The Ridiculous Hills of Switzerland (aka Central Europe Loop – Day 7)

We knew we had a tough day ahead of us, but the gradients of some of the roads in Switzerland are just stupid. The Etzel Pass, done on a stomach full of breakfast, was 20% in some places – more than I have ever heard of on the Tour de France. Really, you just come up to a hill like that and scratch your head…how could anyone in their right minds make such an evil thing? Shoko wisely walked up most of them, and I admitted defeat near the top when it just got laughable.

But let’s go back to the beginning, which was benign enough. There was a pumpkin festival this weekend near the campsite. Here’s the entrance.



After a posh breakfast at the train station cafe of Rapperswil, we made our way across the causeway to the beginning of the climb. This is the old city of Rapperswil.


And a ways up towards the pass. Zurich is at the end of the lake below.


One of the last head scratchers before the top of the pass.


Then it was mostly downhill the rest of the day…or at least that’s how I want to remember it! Some awesome scenery along the way.


At lunch we stopped in the surprising town of Einsiedeln, a pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages. This is the facade to the immense abbey in the center of town, absolutely a shocker in an area of pastures and lakes.


A few more ups and downs and we planted ourselves in a campsite on the banks of Urner See, in the town of Brunnen.


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