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one day trip, part 1 – exploring beautiful switzerland

i’m very happy to live in switzerland…and humbled by the beauty of this country. that said, as a foreigner, i might be more susceptible to switzerland’s culture and beauty than most locals.

whilst risking to repeat myself – if you’ve not yet been to switzerland… you absolutely have to make plans to visit!

jc and myself haven’t been travelling too much together lately. a few weeks ago, jc headed off to northern germany with TW231 for a 3-4 week trip crossing bavaria, the czech republic and former eastern germany on his own. he went alone, since i’m currently less mobile than usual. (see my last entry for details why this is the case)

we’ve been planning a 8-day trip to northern italy this year (see upcoming activities… anyone interested to come with us? > let us know!)

i felt that after repairing tw560’s seats it would be in order to test their roadworthiness.

i got some ideas to explore a very nice region in switzerland after participating in a beta-test of louis palmer’s electric bus tour based out of lucerne. (bonus points for finding me and my daughter in the pictures!)

this is the setting for our one-day trip to the entlebuch region of switzerland plus crossing 3 passes before heading back home.

below is our usual google maps-based route which jc and i worked on before leaving:


View 1-Day Swiss Alps Trip in a larger map

note: this travellog has many pictures! 🙂

this is where this blog entry starts: a foggy sunday morning in lower switzerland:

our standard fare during the last few weeks... fog!

our standard fare during the last few weeks… fog!

since our tour takes us up to 650m altitude very quickly, we are rewarded with a first beautiful view and – most importantly – an idea that the 8°C we started out with, might be short-lived today. *yay*!

we finally leave the fog behind us - it promises to be a very, very nice day!

we finally leave the fog behind us – it promises to be a very, very nice day!

this is part of why i love switzerland – you can escape the fog! this first photo was taken just 15 mins from where i live.

our first stop after leaving the fog - ahh: the sun we've been missing all these last weeks!!

our first stop after leaving the fog – ahh: the sun we’ve been missing all these last weeks!!

with the sun, temperatures are markedly higher. this is why we decide to take off the roof early.

TW560 finally back to summer mode

TW560 finally back to summer mode

2014’s summer has been a very damp one – in fact, the wettest since records began. this is why we’re desperate to get some sun into TW560!

JC enjoying the ride

JC enjoying the ride

following our route, we cross from one canton to the next. the alps beckon in the distance. visibility is stunning – we have at least 100kms of clear view!

we slowly make our way towards the alps

we slowly make our way towards the alps

mountain ranges coming into view

mountain ranges coming into view

above the fog

above the fog

we are climbing up hills and descending towards lakes, the further the day progresses, less fog we encounter.

the views are getting better by the minute

the views are getting better by the minute

lake hallwil

lake hallwil

after entering the canton of lucerne, TW560’s batteries are in need of a recharge. i’ve chosen a bakery/restaurant as our recharging point, since the place was in LEMNET, and advertised a tri-phase quick-charging plug. (which was inactive, but due to TW560’s tri-(single-)phase charging ability, we still were charging at 33.5A from 3 different plugs! i just LOVE TW560’s flexible charging options!)

TW560 parked at the charging station

TW560 parked at the charging station

the quirky owner, didi, welcomed us personally and made sure everything is in order. before we entered the restaurant/bakery, he told us that he actually had tried to get permission to build a small hydro-electric power-plant for the small river just behind his place, but had been denied by swiss authorities and sincerely apologized that the electricity we were using for our charge was not 100% co2/atomic power-free.

we told him that with our eco-electricity pre-paid sticker, all our electricity used for charging was 100% co2-free anyway… didi nodded approvingly and invited us to come inside.

this place is as typical as a rural swiss restaurant can get: locals having their (alcoholic) sunday-morning “apèro”, yodeling music from the stereo … and in our case a hastily set-up TV to follow the zurich marathon.

joining the locals, supporting everyone!

joining the locals, supporting everyone!

we join the locals inside (more of them were outside enjoying the sun) and start chatting with them about the TWIKE, whilst the marathon is on its way.

entrance to a very quirky but friendly place

entrance to a very quirky but friendly place

didi's place :)

didi’s place 🙂

after just 55 minutes, TW560’s battery is full and is ready to take us towards new adventures!

from didi’s place to where we will be eating lunch, we will be climbing 1600m and descending about 400m. in a few kms we will be entering a unesco world heritage site: the entlebuch region.

entering an unesco world heritage site: Entlebuch biosphere

entering a unesco world heritage site: Entlebuch biosphere

entlebuch has recently launched a very interesting viral marketing campaign where the region claims that due to the fact that the environment is protected not only for the next 50, 5000 but also for the next 500,000 years, it would make sense to attract tourists from further away… aliens are also welcome.

check out their ad, it’s really worth seeing!

after climbing towards the so-called rennger-höchi, we descend again towards a major road taking hundreds of bikers and sports cars to the glaubenberg panorama road.

the decent showed us how beautiful the valley and surrounding mountains are!

we, fortunately, have to contend with the traffic for just about 8 km, before the traffic calms down again and another 10 km before we finally leave the official road and start our single-lane climb to silwängi alp.

on our way up to alp silwängi

on our way up to alp silwängi

the last few metres of road before one reaches the silwängi hut

the last few metres of road before one reaches the silwängi hut

Silwängi Alp welcomes you!

Silwängi Alp welcomes you!

i called mrs. schnider beforehand to make sure she knew we were coming. this is a place no-one just stumbles upon: it’s really, really out of anyones way.

given the beautiful weather, this place is as typical as an alp can get. cowbells ringing, simple, but honest hospitality and food.

siwängi alp is slightly at the left of the centre in the image below:

our hut is in the middle, viewed from within the karst

our hut is in the middle, viewed from within the karst

check out following video to get an idea of what i’m talking about re. cow-bells and stunning views:

a still from the video shows you the view from silwängi alp:

schönisei valley with brienzer rothorn in the background

schönisei valley with brienzer rothorn in the background

(one of switzerland’s oldest caves is just a few metres nearby. nothing touristy, though. you have to announce your arrival and the only lighting is your own LNG-lamp… worth the adventure!)

another interesting fact is that this hut until a few years ago served as a retreat for the members of the swiss federal council when they needed to reach delicate decisions. (swiss direct democracy and the special setup of the council means that a central part of any political agenda is compromise! …and what better place to do so than alp silwängi?)

all this fresh air and travel makes us hungry. as i mentioned before, i called beforehand to check what mrs. schnider had on offer at lunchtime. her answer was simple and tasty: Älpler maggrone

yum. you can’t go wrong with this kind of food!

Dining with a view!

Dining with a view!

JC and myself ready to tuck in

JC and myself ready to tuck in

Älpler Maggronen - you cannot come to Switzerland without trying this dish!

Älpler Maggronen – you cannot come to Switzerland without trying this dish!

Apple purée: essential ingredient!

Apple purée: essential ingredient!

JC relaxing with a stunning view

JC relaxing with a stunning view

before leaving, we have a good look around and want to give you an idea what we were seeing… small and wide pano:

pano silwängi small

pano silwängi small

alp silwängi large pano

alp silwängi large pano

after staying about an hour, TW560’s batteries are nearly full. this is more than enough, since we still have about 800m of decent before us which will full charge the battery by recuperation.

on our way back down we encounter a very swiss situation involving cows.

swiss cows react completely different to indian cows

after mastering the cow challenge, we’ve only got some kms downhill on our gravel track to reach the valley…

about 5 kms of gravel track

about 5 kms of gravel track

TW560 slowly making its way back down to the schönisei valley

TW560 slowly making its way back down to the schönisei valley

having arrived at the valley with the batteries at 414V and at 100%, we’re ready to head back up to 1611m altitude and the alpine part of our trip: we’re going to cross 3 passes within 128kms (6000+ metres altitude difference) on one charge

read about the second part of our trip.