Switzerland 2021

Friday August 20, 2021
Grand Saint Bernard

Saturday August 21, 2021
Lac du Vieux Emosson

Sunday August 22, 2021

Saturday morning I woke up early, had breakfast alone downstairs at about 620am

2 Ibuprofen
1 piece cheese
cold cuts

Came back up to the room, and by around 645am my throat swelled up again just like last night.
I was really, really confused for a couple of minutes until I realized that I'd downed a couple of ibuprofen both last night and this morning before breakfast..
My son has had a bad reaction to ibuprofen as well, I got to take him to the ER when he was younger.

I took my last two benadryl, then decided I needed to purchase more antihistamine before doing anything else.
It was Saturday, google showed me the pharmacy should open at 8am.
The pharmacy probably won't be open on Sunday, and may not be open when I'm done with my ride, so I needed to go this morning before my ride.
The pharmacist spoke not a word of English.
An assistant in the back spoke perfect English, but she only translated one phrase of our extensive conversation and didn't get involved other than that.
I showed the pharmacist the word 'antihistamine' on my iphone and she sold me something.
I walked away partially satisfied, then found the active ingrediant for benadryl on my iphone, went back to the pharmacist, pointed to that word on my iphone to the pharmacist, and heard alot of French that I believed meant "that drug is not approved in Switzerland" based on seconds of research online. 
I later learned this is not true, "Bonox" is the benadryl equivalant.
I didn't intend to take any more ibuprofen anyway, hopefully I could stay out of the ER without more antihistamines...
At any rate I'd done all I could do, I started on my ride....
From Martigny, Col de la Forclaz was between me and Lac du Vieux Emosson, so I got to climb it first... then go down 440m on the other side, 440m that I'd need to climb back over to get back to Martigny.
This would be by far the most vertical I've attempted in a day, I'd estimated 2700 meters.
I didn't count Col de la Forclaz as one of my climbs for this trip, I just considered it part of Lac du Vieux Emosson...

I'd go down this section on the way to Emosson, and up this section on the way back to Martigny.

This doesn't show the last 1.7 kilometers of hideously steep 14% climb up to Lac du Vieux Emosson



08:21 Switzerland time 00:21 California time

The road up Col the la Forclaz is visible from my room, at night you can even hear the cars and motorcycles race up and down it.

08:40 Switzerland time 00:40 California time

08:56 Switzerland time 00:56 California time

10:47 Switzerland time 02:47 California time

Herens cows at Col de la Forlaz.
Quite the tourist attraction.

10:49 Switzerland time 02:49 California time

I bought a beer and a coke at the cafe
Looking northeast back up the Rhone valley

10:59 Switzerland time 02:59 California time

Glacier des Grands and Trient
The Glacier du Trient is still around the corner

11:01 Switzerland time 03:01 California time

11:04 Switzerland time 03:04 California time

In 2014 I backpacked into Trient and spent the night while completing the Haute Route from Zermatt to Chamonix.

11:09 Switzerland time 03:09 California time

11:59 Switzerland time 03:59 California time

Glacier du Trient and Glacier des Grands
Even from over 10km away I could tell that the Glacier du Trient was much smaller now than in seven years ago.

12:23 Switzerland time 04:23 California time

12:28 Switzerland time 04:28 California time
I've tried to see Mount Blanc three different times in 2014 and 2017, and each time I saw only high clouds.
My patience was finally rewarded.
I was very, very happy to finally see Mt Blanc on such a stellar day.
I took lots of pictures cause you never know when the mountains will disappear.

12:28 Switzerland time 04:28 California time

12:47 Switzerland time 04:47 California time

12:47 Switzerland time 04:47 California time

12:47 Switzerland time 04:47 California time

12:49 Switzerland time 04:49 California time

12:52 Switzerland time 04:52 California time

13:10 Switzerland time 05:10 California time
Barrage d'Emosson

In the center left you can see the road climb very steeply up to Lac du Vieux Emosson

The sunny / left side of the mountain Le Perron 2674m on the left of the picture (above the dam) is France.
The Swiss built this dam to power their rail line in the 1920s, and couldn't have built it much closer to the French border if they had tried.

The road drops 46 meters vertical down to the dam.

I was slightly worried about biking across the dam onto the trail, but I just went ahead and did it like I owned the place.
I have yet to have someone in Europe try to tell me I can't bike somewhere (other than Mölltaler, which was clearly signed)
People are very kind to cyclists, especially in the mountains.

13:17 Switzerland time 05:17 California time

The 3km of level pavement across the dam and along the lake were lovely.
Some folks looked at me on my bike and looked kind of jealous, a bike was perfect here.

Lac d' Emosson from near Cabane du Vieux Emosson

The road then climbs up another 303 meters of vertical over 1.7km of pavement - some of it very dicey pavement - at over a 14% grade.
It wasted me, I had to stop 4-5 times and people probably thought I was having a heart attack..
Then again everyone else was doing about the same cause just walking up that is nasty...
Maybe a dozen ebikes on that last 1.7km but no other real bikes...
I again had planned to dine up top but it was getting late again..

14:00 Switzerland time 06:00 California time

Barrage du Vieux Emosson

The pavement continues one more turn above before ending at a control room door below the top of the dam, in the upper right in this picture, I didn't get a picture at that spot.
I didn't go up to the top of the dam, I was way too tired and didn't care.
The view could not possibly be as good as the view of Mt Blanc or much of anything else I'd seen today.
A bad attitude, I know, but I had to set a limit on a long day.

14:00 Switzerland time 06:00 California time

Cabane du Vieux Emosson

Plenty of ebikes..

14:13 Switzerland time 06:13 California time

14:13 Switzerland time 06:13 California time

14:18 Switzerland time 06:18 California time

14:22 Switzerland time 06:22 California time
The Minifunic appears to be right in front of the dam.
See next picture for details

14:25 Switzerland time 06:25 California time
Most of the people up here took the train, a funicular, scenic train, then the minifunic to get here.
Or perhaps they took the bus...

14:30 Switzerland time 06:30 California time
There are dinosaur tracks on a trail above Barrage du Vieux Emosson

14:31 Switzerland time 06:31 California time

14:31 Switzerland time 06:31 California time

15:00 Switzerland time 07:00 California time

15:35 Switzerland time 07:35 California time

I ran out of water on the way down, i knew Trient has a bar at the hotel i stayed at in 2014 when i backpacked into Trient, that saved me.
5 minutes after leaving the bar found the Trient also has a fountain in the main square, which is at the next intersection uphill.

15:48 Switzerland time 07:48 California time

16:21 Switzerland time 08:21 California time

I  finished climbing the 440m vertical up the back side of Col de la Forclaz..

16:29 Switzerland time 08:29 California time

Martigny, the Rhone valley, and Mont Fort

16:47 Switzerland time 08:47 California time

A wine train above Martigny

After I got back to Martigny I got groceries at the train station coop again cause the real coop closed at 5
Also checked out a Michelin rated restaurant across the street from my hotel, 120 or 150 chf menu but sorry, reservations only.
I don't think I could bring myself to spend 120 on le menu but I wouldn't rule it out....

19:15 Switzerland time 11:15 California time

Tonight's dinner is from La Vache Qui Vole, a French restaurant
Green salad with walnuts and homemade French dressing

19:28 Switzerland time 11:28 California time

Fresh wild perch fillters with meuniere and chardonnay butter and fries.
yum, yum, yum.

20:08 Europe time 11:08 California time
Dusty: Supposed to rain tomorrow, will not bike anywhere..
Dusty: may go to church in Sion, 800 y old churches are kinda pretty...

20:14 Europe time 11:14 California time
Dusty: 2697 meters vertical total, probably at least 500 more than I've ever done before..

21:46 Europe time 12:46 California time
Ray: What is that, slices of fish? Looks so delicious!

23:13 Europe time 14:13 California time
Kent: The museum next to church in Sion is pretty good for local history
Kent:  Half fare card either gets you in free or inexpensive
Kent:  The abbaye in St Maurice is very old
Kent:  1500yo.

23:19 Europe time 14:19 California time
Kent: I've never been disappointed in the McDonald's in Martigny
Kent: A royal! 

Paul: Dealing with bad allergic reactions away from home is no bueno
Paul: I got messed up bad on conch soup in Roatan Honduras, and I was really freaked out
Paul: Guessing the Swiss medical facilities are > Honduras, but not fun I'm sure

Paul: 2700 m vertical
Paul: Damn

Friday August 20, 2021
Grand Saint Bernard

Saturday August 21, 2021
Lac du Vieux Emosson

Sunday August 22, 2021