Basel to Daschen - so much rain!

Today set a new, short lived, personal achievement of being the 'wettest ever day on a bike'. It was raining when I left for the airport to collect my bike and it pretty much stayed that way until after checking in to the youth hostel in Daschen.

I was made to lament the loss of my trusty Altura cycling jacket, as the stand-in I found in Frieberg yesterday comprehensively failed to live up to it's drunken '100% Waterproof' boast!

It was gone one o'clock by the time I got out of the airport with my bike, so I was glad today was due to be a short one. It was a mild day, with little wind to speak of and the hastily rearranged route used main roads mostly, so progress was at a reasonable pace, particularly as the near constant rain afforded few photo opportunities.

For anyone interested in the route the profile for today looks fairly flat, as indeed it was, mostly, but be aware that the large vertical scale (set to encompass the whole tour including the alpine passes) disguises a couple of short sharp shock type climbs. I found the 200mtr at 8% ascent just before Erzingen quite tiring.

The lack of photo opportunities was a disappointment, especially upon reaching Rheinfall at the end of the day. Even in the pouring rain the largest waterfall in Europe is a spectacular sight, but none of my rain soaked photographs manage to convey this, so here is a link to a site that does a better job.

Accommodation for the night was the Youth Hostel in Daschen, which is actually located in Schloss Laufen overlooking the falls.

Schloss Laufen

In this particular case 'overlook' is an important verb! Access to the Schloss involves a rapid 3KM descent down to river level, a footbridge crossing, then a 50Mtr climb on loose gravel path that starts off at 8% but quickly rises to a 25% incline.

Now, there is no possible combination of weather conditions and road surface that is going allow me to attempt a such climb, but trying to push a loaded touring bike up a soaking wet loose gravel path of this order of gradient, while wearing rain-proof overshoes, isn't for the feint hearted either!

However, the schloss is worth the effort because the views over Rheinfall are quite spectacular, particularly when lit up after dark. The fact that Youth Hostel is actually part of the Schloss, complete with antique furniture and creaky wooden floors adds to the experience considerably. You can also eat at the excellent Schloss Laufen restaurant next door (5% discount for hostel residents), its not cheap but, considering the quality of the food, it isn't that expensive either!

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Day:1 of 4
Date:17 September 2006
Distance:109 KM
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