I have to say that the Basel hostel was the best we’ve stayed in so far. Angie believes I said that because my standards have declined since we started staying in hostels, but I just think it was better. The breakfast was the second best breakfast we’ve had in a hostel yet. (The full breakfast in Canterbury is still the winner.) The Basel hostel breakfast offered tasty bread, multiple types of cheese and meat, yoghurt, and granola. It was a good chance to fuel up before we started heading toward Zurich, though we were not planning a long day of riding.
The plan yesterday was sadly not to spend any time in Basel, but to ride to Rheinfelden and then take the train to Zurich, where we were planning to spend the weekend with Angie’s good friends Carrie and Brent, and their two sons. What the plan did not reveal was that the route between Basel and Rheinfelden was not the bucolic ride along the Rhine we had hoped for.
Despite the chilly, gray morning, this was probably the prettiest part of the ride. It lasted maybe five minutes.
Angie soon realized that the route did not take us along the river very much, since the river path was actually a walking path. Instead, we were spat out onto the busy roads around some of Zurich’s pharmaceutical companies, battling for space on the road with roaring semis (there were marked lanes for bikes at least). It made the twenty or so kilometers we rode seem a lot longer, especially since it was slightly hilly, and we rode harder than we might, just to get through the ugly bits. We had a brief foray over the Rhine into Germany (a relatively calm passage through a water facility) and made it to the station as the rain started to come down a bit. Fortunately, there were trains every hour to Zurich so we didn’t have to wait too long for a train. It cost almost as much for the bikes as it did for us, and as usual it was a pain to get the bikes on the train. Three steps up, and we had to unload the bikes to lift them on the hooks. But, at least we didn’t have to stand with the bikes for the whole ride (which was only an hour anyway). Angie and Carrie also wanted me to mention that even short rides go through tunnels, and the Swiss are obsessed with tunnels.
We arrived in Zurich to continuing rain, which made it hard to navigate to Carrie and Brent’s house, since water on the Garmin makes it hard to read. But, we made it and spent a wonderful evening catching up (and for me, getting to know Brent and the kids for the first time).
Today, we got off to a leisurely start, which included eggs for breakfast! Something we’ve been deprived of since we got to the continent, other than hard-boiled eggs at some hotels. Carrie rode into the center of town with us on the tram to take us to a bookshop where she believed we would find the maps we were looking for and to orient us to our exploration for the day. We did in fact find one of the map books Angie wanted, and then Carrie took us toward the river to see the older part of the city. She took us to Linderhof, a plaza with some great views.
Once Carrie left us on our own, we mainly went where our noses took us. We went into FrauMunster to see the Chagall windows (glorious), had an excellent falafel at a place Carrie had recommended (and one of the few lunches one can get in Switzerland for under 15 francs). We also wandered down to the lake and back into the older part of the city.
The church with the copper roof is FrauMunster.
Then, we got on a random tram (the 4) and rode on it for a little bit, to see what we would see. Shortly after it went past the main station, the tram slowed at a stop by what looked to be an interesting outdoor market, with a little goat petting area to boot. Angie looked at me and asked if I wanted to check it out, and I thought it seemed cool. So we got off the tram and took a look. It turned out to be this place called the Viadukt Market (no translated site but the pictures help get the idea across).
It was a fun scene, though the farther reaches of the market included more mainstream stores, but inside the market hall itself we found some cool little shops. We paused for a cup of coffee (really really good coffee) and a little apple pie (also very good). We looked at almost every stall in the market and purchased some wine and some flowers as thank yous for our wonderful hosts. When we got back to the house, we spent another evening in good company with tasty home-cooked food.