Liechtenstein wasn’t exactly over exciting. No parties in the streets, nothing spectacular but pleasant enough, and all fine by me. Now it was back into Switzerland again.
Switzerland again, wiedersehen Liechenstein
Morning came, heavy rain clouds were hanging over the hills and mountains. It had rained during the night, and prospects for the day weren’t too good. Going northwest seemed to yield a slim chance to stay out of the worst rain. Or so I thought.
Hotel Landhaus am Giessen was nice, clean, modern and affordable. But if you’re the sort who likes English breakfast, or bacon, eggs and sausages, this ain’t the place for you. Bread & coffee was good though! 🙂
Heading out of Vaduz northwards it literally takes only minutes before you’re back in Switzerland. Not that you’ll notice much difference. Around half an hour later passing Wildhaus it looked like the weather was clearing up. Yeah right…
Torrential rain in Zurich
Another 30 minutes later I made an error, big time. Again, the GPS played some “tricks” on me, mainly because I forgot to take it out of curvy roads mode. A mode that doesn’t work at all, if you’re in the vicinity of a town.
Coming to a road split I intended to head south of Lake Zurich. Thus avoid the city entirely But the GPS steered me north. To crown my luck, as I entered the town, water decided to fall down, in mega-buckets.
There I was, forced to go right through the city, in the worst rain on this trip. Lots of road construction and detours made it worse. The streets turned to rivers. Cussing, snarling and swearing inside the helmet I finally managed to get through and out of Zurich.
I should have stopped to take some pics but, as you can understand, not exactly in the mood. Took a break past Zurich, along the freeway. Needed some coffee, a lunch and a chance to dry up a bit. After that I kept on for over an hour. Looked like I had manged to escape the rain that followed me, finally.
In direction of Bern
Don’t remember why really, maybe because I’d not been there for ages. Or maybe because of the weather. Was at this point navigating quite a bit while considering the weather. After the heavy rains encountered in Zurich felt like getting a break from it, for a while.
Zig-zag’ing along small roads I decided to drop by Bern and turned slightly southwest. Fortunately Bern is a relatively small town, not swamped with traffic. Getting in and out again didn’t take long. Since not much up for city life I made it a short series of stops.
Even rode into a part of the city where (I discovered later) there were restrictions. Was trying to revive some memories dating back to early Interrail period. Wasn’t much of a success but I got to see quite a bit of the town.
West and north , zig zag style
Done with Bern first headed west in direction of Neuchatel. Staying away from bigger roads, managed find lots of nice smaller roads. After a short while turned north and rode on the east side of Biel and the Bielersee (Lake Biel). Still in the Canton of Bern I only had vague memories of, landscape and cities flashing by through a train window.
Kept on for around an hour and a half to the not too interesting city of Oensingen, which sits close to the Thal natural park. Stopped for a coffee, charged my phone, studied the maps, looked at road options and decided well .. this could be something.
Indeed it was! Having ridden across some flatlands it was nice to ascend into an area with a very different type of landscape and geology. I can understand why they made parts of it a natural park. Kept on further north past mountains, rolling hills and farmlands. Excellent roads if you’re one for lots of twists and turns!
Across the natural park and hilly country down through some valleys I steered forth, partially north, partially west. Weather remained on the dry side, temp was pleasant. Near Büsserach there was lots of cliff like landscape and some old castles.
Slightly into France
Afternoon was rapidly progressing towards evening. From the looks of things, unless I wanted to go for a city, there weren’t too many hotel options around. Found one hotel just across the border into France that, based on reviews, looked promising.
To get there I had to take a shortcut through some farmlands and across the border. Pretty much, from the looks of it, in the middle of nowhere. Which also happened to be where the hotel was. Will admit I had my doubts regarding the project but well, this was adventurous free riding!
I crossed the border into France and Alsace, rode across some more farmlands in direction of the hotel that got such good reviews. The website looked nice, and not like something out of business. Le Petit Kohlberg was indeed really off any main road.
A hotel with no one home
As I approached did reflect on very few cars on the parking lot, in front of the hotel complex. But that’s something one might experience when out in the countryside, almost anywhere. If nothing else thought getting a room wouldn’t be much of a problem.
The hotel consisted of several buildings, one that surely looked like the hotel itself. I parked just in front of what seemed to be one part of the hotel. No one showed up. The BMW R1200GS Adventure isn’t a very noisy bike but it does make a rumbling sound. Apparently that wasn’t enough to get anyone’s attention.
I stepped off the bike and walked up to the main hotel building. Doors were open, so went into the lobby and tried to get the attention of someone. Tried a few Hello’s but there was no reply, absolutely no one home! Roamed about for a bit then, retreated to the bike.
There was no info on their website indicating it was closed for business. No note on any doors suggesting they’d closed for vacation or something. In fact, everything looked mint, well kept and not at all deserted. Ghostly.
This is what might happen if you’re traveling adventure style and don’t book in advance. It’s also a reminder that even if you find something with promise, and good reviews, there’s absolutely no guarantee the place either exists, or is open for business as you arrive.
Next time while out in the countryside I’ll make sure that the choice of accommodation actually is in business.
Switzerland again – without knowing
By now it was around 6:45PM, the hotel was sort of in the middle of Alsace nowhere. The GPS suggested some alternatives, that quickest would be reached if I stayed on small roads. That I surely did, found a gravel road through some dense old forest and rode on for about half an hour.
It was getting dark and I keen on finding a place, check in for the day and get some food and drink.
Coming through the woods I found Hotel de la Gare, open and in business. Got a decent size room with squeeky floor but clean and alright. Good food and local beer awaited me downstairs. Not exactly The Ritz but sufficient for my modest needs.
Actually thought I was still in France, but as i turned out, crossing the old forest road I’d managed to get back into Switzerland.
Another 11 hours worth of adventurous day came to an end. It was time to crash, next day I’d be heading out of Switzerland and back into France again. Perhaps not quite as wiggly off course as during this day!