through lack of bush walking. We also used the internet free at the four star MetropoleThe Matterhorn on a clear day Hotel, who have provided a free computer for anyone to use, not only guests, in their reception area. The world would be heaven if more hotels had a similar service.

27/4/98 I rarely write about great accommodation, but Walter's in Interlaken is a must. Cheapest and best in Switzerland, but it is the breakfast: $US 5.00, yoghurt, three different types of bread rolls, boiled egg, three slices of dark bread, six slices of meat, six cups of coffee or tea or chocolate, two cheeses, jams, butter, orange juice, glass of milk: enough for breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack, recommended if you get to Interlaken. Also sometimes I think we are a bit slow in our old age but after a couple of hours on the Metropole Hotel free computer we worked an easy way to upload files to this web site using Netscape 4. So the updates next trip will be much quicker and will work better, that is if there is anyone out there reading this dribble.

28/4/98 I was surprised this morning to wake up and find that the Dunlops had sprouted webbed feet, well not really surprised as it was raining again. So sit in the room or ride in the 7 degrees rain. Not getting any smarter as we get older, we headed out towards Lake Geneva up over a mountain range where the rain turned to sleet and for a while snow. Four hours later we had covered only 200 km, but between showers the mountains with a dusting of snow on the pine trees and pastures briefly appeared through the rolling clouds, giving just a glimpse and leaving us wanting more.  The day slowly cleared and in the evening we had a picnic dinner lakeside in the sunshine watching thunderstorms roll down the mountains across the lake, thankfully away from us. We also managed to squeeze in the 8000 km oil change during the day after collecting oils and filter from the local dealer in Lausanne.

Ride on train through the Swiss Alps, the road was closed with snow29/4/98 On a morning you only dream about we traversed Lake Geneva passing the famous Chateau de Chillon on our way to Tasch in the Valais mountain region. After parking the motorcycle, a train took us to Zermatt, a car free mountain town famous for ski-ing and for us uninterrupted views of the Matterhorn, Europe's most famous peak. The day was still cloudless when we left two hours later and walked back down the trail to Tasch. The picturesque town of Zermatt with traditional Swiss chalets, timbered buildings, snowy peaks and timbered hills and wildlife (we spotted a couple of deer and a family of marmots playing on a grassy field below the trail) made for a perfect day, until we were informed that yesterday's bad weather had closed all three passes back to Interlaken where we had booked accommodation.  The only alternative was to train the motorcycle through the 20 km rail tunnel from Goppenstein and Kandersteg, which we did. The purpose built carriagesThree wheeler Morgan motorcars run a similar V twin to the H-D allow cars to drive onto the train and along 20 or so carriages to the front carriage. Motorcycles are housed in their own enclosed carriage where riders can move about during the journey. The train rockets through the 20 km tunnel to the other station in about 15 minutes where you ride off over the 20 odd open car carriages. The motorcycle's first train ride and quite an experience, down the mountain and back to our great accommodation in Interlaken.

30/4/98 Resting today in town and updating our web site at the free computer.

1/5/98 May Day, public holiday, good day to travel. Four countries, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, before stopping the night in Feldkirch, Austria. We travelled north to the Rhine Falls, the largest in Europe, where up to 1200 cubic metres per second of water drops the 23 metres. A popular meeting place for rallies, the Morgan 3 wheeler motor car club was there. These small cars made between 1934 and 1952 have an engine similar to a Harley, being a V twin and appear to be of the same capacity. The car probably not much bigger than a Harley with an extra wheel.
 
 

Move with us to  Liechtenstein or go to our next visit to Switzerland
 

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