Jerry’s Tour of the Alps 2013 – Monday July 29th

Leuk — Oberwald — Bern — Luzern — Altdorf — Wassen (train/bus 400 km)


This day did NOT begin with sunshine! The rain was pouring down so heavily that I woke up earlier than usual, but tried and sleep on hoping things would get better. Eventually I went up to have a long breakfast to see if the rain somehow would stop, but there were no hope this day for nicer weather. Eventually I packed my bicycle clothes down and decided to take the train over the Furkapass to Andermatt to get out of this valley and get a good start the next day unless I could cycle some in the evening.

Even getting down to the train station was not a prospect I was looking forward too, but guess I am always very lucky in ways and got a free ride by one of the workers at the hotel in a van down to the station. There I bought an expensive ticket for Andermatt – trains are nice in Switzerland, but also not very cheap (and the bicycle cost some extra). At least one could take a bicycle with you here, contrary to the damned train services in Sweden (hated by all).

Now this 4.5 hours train ride to Andermatt would turn out to be quite a bit longer than expected. On the way out of Brig, when I started to like the idea of getting over the Furkapass with train in this bad weather, it was announced that unfortunately the train would end in Oberwald as the railway lines had been flooded on the other side of the Furkapass. I told the lady informing me about the situation on the train that I would go to Oberwald to see if there would be a change to the situation and that maybe I could wait there for a while. She suggested I could take the bicycle over, which did not really impress me as the whole idea with taking the train was to avoid the horrible weather. Later she came back telling me that I could not hope to take the bicycle either as the road also had been blocked by rock falls (she was not clear on the cause then). Here is a photo on the way to Oberwald with the train. The water was VERY high in the river and it was just passable up to Oberwald really.

Altdorf - Tell denkmal

As it was in the middle of the day I arrived at Oberwald, I did not really want to go around there looking for a hotel for the night and it was still raining a lot (it stopped briefly in Brig). Just like a few other lost people I went into the train station to find out if anyone else knew something more about the prospects for another train over the pass this day. There were some talk about a bus over Nufenenpass, but somehow it seemed like even that was perhaps not going. I let the more busy tourists ask first. When I got to talk to one of the busy men there, he sort of decided for me that I should take the next train back to Brig and go around Switzerland with several changes of trains and buses to get to Andermatt and he gave me an “Umwegbillett” where he wrote a long story on the back side.

This little detour ride would make me arrive in Andermatt around 20 pm in the evening. All right, the options did not seem very good, so why not explore the Swiss infrastructure for a day for no extra cost. It turned out to be a lot of train riding for the price I paid (the ticket(s) would likely have costed me about € 250 or more if I should have paid for it all). First I went to Bern and then changed for Luzern. So far so good even if there were a few raised eyebrows for my Umwegbillett. However, when I was changing for a nice bus in Luzern, the driver was not all that convinced about my ticket validity, but then I showed him the long story on the back and that somehow convinced him it was all fine, so good he took the time to write the story down there! In Altdorf I had to change for the local bus up to Andermatt. In Altdorf by the bus station is the famous Willem Tell denkmal in the photo here.

After a few stations suddenly the lady working on the Brig-Oberwald train jumped aboard – I wonder how she got there, but we both got back the same time. She had told me when I was not so happy about not getting over the Furkapass, that maybe she also needed to get over there this day, and she apparently lived up here. I said hello and she went off again in a small village on the way up. I learned that the road had been cleared later in the day and that even trains had started to go again (she were talking with the nice bus driver). Likely I would not have gotten to Andermatt much earlier though anyway. In Wassen I realised that the hotels would likely be more expensive in Andermatt than in Wassen, so just as the bus driver was starting I asked to get off and took into a good hotel there at a better price (for sure) than in Andermatt. I had something to eat at one of the few restaurants. The recommended one by the biggest hotel seemed to have unfriendly personell, so I went to the other more modern looking, which was ok. I got a rest day in the end against my will.