Switzerland: Motorcycle adventure tale of a couple
My first ever international motorcycle ride and it could not be better because it was with my better half. It was quite tough because both hardly had proper riding gear and my wife was more interested in Switzerland and pictures with numerous dresses and I was more on riding across the country but then we found a middle ground as couples always do :)
We traveled with 2 big 20 kgs check-in bags where ¾ were my wife's dresses since we were traveling heavy there was no way we could move from one place to another, therefore we decided to make Interlaken as a base and hired a serviced studio for 10 days. Once we landed in Zurich my Rekha took the train to Interlaken with all the luggage (which was quite challenging) and went straight to Hotel Baren Habkern village in Interlaken. Our motorcycle was booked in Zurich city so after landing I went to get the motorcycle.
Fixed GPS on the bike
Hired a BMW F650 which is a proper adventure tourer comfortable for long rides. I had also bought a motorcycle navigation system that I had to put on the bike which meant I had to wire for power supply from Battery to Handlebar.
Started my journey from Zurich to Interlaken after around 20+ km suddenly motorcycles digital dashboard went blank and I could not see the speed at which I am traveling, km nothing at all. I had read on the internet about huge fines for overspeeding which made it worse at that point.
Luckily my GPS was showing the speed at which I was traveling so I relied on that and reached Interlaken by noon. I called the company from whom I hired & explained what happened. They were honest and acknowledged this issue was there but it was resolved before giving it to me and apologized and offered to replace it with another bike.
After the rider from Zurich to Interlaken, I was quite a confident riding without a dashboard ;) so we continued as per our itinerary and decided to change when we visited Zurich as part of our plan.
Once we settled down at the apartment we still had a half-day left so we did a short trip to Thun city and saw a couple of beautiful places on the way St Beatus cave and Oberhofer castle.
St. Beatus cave
Day 2 : Jungfrau and Aare Gorge
We got up early around 6 AM since we were visiting 2 amazing places Jungfrau and Aare Gorge. Jungfrau is called Top of Europe because it is the tallest point in Europe at 4,158 meters (13,642 ft) and for the first time in my life I was going to walk on snow. We came out and saw it was drizzling which was a bit of a disappointment but that didn't stop us and we had come prepared to tackle mother nature.
We reached Kleine Scheidegg, Lauterbrunnen beyond which there is no road to reach Jungfrau. As soon as we reached we were greeted with this beautiful waterfall
We took the train to Jungfrau, You need to take 2 trains to reach Top of Europe. First train takes you halfway which is a very scenic place called Kleine Schidegg - below picture
The second train is a boring one because it travels in the tunnel and uphill almost an hour's journey so basically you get to see anything during this train journey.
We reached Top of Europe and enjoyed it for a while built snowman and played in the snow for a while, we visited the Lindt chocolate museum Later I got hit by AMS (Acute mountain sickness) due to altitude I guess and had a headache then took another train and returned back.
We started our journey to Aare Gorge which is basically a walk in the canyon but the view is stunning.
What we didn't realize was the park was closing and the walk was for an hour one way we happily walked all the way to the end and realized it was already getting dark made it back in 30 mins only to realize we were locked in the park :) So what we did was we found a spot on the fence and jumped over it :)) and rode back to apartment
Day 3 : Lungern, Lucerne & Zurich
Today we were heading to Zurich. On the way, we went through Lungern this place was like a piece of heaven fallen on earth. The view so amazing green mountains, turquoise lake and a church on the hill felt so tranquil we just sat there for a long time just staring at the beautiful view.
We just didn't want to leave but then the curiosity of what lies ahead kept us going and we reached Lucern city where you can find the famous Chapel bridge.
After roaming around the city and chapel bridge we headed towards Zurich and visited Fraumunster and Grossmunster iconic places in Zurich. Nothing much to see in Zurich since its more of a concrete jungle which we are not interested at all so we quickly rode back to Interlaken. What we did for the whole trip was we choose an option on our GPS navigation to avoid Highways and Toll roads so that we could enjoy the long country route rather than boring fast expressways. We passed through many stunning villages.
Day 4 : Bern, Gruyere and Chillon
We were on a long route today since Chillon is down south near lake Geneva. We passed through Bern and one interesting thing you notice about Bern is river and beautiful bridge which connects the city
Reached Gruyere this is the place where the famous Gruyere cheese is produced and supplied across the world. Visited the beautiful Gruyere castle
Soon headed towards Chillon castle where we spent a lot of time going around the castle which is along the side of Lake Geneva and headed back to our hotel in Interlaken.
Day 5 : Gelmerbahn and Thrift bridge
Gelmerbahn is one interesting place that I rate as No.1 among all the places I had been in Swizz. To begin with, you need to take the steepest funicular train to reach the top of the mountain where you witness a beautiful Gelmersee lake which is tranquil color and reflections of mountains all put together its breathtaking.
And yet this is one of the least visited places only because it does not have rail connectivity. Most of the travelers who travel to Europe always talk about traveling on the Euro rail but there are so many places where the Euro rail or public transport does not reach so I strongly suggest hire your own vehicle and go around you will lot more and make long-lasting memories.
We spent a lot of time here and by the time we reached Thrift bridge, it was 3 pm. Thrift bridge is a long trek that takes 4+ hrs there we did a short trek and rode back to Interlaken.
Day 6 : Zarmat and Grimsel pass
By now I was comfortable riding across the swizz roads, knew the rules, getting more confident on the bike which summed up to fun-filled rides without worries :) We were heading to Zermatt which is zero carbon village situated at the border of Switzerland and Italy.
We started our ride early morning, as usual, using the GPS navigator after riding for an hour we reached a place called Kandersteg only to find it was a dead-end road. Since this was a remote place hardly people spoke English and didn't know what to do next exactly when another rider on Harley passed us and I quickly approached him and he said he is heading towards the same direction so we followed him. He went to a place and bought a ticket we thought its toll fee and we too bought one within few minutes he started moving and rode his bike on a train :)) we were totally surprised and amused to ride a motorcycle on a train. Rode to the first compartment and parked our bikes. Then we got to know that for about 100 km there is no road so you take your vehicle on the train ferry.
We rode till a place called Tasch, you cannot take any smoke emitting vehicles from this point into Zermatt. Zermatt is a combustion-engine free zone this is imposed to avoid air pollution and therefore get a good view of the great Matterhorn mountain. The town was amazing to walk around and we ended at a place where we could get a good view of Matterhorn and noticed small bit of clouds at the tip of the mountain so we thought it should glide away in some and waited for an hour and noticed cloud moving but it felt like someone was pumping clouds from the tip of the mountain. The clouds never cleared nevertheless we got a very good view of the mountain.
While riding across we passed through Grimsel pass from where you can see the curvy roads we rode which looks stunning along with the landscape. Took some pictures and rode to the hotel with amazing memories to cherish rest of our life.
Day 7 : Le Soliet
This is hardly visited by tourists and locals as well but still has a very good view of mountain and landscape. We need to take a detour into the countryside and trek for about 30 minutes to reach this place. walked around and some amazing pictures and trekked back. We came across a restaurant at the place where we parked our bike and we were hungry so we decided to have something authentic Swizz food and the waitress told "Cheese fondue" was authentic Swizz in mid-afternoon. It was boiling cheese on a stove and lot of different bread pieces which we need to dip in cheese and eat which tasted heavenly
After having the amazing heavy cheese fondue we started out ride back to Interlaken through the narrow village roads which steep downhill descent and all of a sudden rear brakes faded away and I am unable to stop the bike I was taken by surprise and luckily front brake saved us. We just sat there for 30 mins wondering what to do and then decided we will ride only with front brake once we got back on the motorcycle I found the rear brakes were working again. Then I understood the brake drums were overheated due to constant braking while we were riding downhill.
Day 8 : Furka pass, Tremole and Devils bridge
We were excited about today since we were going some of the most beautiful roads and passes in Switzerland. We started earlier than usual since we had to cover more km before the sun went down. We started from our hotel in Habkern and reached Interlaken just around 5 km and suddenly clutch cable broke and I was unable to change gears motorcycle stopped it was around 6 AM and all the shops around was closed. At first, we were heartbroken but then adventure is always full of surprises some very good and some very bad. We saw bicycle shop and waited for it to open and asked their help to find a garage where we can get the motorcycle fixed he was kind enough to call all the garage in Interlaken but unfortunately, none of them had clutch cable for my motorcycle. We came out and sat on the street not knowing what to do next.
A rider in Harley Davidson came to us after he saw us sitting on the side of the road with a broken motorcycle since our luggage was down and jacket hanging from the handlebar he felt something wrong. Again the same story he didn't know English and we don't know German, French or Italian so sign language took over by then the cycle shop owner came and explained our situation and now something unbelievable happened - The Harley rider told he will travel to a shop which is 100 km away for us to get the cable I was surprised that a stranger could go so far to help. That's rider brotherhood we always help each other no matter what.
We waited for his return and after an hour got a call, unfortunately, they didn't have the clutch wire for my model. He said he will try at another place so we were waiting for his call. While waiting my wife went to nearby roundabout looking for help and stopped a rider riding an off-road motorcycle and thankfully willing to help we explained the whole story his first reaction "Ahhh easy don't worry" and the guy asked the cycle shop owner to give him a cycle brake wire, using that he fixed out motorcycle clutch wire. We were overwhelmed with joy and couldn't thank him enough for his help.
Golden hair guy is the one who fixed our bike
We waited till the Harley guy to returned and we thanked him and started to our first destination "Furka pass"
There is an old road called Val Tremola / Gotthard Pass which was built in ancient days for transportation using only pebbles, this road is not in use anymore since a highway was constructed but it is fascinating to ride on this road and feels nostalgia. We totally enjoyed riding through this road :)
we reached a place called Airola after the Tremola pass which has a beautiful lake where we spent some time with a hot cup of coffee and left to our last of the day the Devil's bridge. The story says in the 1500s the king requested the devil to build the bridge which was a very difficult task at that point and the devil agreed with a term that it would take the soul of the first who would cross the bridge for which king agreed. Later once it was completed they tricked the devil by throwing a piece of bread and letting dog cross the bridge.
Day 9 : Last day of our trip Thun and Brienz
Today was the last day of our trip we went around the beautiful town of Interlaken, spent time at the lake of Thun which was such an amazing treat to end our trip and took a lot of pictures.
To sum up, it was an amazing fun-filled memorable trip, Switzerland is heaven on earth one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life. I have spent many days to write this blog so that it would be helpful for others out there who are looking to travel across Switzerland. If you feel it was useful please do share this with your friends and family also don't forget to connect on Social media for more adventure stories.