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Europe 2017


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Sunday August 6, 2017
Andermatt

Monday August 7, 2017
Bike up Furkapass and Oberalppass

Next
Tuesday August 8, 2017
Andermatt to Florence

I woke up Monday morning to bright sunshine but it was very, very chilly.
I had too much fendant (which wasn't very much actually), was too cold and I was not motivated this morning.

I had made a strategic error when I didn't bring my long sleeve cycling jersey from the USA
...the one I ALWAYS were at home since it is rarely warm in el-granada...
... for some reason I hadn't anticipated it being cold in Switzerland when I was cycling....
Instead I wore the cycling jersey I bought at the base of Col du Galibier....I also brought another outfit just in case that one didn't work

I saw one route description indicating the ride up Furkapass starts in Realp, not Andermatt, and I didn't feel the need to bike in the freezing cold in a relatively boring valley.
So I decided to 'cheat' and take the train to Realp.
I asked at the train station whether you're allowed to bring bikes on the train - they answer is yes, you just need to buy another ticket for your bike.
Seems strange but ok..
Fortunately my bike could also use my half fare card.


2017-08-07 11:53

Lookling north at Müeterlishorn 3059m / 10,059'


2017-08-07 11:53

Looking east toward Andermatt and Overalppass
The Furkareuss, one of the tributaries of the Reuss river, the fourth largest river in Switzerland after the Rhine, Aare, and Rhone


2017-08-07 11:42

Looking east toward Andermatt and Overalp pass




2017-08-07 11:16

Looking west up Furkapass from the base of the hairpins
I rode up the hairpin turns in the cold,



James Bond Street
As the sign explains, the car chase scene of Goldfinger was filmed on the Furkapass
Looking east toward Realp, Andermatt and Overalppass


2017-08-07 11:11



PANO - scroll right
Urserental from the hairpins of Furkapass


2017-08-07 11:02

Looking east toward Realp, Andermatt and Overalp pass
It is almost impossible to believe that the Swiss government proposed building a dam and flooding this entire valley.
The people rioted in 1946 in protest and chased the engineer out of town.
They instead built a dam in Goschenertal, the next valley downhill, in 1960


2017-08-07 10:49

Sad abandoned Hotel Galenstock


2017-08-07 10:44

Hotel Tiefenbach has the webcam I'd been watching for Furkapass. 
Spoiler alert - it is the only business still open anywhere on Furkapass, there were nearly half a dozen closed hotels.


2017-08-07 10:43

I couldn't believe there was a railroad below.
It is the Furka steam railway, which was frequently damaged by avalanche and floods
This was the only rail line through the area, and it was closed every winter winter and spring until the Furka base line opened in 1982.
They planned to demolish the old railline but public pressure kept the line intact.
The old line reopened in 2000 as a summer steam line.



PANO - scroll right
Urseren valley from Hotel Tiefenbach


2017-08-07 10:41

Furkapass from Hotel Tiefenbach
looking west


2017-08-07 10:27

Sidelenhorn 3217m / 10,544', Galenstock 3586m / 11,765', Sidelengletscher, Gross Bielenhorn 3210m / 10,532', and Chli Bielenhorn 2940m / 9,646'
Looking north from Furkapass
The Rhone glacier is just to the left / west of this picture


2017-08-07 10:26

Urseren valley from the east side of Furkapass, looking east



Furkapass 2428m / 7,969'!
The Goms valley from Furka pass, looking west

Once I made the 'top' I realized this was a long flat top.
I biked over the west side far enough to get a great view

The old railroad grade is on the lower left
The road up Grimselpass climbs across the valley
Totensee 2160m / 7,090' is barely visible at the top of Grimselpass
The large mountain directly above the road up Grimselpass is Finsteraarhorn 4274m / 14,022', the highest mountain in the Bernese Alps and the most prominent peak of Switzerland according to wikipedia
Fiescherhörner 4049m / 13,284' is the glaciated peak to the right of Finsteraarhorn, and I think tiny white peak of the Mönch 4107m / 13,474' is barely visible to the right of Fiescherhörner
Lauteraarhorn 4042m / 13,261' is the peak that appears as four summits to the left of my head.
The top of the Rhone glacier, the quickly melting source of the Rhone river, is on the upper right.

I screwed up my research on this climb.
I didn't realize I was this close to the Rhone glacier (a mile or two downhill) or I would have biked over to see it.
I also didn't realize that the Belvedere hotel, shown in Goldfinger, was on the west side of Furkapass, not the east side...

This is my third alpine cycle climb, on each I've gone back down the same way slowly taking pictures.
It took me almost as long to bike down Furkapass as bike up it cause I stopped so often.


2017-08-07 09:43

The Goms valley from Furkapass, looking west




PANO - scroll right

The Goms valley from Furkapass, looking west

Gross Muttenhorn 3099m / 10,167' and Muttgletscher are on the far left
The old railroad grade is on the lower left
The road up Grimselpass climbs across the valley
Totensee is barely visible at the top of Grimselpass
The large mountain directly above the road up Grimselpass is Finsteraarhorn 4274m / 14,022', the highest mountain in the Bernese Alps and the most prominent peak of Switzerland according to wikipedia
Fiescherhörner 4049m / 13,284' is the glaciated peak to the right of Finsteraarhorn, and I think tiny white peak of the Mönch 4107m / 13,474' is barely visible to the right of Fiescherhörner
Lauteraarhorn 4042m / 13,261' is the peak that appears as four summits to the left of my head.
The top of the Rhone glacier, the quickly melting source of the Rhone river, is on the upper right.



Andermatt and Oberalppass from the west




I took a lunch break back at my room for an hour or so, then headed back out to bike up Oberalppass!
Unlike the previous three cycle climbs where I took pictures on the way back down, this afternoon was simply idyllic and I was going to stop, take pictures, and enjoy every single new scene on my way up.



Andermatt 1437m / 4,714' population 1355, Hospental 1452m / 4.763'  population 188, Urserental / the Urseren valley, Müeterlishorn 3059m / 10,059', and Sustenhorn 3502m / 11,490' from the lower hairpins of Oberalppass
Looking west and northwest





2017-08-07 14:01

Andermatt and the Urseren valley from the lower hairpins of Oberalppass
Looking west


2017-08-07 14:02

Andermatt 1437m / 4,714' population 1355, Hospental 1452m / 4.763'  population 188, Urserental / the Urseren valley, Müeterlishorn 3059m / 10,059', and Sustenhorn 3502m / 11,490' from the lower hairpins of Oberalppass
Looking west and northwest


2017-08-07 14:14

Unteralp valley looking southeast is headed toward the left.
On the right is Gemsstock 2962m / 9,718' and Gurschengletscher / Gurschenfirn
Gemsstock is the top of the ski area south of of Andermatt.


2017-08-07 14:23

Overalp looking east


2017-08-07 14:41

I stopped for maybe 10 minutes to watch several round trips as the helicopter ferried concrete up the mountain.
A billionairre is building several new ski lifts in the mountains above to connect Oberalppass with Andermatt to try to make the entire area a major ski destination.


2017-08-07 14:41




2017-08-07 14:46

Operalpsee 2027m / 6,650' looking east


2017-08-07 14:49

Operalpsee 2027m / 6,650' and Operalppass 2044m / 6,706' looking east


2017-08-07 14:49

Operalpsee 2027m / 6,650' looking west



PANO - scroll right
Operalpsee 2027m / 6,650'


2017-08-07 14:53

Oberalppass 2044m / 6,706'
Rhenquelle means source of the Rhine River; it is 3km south up a rugged trail


2017-08-07 14:54

The lighthouse was installed in 2010 to highlight the fact that the source of the Rhine, Rheinquelle, is 3 kilometers south of Operalp
There was also talk of bringing an entire river barge to the pass but fortunately that hasn't happened yet.
I didn't realize it at the time, but today's cycling took me to within a few miles of both the source of the Rhone and the source of the Rhine while I also cycled along the Ruess.
Oberalppass 2044m / 6,706', looking south


2017-08-07 14:54

Operalppass 2044m / 6,706', looking north to Pix Tiarms 2918m / 9,573'


2017-08-07 14:56

Operalp station, the literal and figurative highpoint of the Glacier Express, looking south


2017-08-07 14:56

Operalp station, the literal and figurative highpoint of the Glacier Express, looking west


2017-08-07 14:57

Operalpsee 2027m / 6,650'  looking west


2017-08-07 15:06

Operalpsee 2027m / 6,650'  looking west



2017-08-07 15:19







Oberalppass!
Looking south
It was an amazing two beer at the summit day...

While I was enjoying my beer I watched a group of 6 motorcycles start down the east side of Operalp pass... coasting, with no engines running!  They sounded like bicycles until they started their engines.


2017-08-07 16:43

I quickly coasted downhill to Adermatt for a well earned dinner.


2017-08-07 19:07

Yesterday's smoked salmon rosti at Gasthaus zum Sternen was one of the best meal's I'd ever eaten.
While I was afraid that getting the same dish a second night would disappoint, it did not... it was just as good the second time.
The pizza place next door blasted oldies including Sabbath's 'War Pigs'!


2017-08-07 19:32

Struddle seemed mandatory again...



Monday night I optimisitically bought a train ticket to Biasca, then another ticket from Biasca to Airolo.
The plan was to leave my backpack at Biasca
Rent a mountain bike at Airolo
Bike up St Gottard pass via old Tremola road, then ride the bike all the way downhill to Biasca to return it, then get my backpark and continue on.

Meanwhile...

Kent was going up Dom, then texted 'Little voices said back off. 
Not really a well suited climb for soloing. 
Still very beautiful, and I know I could have, but felt more risky than I liked.
I would be on top now if I had continued. 
About to do huge hike back down now. 
Still climbed some great mountains on this trip, and I had to listen to myself
Got halfway to top before turning back.
It was easy but loose rock. 
Got tagged in the helmet by a pretty good one that left a dent in my hard shell!
Rang my bell. 
Much bigger or dropped from higher would not be cool. 
Lots of tools (inexperienced climbers) on the rig. 
Some italians knocked it down and didn't bother to alert me below. 
I'm a little bummed. 
But it's the journey I'm after'



Ken't's pic of Matterhorn, Obelgaberhorn, ZinalRothorn, and Weisshorn from Dom

Kent eventually arrived at the Hotel Victoria in Brig. 
'A hotel that was once nice, now worn out.'

Ray texted
'Had first good sleep since arriving. 
My worries turned into long, elaborate dream in which moto got stolen - but it was there when I woke up.
Left at 830.
Not at autogrill near Rome, headed to Viterbo.
...
'Just got to Viterbo. 
Gonna stretch out and have lunch. 
Looking forward to slower speeds and more scenery as I head north.
...
'I am taking back road to Siena - sr2 - in Bolsena now, next waypoint is Buenconventa. 
Gorgeous. 
Weather is cooler near the lake.
...
'Just arrived Buonconventa. 
Taking a break and figuring out my next waypoint. 
Today has been the best moto day so far, overall. 
Not sure if I'll do Voltera today. 
That's still 80km and 90m away. 
Country roads are slower, and water / coffee breaks are mandatory.
I may look for a hotel in Siena.'



Paul's pic of St Patrick's well c 1527.



Paul texted
'The bottom and top of St Patrick's well c 1527.
Cool double helix passageway down to the bottom well so horses could get all the way to the bottom and out in a one way pattern. 
Built so that the town could survie extended sieges with an unassailable water supply. 
53m deep.




Paul texted  'You're right Kent, Orvieto is just downright pleasant.'



Paul texted  'Dude told me that both types of Orvieto wine were really good... so...'







Ray's apartment in Siena

Ray texted
'I am simultaneously jealous of Orvieto and ecstatic at my room in Siena.
Porta Pispini Residence. 
Music to my ears "Yes, we have one apartment left - 50 euro'
My apartment also has a washing machine with provided detergent - there is no way to top this.'




Ray's pic of Siena



Ray's pic of Siena



Paul texted
Just ordered pasta with boar sauce for first and a secondi of boar with grilled pumpkin flowers. 






Previous
Sunday August 6, 2017
Andermatt

Monday August 7, 2017
Bike up Furkapss and Oberalppass

Next
Tuesday August 8, 2017
Andermatt to Florence