15-18 August: Lurking around the outskirts of Zurich

Author: Mr A

Location: Greifensee and Zürich, Switzerland

While Mrs A was off getting her injections in London, I amused myself lurking around the outskirts of Zurich. I had three days to myself, always exciting when you haven’t been on your own for 6 weeks! So I set about exploring on two wheels (now there’s a surprise) the area around Greifensee, a lake to the east of Zurich, where we had found a nice little family owned campsite.

Lake Greifensee – finally spot the mountains after the cloud lifts

I rode into Zurich a couple of times and explored the eastern and western lakeshore, then up the river that flows though the middle of the city.

Zurich is a very picturesque city

Once again I felt so comfortable riding around, along with hundreds of other cyclists, with cars respectfully keeping their distance. I’m just about to clock up 2,000 kilometers (1,245 miles) on this bike and haven’t had one incident where I felt threatened by a car drivers behaviour. In Australia I’d be lucky to go down the local shops and back without some hoon cutting me up, pulling out in front or nearly brushing my elbow. There is just a different attitude here from drivers, not just to bikes but all other road users. Drivers thoughtfully pause to let you out from a side road, pull to the slower lane rather than hogging the fast lane, and generally behave a lot more thoughtfully. The accident rates for road users bear testament to how this reflects in fewer fatalities. Switzerland has one of the lowest vehicle mortality rates in the world (with the UK and Denmark leading the charge). Australia is interestingly on a par with Italy!

Zurich had few surprises as a city, though very unexpected were the hundreds of people floating down the CBD centric river clutching little flotation devices! The water was actually very clear and clean looking for the city centre – I was almost tempted until I toe tested the temperature. Yikes these Swiss are hardy folks!

Imagine people doing this down the River Thames?!
Zurich also has a surprising amount of green space

I had one day of perfect blue skies, on Sunday. It seemed half of Switzerland were out on their bikes riding around the lake side cycle paths of Greifensee.

It was once again lovely to see so many families out getting some exercise together without using a car. In fact lake side access for cars is almost non-existent, the only way to get there is by bike or a longish walk.

Clean air and peaceful – makes a change from a car park full of motor vehicles
Great to see so many bikes in use

It completely transforms the character of the area, making it quieter, cleaner and safer. People were calling out to one another and stopping for a chat, hard to do in a car. There were several groups of young people out cooking up a BBQ with friends, with a few beers on the go, but no gangs of drunken yobs staggering around either. Just all very clean Swiss family friendly fun.

Perfect blue skies, a pleasure to be riding around the local lake

Mrs A turned up late last night, just before another massive storm rumbled around the encircling hills and dumped yet more rain. But no complaints from us on that score, we are enjoying the cooler weather, and everywhere just looks so fresh and green.

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