Looking up Lake Luzern from Fluelen
The church bells rang through the night to mark the hour with a very big peal at 9.00pm and 7.00am. I fell asleep to the sound of sheep bells tinkling – here they don’t just put bells round cows necks! Good breakfast and I also made 2 very nice cheese, ham and jam sarnies which we enjoyed later in the day. No real rush to get going as the first section of our ride was down the Schollenen Gorge and we wanted the sun to have a chance to rise above the rock walls to warm us and provide better light for photos.
As the light was good and there were not that many tourists when we set off we were able to get some good footage of Andermatt’s historic centre. The cycle route down the Schollenen Gorge to Goschenen is a shared hiking trail, and mule cart path! We saw quite a few intrepid riders cycling up hill and I was very glad to be going the opposite way. All the better to enjoy our surroundings. Below is a link to history of the pass which is a fascinating read https://www.andermatt.ch/en/discover/holidays-for-culture-lovers/schoellenen
Early into our ride down we came across a Historic Café, lovely mural on the wall depicting the battle at the head of the Gorge in 1799 between Napoleon’s troops and the Russian’s commanded by General Suworow who was trying to drive the French out of Switzerland. The Suworow Monument carved into the rocks commemorates the fallen Russian soldiers. Below is a link to history of battle: https://www.andermatt.ch/attraktionen/suworow-denkmal-d0ab8fc402
Very hard to reconcile the wild but peaceful and beautiful scene we experienced today with fairly recent history. Also interesting reading about the history of accessing this Gorge and why it was so important and it linked Northern and Southern Europe with travellers only having to traverse one pass.
Wonderful morning cycling down. Stopped off for a coffee mid morning at Wassen. Enjoyed people watching: a group of bikers on their smart large bikes as well as a lad moving into the hotel. He and his Dad traipsing back and forth across the road with lots of boxes whilst Mum had it easy guarding the van! Before continuing our long descent of > 1700 m into the flatter farmland where the Reuss River drains into Lake Luzern. Much larger now than yesterday when we first saw it as we descended off the Furka pass. We had a lovely long stretch along a gravel path running alongside the Reuss on the opposite bank to the highway. Had our lunch overlooking the river and was aware that cycling rather than coasting, would now begin!
It got a bit busy /built up as we neared Earsfeld and we did get tied up a bit in some roadworks. This is where we will get our train from on Monday. Our route soon took us away from the traffic back along pleasant rural roads and in no time we reached Fluelen and the Southern tip of Lake Luzern. We had an ice-cream enjoying watching the waves lapping the shore and working out where our route would take us along the Eastern shoreline to Brunnen.
We cycled along the Axenstrausse which was completed in 1865, until then the only way to get from Fluelen to Brunnen was via the lake. The road was initially built for horse drawn carriages and made its way through and round 600m high cliff faces. It was a major engineering feat and it is wonderful that it has many open passages as well as in the tunnels rock galleries / openings to see the lake and far mountains. Between the wars it was adapted to take motor traffic but some of the older sections were retained and turned into cycling and hiking trails.
Well the first section, although partially alongside a busy road, was okay to ride along and very beautiful in places. The least said about the second section after Sisikon village the better. From this point the trail was a fairly narrow pavement, shared with pedestrians and cyclists in the opposite direction (fortunately only one of each) heading into the face of oncoming traffic travelling at speed with no safety barriers between us and them. Was a case of head down and get in with it. Likely to have to do this in reverse on Monday. We will see. Found out later that this is rated a dangerous section and so should be avoided. Decided to get the train back to Fluelen on our return and avoid it.
Brunnen was lovely. Chilled in the park overlooking the lake away from any crowds and then had a couple of glasses of wine in a very nice bar on the lakefront before heading to our Backpackers Hostel in Schwyz. Good comfortable quiet room. Had an excellent Chinese meal and before that during a short walk round the old town we can upon a drum band recital. Lovely. Had not realised when we booked that we were staying spitting distance from the old town cobbled square with its distinctive town hall (Rathus) covered in murals and the beautiful Catholic Church which dominates the square from the opposite side. A lively place with lots of cafes in the square and a small market which we wandered through on Sat morning on our way to getting breakfast and going for our ride.Click on play below to see a video of our ride and screenshow of our photos.
Link to detailed route page and map click on route title