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TDM2014: Day1 – to the end of switzerland

finally: we’re on our way! it’s been a long time we’ve already planned this trip and been talking about it.

after getting employed again, i felt it in order to resurrect the plan and during the few weeks before i start working to get TW560 the R&R it deserves 🙂

as usual, jc arrives at around 0620 and we load all our stuff into the TWIKE.

all our stuff - ready to go!

all our stuff – ready to go!

although everyone around me was convinced that our first driving day would be grey and rainy, i told everyone to shut up and believe in the sun. well…as we started out, it was dark and foggy – we shall see.

this being our 8th trip together, we’ve got into this strange little tradition, where we take a team picture just when we start our trip. this year is no different 🙂

here we go:

the usual team pic

the usual team pic

we follow our red line / blue line combination and are rewarded by very nice small roads and climbs which take us out of the fog after about 30 mins of driving.

just 30 mins away from home - above the fog

just 30 mins away from home – above the fog

higher and higher

higher and higher

wow, we're lucky - most of switzerland is below the fog!

wow, we’re lucky – most of switzerland is below the fog!

we stay above the fog and skirt from hilltop to hilltop – if you live in switzerland and want to see some really nice small villages and untouched rural places, follow our red line from canton zurich to canton st.gallen.


View to the sea, sea and back (TW560) TWIKE in a larger map

rural switzerland holds surprises such as unpaved roads marked as official roads… (i know of only two other roads like this)

even today in switzerland: official unpaved roads

even today in switzerland: official unpaved roads

finally, i got to prove all naysayers wrong… 🙂

finally, the sun

finally, the sun

we then charged in wattwil, with a first regarding additional charging point infrastructure: a defibrillator!

defibrillator included...

defibrillator included…

after just 15 mins recharge we head toward wildhaus. it’s been a while since my regular stays there.

anyway, seeing the churfirsten is always very nice and brings old memories.

good old churfirsten - we're back!

good old churfirsten – we’re back!

the drive up to wildhaus gives us postcard-perfect vistas.

nearly at unterwasser

nearly at unterwasser

with just 400Wh left, we reach wildhaus (fun fact: wildhaus has switzerland’s highest postcode) and head down to grabs. with 850Wh left, we reach grabs and our first planned recharge for today. tri-phase power for us and about 65 mins of recharge.

charging at grabs

charging at grabs

we’re hungry and head to the next bakery to get some breakfast and coffee.

breakfast

breakfast

croissants, locally known as "gipfeli"

croissants, locally known as “gipfeli”

gipfeli aren’t as buttery as french croissants – they are crisp and make it as difficult as possible to be eaten without leaving many crumbs on your table/lap!

leaving liechtenstein, lower rhine valley

leaving liechtenstein, lower rhine valley

klosters

klosters

after the climb up to davos, there are no charging points in town and we don’t feel like driving another 10kms to a camping site somewhere outside davos. we therefore unceremoniously charge off a tri-phase plug in a parking garage without asking beforehand.

just a hour later, we’re ready to meet our first alpine challenge for today:

flüela pass

flüela pass

then, after reaching the engadin valley (a very nice place in its own right) we just keep going on and start climbing again, this time towards one of the largest national parks of switzerland and embedded within, the ofen pass.

ofen pass

ofen pass

not too much later, we are back to 2200+m and start entering the müstair biosphere.

driving through the müstair biosphere

driving through the müstair biosphere

we then roll for many, many kilometres downhill – perfect gradient.

action pic: as it looks like when driving TW560

action pic: as it looks like when driving TW560

arriving in sta. maria, we’re confronted with some minor traffic due to medieval village design being in contrast to current amounts of vehicles trying to cross.

not too wide & lots of traffic

not too wide & lots of traffic

we arrive at our hotel, plug in our TWIKE and check-in.

our place for the night

our place for the night

our place for the night

our place for the night

after being in the TWIKE all day long, we feel like exploring the village on foot.

let's get those legs some work after all that driving!

let’s get those legs some work after all that driving!

walking through the village we see the distinct designs and architectural features of the houses – covered in sgrafftto.

sgrafitto, a local art form

sgrafitto, a local art form

the grisons region of switzerland has another quirky detail – the people here speak romansh – a direct latin dialect. if you speak french/italian/spanish you will be having no problems at all to get what the signs mean:

you speak french/spanish/italian? no problem with rumansch!

you speak french/spanish/italian? no problem with rumansch!

happy language mix

happy language mix

walking makes us hungry and thirsty – the open kitchen was just what we needed! 🙂

sitting in an arvenstübli we sample some local beer and eat some capuns.

sampling local beer

sampling local beer

capuns – a local speciality is designed to make you feel nourished – unsurprisingly, not much later we felt really tired, ready to retire to our rooms at the schweizerhof.

coming back from the restaurant - former glory

coming back from the restaurant – former glory

on our way back we saw where we would be going the day tomorrow:

our challenge for tomorrow

our challenge for tomorrow

looking forward to climbing to 2780m altitude – the second highest point in europe reachable on a paved road…