Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Appenzell and Austria

I had been stressed about my journey to Appenzell. Switzerland. I had been anxious that my flight from Salt Lake to Amsterdam might be delayed - as has happened twice in my last two trips to Europe - and that this delay might cause me to miss my connecting flight to Zurich. 

Then I had been worried that my checked bags - including my bike - might go astray and not make it to Zurich, thus potentially causing me to maybe have to sit out the first couple of days of the cycling tour I've come here for. One of my bags had gone AWOL for several days upon my return from my last bike trip.

And then I had been stressed about whether or not or how I'd be able to reassemble my bike upon arrival. On two previous bike tours with Mark, he was always the one who disassembled and packed our bikes and reassembled them upon arrival in Europe - while I sipped cocktails by the pool. (jk. I didn't sip cocktails by the pool.) After all, this is how my bike looked just before I closed the lid on my bike box last week back in Salt Lake:

As it turned out, my flight to Amsterdam not only wasn't late, it arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I made it to my Zurich connection in plenty of time, and my bag and my bike arrived just fine. But my journey was not yet over. I then joined three other tour mates in taking a train from Zurich airport to the eastern Switzerland town of St. Gallen, at which point we transferred all our stuff to yet another train that would take us to our destination: Appenzell. 

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and I took several pictures from an open window in our car on the way from St. Gallen to Appenzell:

Reassembling my bike turned out to go a lot easier than expected thanks to the assistance of Glenn Erickson, the owner of Erickson Cycle Tours. From that point, I was able to relax, see a little bit of Appenzell, and visit with old friends from previous tours and meet some of the new people on this one.

I've managed to have three different rosés since arriving here: a
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a Bardolino, and a Pinot Noir rosé
made, surprisingly, here in eastern Switzerland

Late afternoon sun on the stream flowing through Appenzell

The bell tower right across the street from our hotel, which serenades
us every quarter hour, with full tolls on the hour, 24/7, topped off with
a full-fledged invasion-alert peal at 6:30 every morning.

Appenzell has its very own Coke Zero product 

This morning, a group of five of us - who had all ridden together on two previous tours - set out from our hotel shortly after 8:00 to get in a ride to Feldkirch, Austria and back before expected rain arrived in early afternoon. It was a beautiful ride that offered panoramic views of the Rhine River valley and a special experience that I'll write about in a subsequent post.

Looking south over the Rhein River valley. The peaks in the distance are where we are headed tomorrow.

The gang

Feldkirch, Austria

This morning's 36-mile ride offered a good stretch of the legs before we hit the road - and some more serious climbing - tomorrow. It's been a good day. A beautiful day. I'm grateful to be here.

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