At last! Today we REALLY began our ride. After a 24 hour delay waiting for a new brake/shifter to arrive from Konstanz we were on our way. The guys at our Chur bike shop did a mighty job rushing everything through for us and helped get the insurance forms ready to post to Swiss Rail (plus, did I mention, they found us a bottle of wine the night we dropped the bike in- pretty good service for 6:00 pm Sunday!)
But that was all behind us… we were off! An easy day, according to the guide book. Oh, if you didn’t decide to take the optional track to visit The Heidi House above the valley at Maienfeld. Well, how could we not visit The Heidi House! Jan loved the book so much as a young girl that it inspired the name of her first born! (Luckily for Hayden he was a boy or he would have been Anna Clara. True!)
Of course, the book Heidi is fiction and therefore there isn’t really a house lived in by a little Swiss girl, her Grandfather and visited by a boy called Goat Peter- however…
In the 1930s a famous movie of Heidi’s adventures was filmed in the region where it was set and a real house became Heidi’s (well, Shirley Temple’s, I guess.) and there it is, and it is absolutely charming. Beautiful views across the green valley, goats in the yards, chickens, a hand operated water pump, grinding wheel and lots of statues of the main characters scattered around. Gorgeous, especially on a beautiful early spring day, with snow capped mountains and the first blossoms colourfully dotted all around the meadow. Definitely well worth the climb. Oh, I didn’t mention the climb. Silly me.
You can’t, of course, visit a pretty cottage perched high on the meadow above a village unless you actually climb the hill. Even if you are on bicycles. Boy… what a hill. Thank goodness Grandfather never gave Heidi a bicycle for her birthday, she wouldn’t have had any energy left for her adventures!
By the time we were rolling down that crazy hill (at about 50km/h!) our legs had stopped burning and we were able to limp onwards to our overnight at Bad Ragaz, a little short of our expected stop but pretty good considering our late start and the Heidi hill!
Bad Ragaz is a spa town (useful fact: “Bad” in Germanic place names means “spa”. You’re welcome.) we were definitely using the wrong transport for B.R. We seemed to be the only visitors not travelling in a Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc. And I don’t mean your common, everyday type Porsche, BMW, etc… these were the top shelf versions. We felt a but grubby, really. But not for long- leg power rules! Oh, and I really should mention, this was one of THE MOST AWESOME days of riding we had ever done. Any doubts that lugging two bicycles half-way around the world to follow a river to the sea faded away as quickly as mountain mist on a sunny spring day!
Chur to Bad Ragaz 38 km.