Monday, August 15, 2011

Biking, Brats and Beer

Yesterday I biked toward Ostburg (hoping the bakery would be open on a Sunday but it wasn’t) and ended up heading past the Paul Klee center to the small town of Stettlen.  There I picked up (accidentally of course) a mountain bike route.  I hadn’t taken any of the mountain bike routes and since I now have my trusty steed with 21 gears I decided to go for it.

It started out as just an amble through the country, complete with a new kind of cow...

And I thought the Swiss only had grass-fed cows!
but soon I found myself on a STEEP gravel hill going through the woods.  Not even my granny gear helped me up that hill, but near the top I got passed by other mountain bikers that rode all the way.  And one was pulling a kid carrier with a sleeping kid inside.  Good thing I don’t shame easily – but I did try harder on the hills after that!  I did get breaks taking pictures of interesting garden art.

This is for George Wittke!
I see a lot of painted wooden kid figures attached to people's fences.  I don't know if they are reminders for people to drive more slowly, or are just colorful figures.  This one was homemade and much more creative than the usual cut-out figures.

This darling girl marked someone's driveway
The trail kept going uphill, and more uphill, and eventually topped out at the small town of Mänziwillegg.  There was a restaurant at the top and I had been biking two hours, but I decided to just eat my own lunch a little bit down the hill where the wind wasn’t so strong.  This is some of the view as I finally started to go down, down, down!

High mountains are hidden in the background of this lovely farm scene
When I got to the bottom of the first big hill, my route had disappeared down a different street in the town of Wikartswil and it looked like I was on a part of the Herzroute that I hadn’t been on yet.  (These regional routes are long and so I can see different bits of them on different rides.)  I talked to two other bikers that had a map and realized I really need to buy one.  Darrell was going to print out pdf’s for me of each route, but the map shows all the criss-crossing trails and all the small towns so nicely.  Just because I've been lucky finding routes so far, doesn't mean it will continue!

But this day I was super lucky.  I was just looking for a place to eat my lunch and saw some large tents that I had seen earlier from the other side of the hill.  Miraculously, I had wandered back towards my original route heading back to Bern, and I got to join in with the local celebration.

The jumping kids at the festival.
 To celebrate, I ditched my cheese sandwich I had packed, and bought a bratwurst mit kartoffsalat (potato salad) and a beer for lunch.  I'm afraid I have discovered why all my biking does not result in the loss of my "muffin top"!

My muffin top and I enjoy this lunch!
Coming down was very fast and I was home in no time!

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