Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Monday, Male - Sondrio, 110 km

After this experience I can start highly motivated this morning at 8 am. Up the Valley di Sole and the sun is shining respectively. On the left there is the group of the Brenta, on the right the Cevedale, 3778 m, the highest mountain I ever climbed years ago (when I was a student) on skis. But nothing to be seen of it from the valley base. 30 km up to 1800 m you enter the Tonale Pass. At the top I find out, that I had figured 1600 m, so I climbed 200 m without notice.

At noon I enter a lonesome ski center, sit on a bench and wait for the end of the rain. My enthusiasm has gone again. Warm clothes on and down the descent. There is Ponte di Negro, the sun is shining again. Furtheron downhill to Edolo, 700 m. The air remembers to summer climate. Up the next valley: Val di Corteno, narrow curves and the cars sound their horns before each bench.


I find a rock covered by small plants you usually find in rock gardens (I cannot translate: Hauswurz, Sempervivum). But I keep my bags closed, it's too far from home (of course you never should extract a rare plant from the nature, OK, OK..). I never found a similar place on this tour.

I hurry up to reach Aprica, 1175 m, before 4 pm for I must look for a bank again. I arrive in time but find no bank opened, the ski season is over and everything asleep. I use a bench instead to rest for a while. A long descent follows down to the valley of the Adda, 375 m. Within 30 minutes the 18 km and 800 m height difference have been put away and you are inside the Lombardian landscape with vineyards and romantic villages all around. The most astonishing thing for one coming down from the mountains is the sudden change in the climate: mediterranian, that means so much warmer than at any time before.

15 km to Sondrio, much traffic and the sun from the front - but the wind from behind. At 5.30 pm I arrive and I get a hotel cheap and simple. I make a walk, some parts of the town are from the Middle Age and look nice. In the center there is some horror: youngsters arrange races with their mopeds or Lambretta scooters, not as nice for ears and nose. In the evening there are 25 deg. C., summer again.

Tuesday, Sondrio - Luino (Lago Maggiore), 128 km

I have expected to have difficulties this morning, and so it is. I had to deposite my passport at the hotel last evening, so cannot enter a bank for money, so cannot pay the hotel to get the passport. This is a classic deadlock situation. But I have some money for emergency cases in my chest bag, so I must change this in Lira, then pay the hotel, get back my passport and then enter the bank. All this cannot start earlier than 9 am. So I loose a valuable hour of this day. No breakfast and finally I am on the road.

Old Bridge

There is a pleasant small road besides the Adda with no traffic. I reach the Comer See, the landscape around is wonderful. At the shore of the lake there are a lot of tunnels, but they are short and make no problems. At Menaggio I leave the Lake towards Lugano. An elder couple from England is very active in shooting photos at the promenade. So I ask for a picture of myself and get it.

Lake of Como

On the way to Lugano I cross the frontier to Suisse. Once I ride into a village leaving the main road (as usual) and find myself in front of a chapel, vis a vis to a russian monk looking like Rasputin. He sells those golden russian pictures, we say Ikone. The monk looks angry at me, I don't know why. I must go back for only stairs are all around to continue the way.

Lake of Lugano

At Lugano I take a rest at the lake and feel exclusive as many people here. Banks are closed again so this time I have no Franken - the Suisse currency. Now during the rush hour I enjoy the traffic. It has completely broken down, I am the only one moving ahead on the right or left sidewalk. I reach Ponte Tresa and soon enter Italy again. At 6.30 pm I arrive at Luino, the final place for today.

I fight my way through the traffic of the rush hour and enter the hotel Elvezia. I get a very nice room, at the backyard of the hotel there is a palm-tree. At the evening I go to the shore of the Lago Maggiore some melodies of sentimental pop songs in the ear. I have made it now, the far end of my tour has come, the next days I must look to get home again. I watch the sunset behind the mountains and feel very happy.

At the dinner restaurant I forget my overall but get it back next morning.

Wednesday, Luino - Simplon, 95 km

No breakfast again so I can start in time. There seems to be a big market in Luino this day. I would like to go by ship some time but had to wait two hours. And I do not understand the timetable completely - if you wait two hours and no ship will come...? So as usual I trust in my bike and it is not the worst thing to cycle at the shore of the Lago Maggiore.

Unfortunately it is hazy so you cannot enjoy the colours and views across the lake. As I pass the frontier to Suisse I now change money and can use it immediately. A ship passes by, I enter it happily. Now I have my voyage to Ascona.

Lago Maggiore at Ascona

I say Goodbye to the Lago M. and head for the Centovalli, a romantic valley. A railway is leading up there in an adventurous trail. Just at the best progress a red traffic light comes up, the main road is closed. You instead must go up 200 m to a small village and then make it all down again. No problem for the motorized road-users, but the biker pays by sweat and an additional hour of his time.


The next way is romantic as well, nice canyons and high bridges. At the summit to the next valley leading down again I take a rest. It is an error. To the summit there are 15 km more to climb. This is a psychological problem for you always wait for relief but must fight on and on. I once pass a village with a strange orientalic church. The name of the village is Re.

Church at Re

Finally you reach 800 m height, then you can run 20 km downhill. I pass a canyon but cannot risk a view due to the high speed. This valley is the Val Vigezzo.

Nose of Rock near Masera

At Masera you are down at 300 m height again and join the big European route to the Simplon. But not much traffic and I find myself at the mouth of a more than 2200 m tunnel. With a strange feeling I enter it. Is it possible to breathe poisened air in there? At the ceiling there are big ventilators, and what's about the motor-cyclists in a similar situation? But they pass the tunnel in a moment. But I calm down and finally see the sun again.


1100 m ascent to Simplon are waiting now. There is the railway tunnel to Brig, but this time I will do it for my own. There is the scenic Gonso canyon. So much to see that you do not notice riding uphill. In the middle of the canyon at a dark place there is the frontier to Suisse again.

Gonso Canyon

In the gorge you sometimes see relicts of the old trail, artistic constructions of stacked rocks, bridges and tunnels. The old trail used the conditions of the ground and walls perfectly. Do not compare the modern ramp that is blasted broad and wide into the slopes. At many places they build roofs above the road to keep back avalanches and falling stones. So the cars can run up with 100 km/h and more. Does anyone enjoy the landscape yet? So they more and more destroy it!

I enjoy. I can stop where I want and can look around, upside or down. From the frontier at Gonso the last 500 m to Simplon will be managed. About 7.30 pm (4 hours ascent) I arrive. The first house of the village is Hotel Fletschhorn. There is someone in the garden and staying on my bike I ask across the fence if I could have a room. Sure I can!

Thursday, Simplon - Brienz, 120 km

Start at 8.30 am after a pleasant night and breakfast. Another 500 m up to the summit of the Simplonpass. After some time the two dominants of the valley come in sight, the Fletschhorn and the Lagginhorn, both higher than 4000 m. So the 1.5 hours for the way up are not so long.

Simplon Paßhöhe

At the summit you have a nice view to the Aletsch and the Berner Oberland, but the mountains show themselves never without clouds. I lie amongst the flowers and feel well. The descent is very long and leads 2000 m down to Brig at 678 m. The road is wide and the speed high correspondingly. Once there is a big bridge 140 m high crossing a valley.

High Bridge

Soon I am in Brig. This is located in the valley of the young Rhone and the area is called the Wallis. But much industry and traffic again. I want to go to Gampel and up to Goppenstein. There is a railway station for another transfer per tunnel to Kandersteg. From Brig I try to avoid the main road running zigzag at the banks of the Rhone. Somehow I reach Gampel. Two times I ask for the way up to Goppenstein. The roadmap shows an old trail leading up a canyon. They tell me, that the road is closed but you can use it at your own risk.

I try it. The street workers have their lunch break so no one can watch me when I enter the trail. I must crawl under a red and white barrier, there is a shield that nobody is allowed to use the road, inclusive pedestrians. Behind the next bench I run my own risk. I wonder for the reason why this road is forbidden. There are some rocks on the way as it is, if a road is not used. But it's made for me alone now and I enjoy to ride free of any traffic. High above there is the roaring main road.

Soon the galleries of the main road and the railway come near. Finally I reach a wide place, big piles of stones around. And there is a sign that tells, that this is a dynamite blasting area. The last curves of the trail I finish in a very sporty kind of cycling, one can guess the reason.

The last section to Goppenstein, I made up 400 m again. The next train is waiting, I enter the last waggon for motor cyclists, but I am the only passenger. The tunnel is 17 km long, you pay 4 SFr for the transfer. At Kandersteg I ride along all the car waggons and leave the train behind the caravan of automobiles.


Now I will leave the Alps running down to the Thuner See. A view back to the 3000 m mountains, in front there is a countryside as you know it from the advertising of chocolate or Suisse cheese. A ralley of oldtimers is coming up. At Frutigen I buy two sausages and a cheese at a nice store. They ask me where from and to. I am proud of all the way from Vienna. I sit on a bench, a sausage in one and the cheese in the other hand. People star at me laughing, so at last I recognize my appearance.

Near the Thuner See I dare the crossing of a final hill on a side road and reach Aesch and at least Interlaken. At Interlaken the rest of the world seems to have a meeting. I enter the shore of the Brienzer See. A nice road leads to Brienz, the last overnight station of this tour. I cannot find a private pension. But for the last night I may enter a hotel to pay some more but to have a balcony and view to the Lake of Brienz. The last dinner is a fine pizza.

Wooden Houses

Friday, Brienz - Luzern, 60 km

I get up at 7 am, may be there will be a long day. The breakfast is a buffet and I can ravel in bacon, sausage, cheese etc. The garbage box on my table soon is full. I as well and start my ride. A last pass is to overcome, the Bruening Pass, 1000 m. It is easy to go now with my training of all those days before.

So the last kilometers to Luzern are going downhill. I would like finally to use a ship on the Vierwaldstaetter See. I have reached the 1500 km on my tour, so there is no cause of shame. As I come near to the lake I see a ship just running off the shore before I can enter it. So I hurry up, may be I can reach it at the next station. At the next bench I see the ship coming in, when I reach the station I see it leaving off again. So I give it up. Two minutes too late after 1500 km!

The last 8 km at the base of the Pilatus to Luzern within much traffic. I enter the railway station at once. Look at the timetable, buy a ticket, change money, manage the luggage, send the bike back etc. After this busy time I sit in the train to Basel and think it all over, I cannot believe it. Now the tour planned over months is over and gone, but in the future I will have my memories.

At this final day I made the Bruening Pass in the morning and at 11 pm I am back home at Braunschweig!

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