Tues 9th July.
More lakes and pass.
I packed and left my spot. I noticed the field behind the lodge was full of cows, eating and making a lot of noise from the bells around their necks. The windows on the lodge were open and although I couldn’t see anyone, it was obvious that someone had been there and not bothered me.
Spooked by the thought of someone being in there all night, I didn’t give it much thought and got back up the hill.
The hill picked up where it left off at difficult angle. I knew I was close to the pass, but given that my map was for the whole of Switzerland, I had no idea how close.
Just as I was beginning to prepare myself mentally for a morning of uphill cycling, I reached the top about forty minutes after setting off. I was relived. The sun was bright and I was happy.
The ‘Col du Pillon’ was 1546m high, meaning that it fitted in with the average height of those in the Pyrenees.
I stopped at a small lodge serving food and drink and fearing for the cost of Swiss living, I treated myself after having done a tough set of hills. A difficult start to life on the road again. The rest and coffee were well received and it was a nice shack, matching the stereotype ‘Swiss lodge’ you would recognise from postcards.
The descent was a real treat. The road was engulfed by tall green trees and poking out the top were tips of mountains making themselves known, the Gods of the land. The sky was crystal clear blue, probably due to the Swiss atmosphere which seems to be perfect for cultivating fine weather and an alpine breeze.
I dropped my camera on the way down and pulled in as quickly as I could to recover it. I’d formed the habit of sticking it under the mesh in the luggage on the back rack, as I used it regularly and didn’t have any pockets. Otherwise it would live in the panniers, which required me to stop every-time I decided to take a photo. It wasn’t the best method, but in the make-do land of being on the road, it worked most of the time.
I had a flat ride to the next lake, where Thun is situated. The lake is referred to by the map as ‘Thunsee’ translating as ‘Thun sea’.
On the way to the lake, I noticed the signage had changed over to German, without any mention, nothing to declare the change local language. I was now in the Swiss-German part of Switzerland. 83 days into the trip and this was the third language. I was glad to have it and looking forward to being immersed in a different tongue.
I got to the town in good time. I checked emails and organised to stay with someone in Zürich and with a friend nearby afterwards.
I looked around Thun, developing a feel for Swiss cities, through architecture and history. I came across a military parade of young men in uniforms getting ready. Being in the army is compulsory in Switzerland as part of their national service. Everyone seemed happy and I didn’t hang around.
Interlaken was the next destination, before Lucerne, then Zürich. I had to find a place to camp as it was getting late and I knew options would be slim here. Again this proved to be exceedingly difficult, given that there is no free land for camping, everything is occupied and organised here, owned by farmers or privately owned, so finding a spot was always difficult.
I broke off from the road and luckily found a patch of woods between the lake and the road. I lay low and before long, I knew I’d be safe here.