Sunday, July 26, 2009

Swiss Trip - Day 0 (Thursday): Manchester to Scuol

I had a complete meltdown because of my home pc, Adobe Flash 10 took it upon itself to try to install but made a hash of it and all sorts of things stopped working, fixed it now but taken a bit longer to get writing this and sort some photos. Thanks for the crap software Adobe!

Anyway, Thursday morning we were picked up by a local taxi firm to be taken to the airport. There was a temporary deviation from the plan as Ed had forgotten to bring his bike helmet so we had to nip back to get it!

Unlike last time I took my bike to the airport I was spared the indignity of trying to drag it across the concourse. I am not tall enough to actually lift the bike bag off the ground once the strap is on my shoulder, it was a complete pest last time, Jez strode off down the airport then had to come back for me. All bikes were laid on luggage trolleys, I was in charge of pushing my bike and Jez's, hee hee.

Luckily the luggage trolleys were quite easily steerable so it didn't end up a complete demolition derby as I feared, though it is entertaining the amount of people who don't appreciate the width of two bike bags laid down. They look at you pushing but not actually what you are pushing and try to walk too close. I managed to get to the check in without sweeping anyone up, though it nearly happened a few times. Check in was reasonably painless if a little expensive (understatement, robbing sods) to take the bikes on Swiss, luggage dumped then it was off to get rid of the bikes. I managed to ping off some Tensa barrier straps on my way across from check in, much to the amusement of the other two but that was the only destruction I caused, result!

Flight was on time, we had a bit of time to wait in Zurich airport for Ben's flight from Heathrow and Rob to get there. As Ed had hired the car and it was cheaper to have one named driver Jez and I had a couple of beers while we waited as the Heathrow flight was a little delayed. To kill time Jez decided to try to start reassembling his bike in the airport, we left him to it as we thought it was a daft idea and he soon gave up, beer is not conducive to bike building. Finally everyone arrived and we headed off to get our hire car. Ben was going with Rob, which was just as well. The three of us only just got our bikes and stuff into the Zafira mummywagon. I was in the remaining rear seat and spent a lot of the drive to Scuol with things trying to fall on my head.

It took a few hours to get down to Scuol, which is in the eastern corner of Switzerland, over the Fluela pass from Davos/Klosters. The drive over the pass was little interesting in the dark, typical alpine road, switch backs galore and it climbs up over 2000 metres. The drive down the other side was even more interesting, the boys in the other car were stopped by the border police half way down the mountain. Apparently its a known smugglers route!

It was after 11pm when we arrived at the hotel, a bit of faff trying to get parked then up to some rather posh rooms (with the biggest hand basin I think I've seen), it was huge. :

Downstairs into the bar for a couple of beers and a discussion about tomorrow's route. Forecast was for sun but there was pretty much guaranteed to be snow on Saturday. We would basically be climbing from Scuol which is about 1000 metres to the pass at 2250 metres (I think, about that anyway) then back down to the next village we were staying in. It would be pretty much a single long climb, taking at least two hours! Not something you have to deal with in the UK.


  1. Exciting post, can't wait to hear how the first day's climbing goes. Lots of amazing pics to come I'm sure.. have a great time. RB