Category Archives: Switzerland

Switzerland and the Black Forest 8-15 June 2011

We left France late on the 8th June and entered Switzerland at Basel.  We didn’t linger and continued through the city and into Germany and then began to look for somewhere to camp.  Our plan the following day was to follow the Rhine, which forms the Swiss-German border and switch between the two countries.

Looking at Switzerland from Germany.

Looking at Switzerland from Germany.

The equally picturesque Laufenberg, in Germany.

The equally picturesque Laufenberg, in Germany.

Our first crossing was over the barrage of the first of several hydroelectric plants along the Rhine.  There are identical turbines on both the Swiss and German sides, which is unusual as the other plants have the turbines on one side or the other but share the electricity between the two countries.  Our luck was in and one of the Swiss engineers was strolling around and kindly told us a bit about the plants as our German is too poor to understand the information signs.  I was surprised to learn that the combined output of all 12 hydroelectric plants along the Rhine is only half the output of the nuclear station we would see later that day at Tiengen.

Returning to the Swiss side of the river we were frustrated to find the cycle path led us away from the water, and so after a few km we said goodbye to Switzerland and crossed back to Germany, where we spotted the best and most unusual gate-post adornments so far: a pair of lazily smirking creatures that appeared to be half-dragon, half-dog. Speaking of dogs, our trailer, which had already broken once and had the frame replaced in Roscoff, had continued to wag like an unruly Labrador.  In frustration we’d arranged, whilst still in France, to have a complete new one sent ahead to Donaueschingen Post Office for us to pick up on arrival on 10th June.  This was not a moment too soon as the constant wagging eventually broke the replacement frame just outside the town of Bad Sackingen.  We emptied all our kit from the trailer panniers and hung it all off the bike and limped on to Tiengen, in the foothills of the Black Forest.  In light of our troubles, and because we were under the impression that the new trailer would arrive in Donaueschingen on the 10th, we cut short our Rhine journey and instead of going to see the Schaffhausen Falls we headed straight up through the Black Forest to Donaueschingen.  Annoyingly, when we got to Donaueschingen the trailer wasn’t there, nor did it arrive the following day (Saturday).  The post office was closed on Sunday, and also on Monday which turned out to be a bank holiday, so, on Tuesday afternoon, after several nights in a rather expensive campsite and two fruitless visits to the post office that day alone, we were not best pleased to learn that the parcel had arrived in Donaueschingen that morning but had then, for some reason, been returned to sender.  Several frustrated phone calls later, by both Keith and a helpful lady in the post office, and we were told that the parcel ‘might’ arrive the next day (15th June)…if not then it will have to go all the way back to where it started in Poland before being re-sent to us.  If that is the case then we’ll carry on as best we can and make arrangements for it to be sent ahead to a campsite rather than a post office, but we’ll need to get an idea of how long the redirection might take so we can work out where we’re likely to have got to.  Looking on the bright side, there was a festival at the local Furstenberg brewery so we spent Saturday drinking beer, eating sausages and listening to wind bands in the afternoon and then a highly entertaining outfit in the evening who covered everything from Neil Diamond to Bob Marley via Tight Fit, Boney M, Cyndi Lauper and the Beach Boys.

Furstenberg Beerfest.

Furstenberg Beerfest.

We also caught up with labelling our photos and writing this blog, and enjoying the company of a diverse and interesting bunch at the campsite.  Herman from Bavaria and Al from Australia have been excellent company, and today we were delighted when Stephanie and Fabrice, who we met in Digoin, rolled into camp.