Day 8, 4 6 2014, Mariastein to St Ursanne


I had wondered whether the hotel price last night was a rip off.  This virtually never happens, but I hoped it had.  It turns out that SF160 = A$200 is what you can expect to pay in Switzerland for a pretty ordinary, but clean and comfortable two-star hotel room.  So last night, unfortunately, we were not ripped off.

Combined with high prices for everything else means A$300 per day.  It is hard to understand the economy when better service is available a few miles away in Germany for around A$150 per day.

We have had stunningly good riding weather on this trip so far, with mornings around 15C, rising to around 22C in the afternoon.  There has been some overcast but that is as good as it gets, until today. It is such a contrast with our trip last year, for instance, this day.

We are in the hills.  The morning ride was a substantial uphill ride, but not particularly steep, so quite comfortable.  This took us to a forest trail which wound along a ridge line through mixed deciduous and conifer forest, breaking into meadows grazed by brown cows, in the Swiss fashion. 

All the cows have cowbells that provide the iconic background sound in the Swiss hills.  We have seen a number of other touring cyclists on this route, which is extremely well sign-posted.  This is in contrast to the Black Forest where we saw absolutely no touring cyclists.


We had bits of drizzle in the morning, and were warned by some other bike tourists that the weather this afternoon would degenerate into substantial rain, which would clear to good weather for the next few days.

We got a bit chilled on the big descent (about 400m vertical) in the drizzle into St Ursanne, and decided to bail out.  The next section is a long climb of about 600m vertical.  I hope we have got over having to prove something in these conditions and I am very proud that we used our common sense.  It hasn’t always happened. The lady in the information office was a bit horrified that we would consider riding on, and as we looked outside the drizzle turned to soaking rain.

St Ursanne is on the Doubs River.  The towns on this upper end of the river are dramatic and maintain much of their medieval heritage and charm. 

So we wandered around the old town and that was that.


Roz says: St Ursanne is famous for being THE medieval town on the Doubs but whatever!  It is very medieval, a walled in community with wobbly architecture!! The Black Forest was good preparation for the 4km of 10 to 16%, the road surface made it too easy!!!!  NOT.  The cow bells were charming today, real bells. 

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