Day 23 Monday – Up Carrauntoohil and some more …

Today was a tough one – 102 km from Basel to Rafz in Switzerland with a total climb of 4,308 feet. (Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland is 3,406 feet). We were fine until lunchtime but the afternoon was a real slog (for me anyway).

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Today was our biggest elevation gain to date.

The day was spent in Switzerland with incursions in and out of Germany – there was no passport checking at any stage. Vodafone though reminded us that we were crossing borders with: “Vodafone Roaming is free in Germany”, quickly followed by “Vodafone Roaming is free in Switzerland”, followed by… you get the message.

The map below shows Budapest, our destination, on the right edge!


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Regardless of Google Maps – there are other ways that we know that we are heading the right direction:

1) If we are following a river, well the direction of flow, following the Loire, we were always going opposite to the flow.

2) The sun – Eastwards is our main direction, follow the sun e.g. in the morning we should be heading into it.

3) This last one is of little use for navigation 🙂 Because we are mostly heading east, despite lashings of suncream, we are getting more colour on our right sides than left, (e.g. right arm, right leg).

We were on the road early, 7.30 am this morning as we knew we had a long day cycling. We were blessed with another beautiful day, not too hot. IMG_3765

One thing that I’d love to be able to do is magic a coffee stop just when we’re ready for morning coffee break and a nice lunch stop just when we’re ready for lunch. There are lots of lovely places but not always when/where we need them. This morning was a case in point. We were ready for coffee, stopped at one village and no joy, no coffee available. We kept going until Stein, 35 km after we had set out. It was looking much the same and lo and behold look what we found, what a surprise. This was more than we needed for a morning coffee stop but we were so happy to find it. Stein is a small place with a population of just 3,343. IMG_3771

Now that we are in Switzerland, I’m enjoying bircher muesli and had another bowl of it with coffee. As it says in the article I’ve linked to … It [bircher muesli] is also a sound choice for anyone, yomper or not, hoping to see off the mid-morning munchies.

I couldn’t find a definition for yomper! 🙂

What was most noticeable today, our first day cycling outside rural France, was though we are still travelling through rural areas, we passed plenty of evidence of heavy industry.

IMG_5018IMG_3785IMG_5042 (1)IMG_3793Farming is still mixed, not a huge change since we left France.

At one point during the day, we saw four modes of transport alongside each other – water, road, rail and bike path


There will be absolutely no problem sleeping tonight after our Carrauntoohil day!



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