Biking round Lake Zug

So the nice people from the moving company this friday brought -- among many other useful things, such as furniture and crockery -- my bicycle. They almost didn't make it across the border, because the customs officer there (which is pretty unusual, the moving company man told me) suddenly decided the customs form, painstakingly filled out by yours truly, was inadequate. You see, I have scanned and emailed the scan of the filled-in form, whereas the customs official desired the original, non-scanned form. And only with the promise of the original version of this very important form mailed to him by monday, not a day later! was he satisfied. It seems bureaucracy in Switzerland shares a lot with the kind I know from Austria. But I digress.

I missed riding my bike the last few weeks, so I was eager to go on a little trip. At first I only planned for a quick ride up the hill, around the neighbourhood or so. Though on http://bikemap.net, I found a route round the lake, with a length of only 38km --  I would have estimated much higher. 38km I can manage in an afternoon, even as badly out of shape as I am. So I rummaged through the moving boxes till I found my helmet, packed my camera and some snacks, and got on the bike.

From where I live a bike track along a creek leads down to the lake. I crossed the railway line at Chollermueli and went right along the Seeweg, passing Schloss St Andreas and the park following it. This route seems to be pretty popular with cyclists -- I've been passed quite a few times by younger or older riders in spiffy biking dresses.

The first 12km or so were pleasantry itself. Small but well-kept tracks for bicyclists and pedestrians wind through green hills, with blossoming fruit trees on their sides and the lake shimmering in the distance. From time to time a wood-shingled cottage would line the way, complete with cows and bells and good-looking and business-savvy young swiss people (really -- when I was taking a break a somewhat grungy young gentleman walked by, talking on his cell phone about contracts and money transfers that needed to be made, in a very laid-back way). It was a bit of an alpine kitschfest.

The next few kilometres were dominated by a motorway, some industrial buildings, garages, and shopping centers; kind of a reality check really. Among them the first swiss Lidl and Aldi I saw (and which I dutifully sampled). Half a kilometre further I crossed the motorway and again went for the lake. The swiss really are lucky with their little hills and mountains -- those ugly motorways and industry buildings (and nuclear plants too I guess) get hidden pretty well behind those. A few hundred meters and you don't see a thing, and barely hear them.

I didn't visit the proverbial "Hohle Gasse" which is situated there, and through which Mr Gessler had to go, only to be shot by Mr Tell, thereby laying the foundations for the Confoederation Helvetica. I was nervous of running late, as I didn't unpack my lights and wanted to make it back during daylight.

Along the way I had seen several mobile warning signs, simply proclaiming "Militär" on one and "militaire" on the other side. Some time later in Immensee I did indeed see several jolly middle-aged green clad guys standing on the village square, talking to passers-by, drinking, and generally enjoying themselves. If it weren't for the green outfits, I would've thought it a country fair. I think it's very sensible to warn people when the military is about -- the Austrian army should definitly adopt this custom.

I went round the southern end of Lake Zug, and up to Zug on the eastern side. The eastern side is a bit more crowded. From the lake a steep incline goes up to the woods, and the road and the railway track are crammed in between. This part is nicknamed "Zuger Riviera" and it indeed has a chic touch. I went by one "Auto-Boutique" with several beautiful cars on display. I could inform myself that you can get a beautiful Triumph oldtimer for only 35.000 CHF, and a Ferrari for as low as 84.000 CHF (probably because it was blue). Unfortunately I had to share the road with a lot of motorcyclists of the I-can-reach-the-speed-limit-in-under-one-second variety. Not that many of them seemed to mind the speed limit much. It's not that I don't sympathize... but well, it's still noisy, sympathy or no sympathy.

I reach the southern end of Zug soon after. There's a fair on the pier (with green-clad men participating), but I feel a bit tired and make for home. The whole trip took me about 3h45, which makes this route quite suitable as an afternoon trip I guess.

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