[ blog » 2020 » 08_Tour-Alps ]d12: Bern to Brunnen (by Philipp Gesang, location: Brunnen campsite, Schwyz)


Another rainy night had turned the lower part of the campsite into one big puddle of mud so on top of what it usually takes to get started in the morning I had to clean up some of my gear. Before I left I installed the brake pads I bought in Meiringen yesterday; the difference in pull gave me a huge confidence boost negotiating the busy bike paths of Bern, capital of Switzerland.

What a pretty capital it is! I know, coming from a German that doesn’t necessarily mean much as any town will compare favorably to Berlin. But Berne really stands out with its near perfect utilization of that rock surrounded by the half loop of the Aare river. Everything is neat and tidy in the city center, including the cobblestones. I concluded the sightseeing with the Swiss parliament building, the Bundeshaus, and plotted a course for Luzern over those excellent bike paths.

Bike Tourer’s Guide to Cheese, Section 56: Emmentaler

There is no trivial direct route between Bern and Luzern so one is faced with a choice between the hillier southern route and the somewhat flatter northern route which follows the motorway to some extent. I opted for the latter, not because I expected it to be easier but because the cheese fiend in me jumped at the opportunity to finally visit the valley of the Emme river, namesake of the Emmentaler.

Apart from the culinary connection it turned out a great decision as the route consists of mostly quiet country roads that pass some spectacular sights, like the pilgrimage church on an exposed crag at Werthenstein.


Luzern I had longed to visit even more than Bern. With its iconic bridges over the Emme and the hilltop castle it has the fame of an architectural marvel, a fame it absolutely did justice in person. I could have spent hours just rolling through that core area near the mouth of the river.

However I wanted to catch the 16:20 ferry connection at Beckenried so I rolled on following the south bank of the lake. With the ferry I crossed from the canton of Nidwalden into Schwyz where I actually found what has got to be the cheapest campsite in Switzerland, they asked for a meagre 13.30 Franken for the night! This day has been full of marvels.


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