Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 3, Monday - "Automowers" and Gas Station Bistros

I had a long winter's nap from 8:30 pm until 6:30 am. There's nothing like 10 hours sleep to beat the jet lag. We had breakfast at 7:00 - an AMAZING breakfast (it should have been at 25 CHF per person!).

I had croissant, danish, apricot preserves, raw honey, orange and passion fruit juice, eggs, yogurt, fresh fruit, muesli and coffee. By 9:00 we were off on the bikes!

We thought it might be hard to navigate ot of town. But, it was very easy to get to Rumlang and then Oberglatt, which had a cool, modern bell tower on the church. Then, we picked up Swiss national bike route 29, which was easy to follow.  It was cold in the morning, but the sun peeked out here and there.

We intersected route 60 and joined that north-westward. The off-road (meaning paved, but separated from the cars) cycling infrastructure was amazing. We only had a couple blind crossings at roundabouts, but started to get used to it.

Lunch was in Koblenz (the Swiss version), where we stopped at a pizza/pasta place. We had bruschetta and pesto pasta - yum! We joined route 2 heading directly west and almost completely off the road and rambled through the rolling mustard fields and vineyards. We enjoyed several varieties of lilacs in bloom - all with their sweet fragrance. We also enjoyed the regular billboards advertising the "Automower". Apparently, it is like a Roomba for your lawn. Seems like there might be a market for that here in the USA, no? Of course, it might supplant the driving mower market, which is dominated by John Deere.

We decided Rhinefelden was about far enough for the day (nearing 100k, or 60 miles). We tried a hotel right on the Rhine in a cute town center. It was 195 Euro, so we decided to push on. In a small suburb, Herten, we found a business/industrial hotel for 90 Euro and decided to call it a day (as rain was starting to fall lightly). We only had 23 Euro in cash that I had scammed off my dad before we left. And, we weren't sure what the dining scene or ATM scene was within walking distance. And, the hotel restaurant was not open. So, we hit the "Bistro" attached to the gas station next to the hotel. We were just hoping we could A) purchase dinner for less than 23 Euro, or B) pay with credit card. It turned out A was the only option. So, we had to be strategic. We both had the baked lasagne at 5.70 each and a small beer at 2.30 each, meaning we came in just below our Euro threshold - probably could have had a salad, too. Phew! And, much to my surprise, the gas station bistro wasn't all that bad...the lasagne was, in fact, tasty with 60+ miles in my legs.

We took a short walk after dinner and located the ATM machine in town, at which point we loaded up on enough cash to not put ourselves in that situation again. Upon returning to the hotel, we resisted the urge to buy WeiB Wein or Rot Wein from the vending machine near our room. 

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