Day 53 - Looping Through Switzerland

Sunday 17th August 2014


It's time to leave Ulrichen, but there's still one of its famous passes to run. The last time Mick and I were on the Nufenen the snow was hammering into my visor and into Mick's face. A truly unpleasant experience. This morning the weather is just perfect, not a cloud in the sky, and it's a joy to ride up the challenging eastern side of this high pass. It is still only 4C at the summit but crisp and feeling warm in the sun.

A kindly soul takes a group shot for us. Then it's on down the west side to the small town of Airolo.

Nufenen summit

The three amigos do Nufenen Pass

Gentlemen, start your engines

There is a choice of direction from here, but I want to ride the San Bernadino Pass. Last year I came down this pass in appalling weather with almost zero visibility. Even so I reckoned it was a doozy and determined to return in better circumstances.

Some pass or other

Today we have that chance. The south face is fantastic, twisting and winding it's way up and up, one hairpin after another, glorious surfaces and radii.

We stop in the busy village of San Bernadino below the summit to get our legs lifted again for a light lunch easily worth a fiver a head but costing fifteen.
I'm here too...

The northern side takes us down a steep gorge. The satnav cannot find the old ravine road that I remember from the previous trip but instead forces us onto the motorway and it's boring tunnel. There is no vignette sign but I'm nervous as we complete 24 kilometres to Thusis where we take the Albula Pass road.

It's getting late so we head for a camp site near the village of Filisur. They have a caravan for Clive to bed down in. Mick and I pitch our tents.

Foolishly we end up having a bit of a session this evening. Figuring it all out later we have had yet another chastening Swiss experience. Nine bottles of beer, six glasses of grappa, and three fairly uninspiring Schnitzel Cordon Bleu with chips (basic pork Wienerschnitzel with bacon and cheese inside the batter wrapper) cost us 175SF. That's around £120. When will we ever learn.
 
Down below San Bernadino

I can feel a rant coming on. But not now. Let's get out of La Suisse first.  

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