Day Six – Monday 1 August 2016
Swiss National Day
Chur to Buchs - 48 kilometres
I had to wake JP quite late. This was not going to be a good day for him as he was so exhausted from his day of swimming and we had a long ride ahead of us – about 50 km, which is a long way for us non-cyclists.
We headed into Chur in the rain and cold. The temperature had dropped like a stone in the early hours. We rode to the railway station from where we'd intended going sightseeing in the old medieval part of the town but changed our minds in view of the weather and JP's delicate condition. Instead, we got on our bicycles and rode towards Vaduz, the capital city of Liechtenstein.
We stopped at some place where there was a little hut where someone was into carving wood and doing things with stones - Willi's Bankli:
After a short while we arrived at Landquart where the signs weren't all that clear. We headed off in the wrong direction after looking at the right route and thinking it somewhat unpromising. As we rode along the side of the river, I commented to JP that the river was going the wrong way – or was it us? We stopped for a break – JP would need lots of these today. We were about to depart where two firefighters in their truck stopped and asked us if we needed any help. They got out their SatNav and soon directed us back the way we had come. We got about 1 km. Down the path when JP realised he'd left his helmet behind. Poor chap, He turned round and went back to find it. It just wasn't his day. He did this trick again later in the day and fell off his bicycle numerous times. Poor JP. He was so tired. He could hardly ride his bicycle. His pace was so slow, but he never gave up and I told him that he was my hero.
Fortunately, the cycling was mainly along a flat path and on the top of the River Rhine flood dyke. Numerous World War II pill boxes were seen and we sat on top of one having a rest and eating apples.
By the time we got to Vaduz it was 1700 hrs. and most of the place had shut down. We asked for directions to the campsite referred to in our guide book and after some travelling we were told that it was no longer in operation. JP fell off his bicycle again on a garage forecourt. The staff picked him up. Back into Vaduz we rode where we found a tourist shop still open. I bought a couple of mugs for Grace and sent a postcard. The lady who served my was Tibetan. I asked her how she'd found herself so far from her homeland.
“Through marriage”, came the expected reply. I told her that my wife was from the Philippines and was also far from home.
Not finding anywhere to camp in Vaduz was something of a blow, especially for JP who was worn out. We rode off once more, heading for Busch, over the border again into Switzerland.
We came across a Co-op attached to a filling station and grabbed some sandwiches. We sat on some grass to eat our food before hitting the road to Busch.
We got back onto the dyke again and after some miles, we saw some young lads setting off fireworks, this be Swiss Independence Day. Just past them we turned off the dyke and headed into Busch. Much of our route was chosen by guesswork as there was not a soul in sight. I eventually stopped a lady cyclist in the middle of the road and she pointed us in the general direction. After further stops to ask directions we arrived at the campsite at 2120 hrs. A very long day indeed – especially for JP.
The site was crammed but we found a small area where we could erect our tent and we pitched in near darkness with a grand firework display going on overhead. We were surrounded by some of the biggest, most luxurious caravans available; a Tabb art Capellini and Puccini amongst them.
Once the tent was up, I downed a full bottle of juice and we wriggled into our sleeping bags to watch the rest of the firework display through the door of our tent. Despite the loud talk and laughter from a group of German men getting drunk in the massive awning of the palatial Tabbart Celini caravan, we soon fell asleep.