Day 4: Innertkirchen to Hospental (64km, 2202m)

It poured and poured all night, but the morning greeted us with sunshine and a bit of hopeful blue sky. We ate a good breakfast and hurried down to the intersection with arrows beckoning us towards Grimselpass (2165m).

Grimsel is probably the least pretty of the Swiss passes, but the road is well engineered and it has a number of facilities. We stopped at Guttannen to pick up bananas and chocolate, touring staples, and to fill up our water-bottles. After the second detour around a tunnel, we elected without discussing the matter to ride separately. I was feeling strong that day, and pushed hard up the hill, arriving at the summit lake, soon to be followed by Mike. We found a cafe, and I proceeded to order soup and bread to fortify against the cold.

It took a few minutes for the others to arrive, but arrive they did, all putting on clothing (though not without incident: a lady motorcyclist gave Roberto a wolf-whistle as he put on his leg warmers) as soon as they stopped and ordering soup. One of the most impressive things about the Grimsel summit is that from the top, you can see the Furka summit (2431m), even higher than the 2 hour climb you had just accomplished. The descent down to Gletsch was as thrilling as ever, and at the bottom I stripped down once again to begin the climb up Furka.

I remembered this section of Furka to be easy going from the last tour of the alps, but I had not realized that I had tackled Furka at that time after 2 weeks of touring the French alps, and so quickly bogged down on this climb. At Hotel Belvedere, we stopped for pictures of the Rhone glacier and a lunch of Spaghetti Bolognese, and then proceeded up the final, gentle section of Furka, followed by a rapid and twisty descent down to Realp (1538m), where the expected headwind greeted us, along with a little drizzle.

There was a ton of construction in Hospental (1452m), forcing us to detour around it to get to the town center, where the old Jobst standby, Hotel Rossli was closed due to the contruction, so we picked Hotel Pension Egg instead that was close by, getting a big 4-bed room on the top floor of the hotel for around 120 CHF. Dinner was at the only open restuarant in town, and was very tasty.

That night, our friend Stefan called us and gave us an update on the weather. It was going to be cold and possibly rainy tomorrow, but the weather after that would be better. Given the weather, we elected to head for Italy as soon as possible rather than try more high passes in Switzerland.

I slept well that night, but Roberto found the room too warm for his liking.

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