Our first real day of cycling!
We awoke without an alarm and had no real plan about how to proceed or how to divide the chores which need to be completed to pack and get onto the road. As a consequence, and with some mutual angst and frustration along the way, we left the campsite at about 11:30 AM. Clearly we would need to streamline and coordinate our making and breaking of camp.
Once we finally did leave the campsite, we had a beautiful clear day with a high of 25 deg. Perfect weather for cycling. Since our campsite had been right on the river, we were on the Eurovelo15 within minutes and enjoying the perfectly paved and signed Swiss portions of the trail.
Before departing we had purchased a copy of Cicerone’s “The Rhine Cycle Route” and downloaded the GPX files which follow the described route. We had also purchased a subscription to Ride with GPS and created routes for each day using the files. This had several advantages: firstly, we did not need to carry physical maps or interpret them; at the end of the day when we needed to head off route to a campsite we could still follow the maps on the app; we could anticipate large ascents; we knew straight away if we had headed off course by an alert; and we could keep an accurate log of our rides for the trip. The $10 USD per month expense paid for itself many times over. I will write a post with an evaluation of all our various purchases and can perhaps describe some of the small issues we had using this approach in that at a later date.
Following our map on my phone (mounted on my crossbar) we headed north through the Alpine Rhine valley. As we headed into the valley we were stunned by how beautiful this area is. We (particularly Mark) couldn’t stop saying to each other how amazing the views were and how if the rest of the trip is anything like this, that we would be in for an incredible trip. We passed though corn field after corn field in the valley and then headed up the eastern side of the valley, through Malans and Jemins, where the stereotypical sight and sound of cows and cow bells were everywhere.
In the sun the girls were hot. We had experienced this in the south of France also and had bought a car sun visor and strapped it to the top of the Croozer trailer. This worked well at keeping the girls cooler but obviously obstructed their views, perfect for inducing long naps but taking away some of the experience from them. In Malans, at our highest elevation for the day, we stopped for lunch at a great playground and dried our tent and ground sheet. As we became more experienced we less and less dried our tent during the day. We found that it was far more economical, time wise, to pack it (wet or not) in the morning and then at the destination trust that it would dry quickly.
After riding up through the villages we descended back into the valley and crossed to the Western side of the Rhine in Switzerland then after 6-7 km we crossed back over to the Liechtenstein side of the river, continuing North. The scenery remained stunning but our eldest child (4 yrs old) began to whine constantly, actually the whining escalated into that irrational uncontrollable fit of tantrum that all parents dread. She, it seems, hates Liechtenstein and all it represents. No amount of logic, cajoling, threats, begging or pretending to ignore her improved the situation. This continued for the entire time that we were in Liechtenstein following the river and the “storm” finally broke as we crossed back into Switzerland and the city of Buchs, our destination. Frustrated as we were, we also wondered if this semi-out-of -character outburst might portend a most difficult trip. It is quite a lot to ask children to stay seated and buckled into a trailer for hours on end. Sure they may sleep an hour or so but they like to play and move, stunning scenery is wasted to some degree on them.
We missed the turn but finally ended up at Camping Werdenberg. A nice enough campground, but one that has a little bit of an odd feel about it. We encountered this from time to time throughout our trip. Many people are obviously living in the campground over the entire summer in their over-sized trailers with large flatscreen TVs, fully set tables (table cloth, flowers, etc.) and pot plants under their awnings. As they emerge in their dressing gowns to use the facilities, you feel that you have simply set your tent up on a stranger’s back lawn.
To see the route, elevation profile, etc., click the link to Ride with GPS below (it should be able to be embedded but WordPress does not allow this).