More photos at the end of the post and on Instagram.
Our sons build up more perseverance with each passing year, but there are still things we cannot do with them. Therefore, during the summer vacation this year which the children spent with their grandparents, my wife and I were eager to experience something new, but never could we imagine what was about to come; an adventure which we will remember for the rest of our lives and which made us feel very Swiss and sporty at the same time plus, on top of that, taught us a lot about Switzerland's history.
"Let us make a bicycle tour around Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee in German) over the weekend”, Anna Adevi – one of my best Swedish friends here - said as soon as she heard that our children had left for Sweden. My wife and I, who had never cycled such a long distance, at first thought that it sounded totally crazy, but after having read up a bit, we realized this was exactly the challenge we needed and that Anna and her boyfriend would be perfect travel companions. The decision was made so in the following few days we had to find time for quite intense bicycle maintenance and investments in ridiculously expensive (but cool!) biker shorts and side bags.
Our Bicycle Route: Lucerne - Küssnacht - Weggis - Brunnen - Flüelen - Rütli - Beckenried - Lucerne
To Lucerne (not surprisingly the biggest city around Lake Lucerne) we went by train and were reminded that you had better arrive early – and, even better, in advance know where in the train the bicycle carriage is located - in order to secure yourself a seat. The weather was the best imaginable: this summer was unusually hot and humid in Switzerland, but we managed to pick the only weekend in July when it was at least slightly cloudy.
From Lucerne we had been recommended to begin our tour heading towards Küssnacht am Rigi and there are many good reasons for that. Firstly, you take on the initial tedious ascent towards Meggen when you are at your fittest. Secondly - and more importantly – when travelling on the road Axenstrasse between Brunnen and Flüelen in this direction, you can take refuge on the pavement when the traffic feels too intense. Finally, during the last part, you have a pleasant descent from Emmetten down to Beckenried and then flat lands through Stans, Stansstad and Hergiswil until you are back at your starting point. However, whichever direction you take, the routes are clearly marked and with few exceptions they go on well-maintained bicycle roads.
Highlights: Countless Stunning Alp Views – Plus Stretching and Waltz Dancing
A tour around Lake Lucerne offers countless beautiful views of Alps meeting the water. Personally, I especially remember the rolling agrarian landscape around Küssnacht as well as the view of Brunnen and Flüelen from the top of Seelisberg. If we move over to experiences unique to our trip, I want to mention a short waltz to live music on a pier in Weggis and an extensive stretching session in a park in Brunnen, with the Swiss Air Force flying in formation over us.
Rütli Meadow and the Pace of the Oath that Created Switzerland
A big surprise during this bicycle tour was a visit to Rütli meadow, next to the Place of the Oath (Schwurplats) where the cantons Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden (today: Obwalden and Nidwalden respectively) are said to, in 1291, have entered into the covenant, which became the basis for modern-day Switzerland. However, the price for arriving here was a good one hour walk up to the top of Seelisberg; not particularly fun when you push a bicycle full of luggage!
Taking the Boat from Flüelen
It should be emphasized that you cannot yet complete a full tour around on Lake Lucerne by bicycle, due to a few kilometres where the mountains steep directly into the water. Extremely experienced athletes can, of course, get from Flüelen to Seelisberg as long as they are willing to repeatedly carry the bicycle on winding paths. Less daring tourists had better take the boat to Treib and from there the cog train up to the peak. By doing so, you will still enjoy the magnificent view from there, including the meadow Rütli (albeit only from above).
Among Swedes Who Like Facebook
This weekend, exceptionally, I cannot claim having dedicated much time to language learning, in a group where everyone spoke Swedish. Or what is it we speak? According to external observers, when Anna Adevi and I meet each other we have a tendency to turn up her dialect from Scania and mine from Halmstad to a maximum. At a restaurant, a Swiss man at a neighbouring table actually asked us to confirm that we spoke Danish, since he “was absolutely sure that it was not Swedish." Now, whatever language we might speak an added value with Anna is that she is one of the few friends I have of my age who like social media - read Facebook - even more I. Thanks to this our trip was well documented in the form of fun photos.
To sum up, our positive learning point from this weekend is that neither my wife nor I have a problem to complete 100 kilometres on a bicycle. But next time I might bring kneepads, just in case... ;)
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Accommodation and Restaurants
In Flüelen we spent the night at the hotel Tourist. It certainly has not been renovated for many years, but has a correct price-quality ratio, offers a truly good breakfast and its owners were helpful with cycling tips. Our dinner in the same town we ate at Cantina Apertura, a slightly odd, but nice restaurant down by the lake.
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