9 1/2 days in Zurich

While waiting for my new bicycle frame to arrive in Switzerland I busied myself getting to know Zurich.

Walking her busy streets occupied most of my time and frankly there are worse purgatories than lapping lake Zurich for the fifth time.

I think that coot is following me

However it was the warmth and hospitality of my hosts that ensured I enjoyed my time in Zurich.

First this meant a few days with my friend Angie who introduced me to the trendy face of the city from her airy apartment in District 4. From this base I got to see Langstrasse in all its smutty glory and was very well looked after. However, realising that I had intruded on her life for four days (and with sayings about fish and house guests ringing in my ears) I set about finding new lodgings from which to continue my wait.

An SOS sent over the warmshowers.org network led me to the door of Nadine and Ivan, two good Samaritans.

Their warm and friendly flat in District 5 nestled in the newly gentrified Viadukt area was a great place to while away the weekend. My hosts were in the midst of planning their own cycling adventure, departing in October and heading for Singapore, so it was great to chat about techniques and tips that I now felt almost qualified to have an opinion on.

 Eating the 'best bratwurst in Zurich' with nadine and Ivan.

I declined to join my hosts in a half marathon preferring instead to work out my mounting frustration at the slow speed of logistical dispatch by hitting the streets for more day long walks.

 Looking back across the Limmat at Zurich's old town

Zurich's many park offered an opportunity to sit in the shade and read a book. A pass time I am fast becoming an expert in.

A very classy picnic 

With the sun out and my feet barking it was nice to be able to dive into the river and enjoy a swim. If only the Thames were this clean and useable!

Got to watch out for that current though.

Having again attained the status of bad fish after three very pleasant days with my Germano-Ecuadorian hosts I relocated, with a heavy heart, further north towrds Oerlikon - a quieter more family orientated face of Zurich was revealed.

My host Christina helped alleviate my increasingly itchy feet with some trips to Winterthur (a pretty post-industrial city 20k north of Zurich)

Looks like dinner time

Unexpected rollerblade invasion

Christina invited me to a barbecue that Heidi, a friend of her's, was holding. This remarkable woman had cycled home pregnant from Nepal reaching Rome at nine months before deciding make a small concession to the world by getting a train from there back to Zurich.

A really fun eclectic group including Heidi the inspirational world cyclist, Gunter a man who cycled from Switzerland to London for Euro 96, a professional organist, Christina my host, Martin a friendly sustainable supply chain consultant and last but not least an eccentric bicycle collector who after a few glasses of schnapps proceeded to serenade us:

With an unexpected rendition of something incomprehensible on the Bulgarian bagpipes.

With the 1st of July having come and gone I was treated to a birthday massage curtesy of a cheque from my very generous sister.

Emma, an English sports masseuse, managed to squeeze me in for an early morning appointment and proceeded to spend the next hour giving my legs a thorough working over. Relaxing this was not but I am assured it was a no pain no gain situation as I singularly failed to retain a stiff upper lip.

On newly wobbly legs it was time to bow out of the Swiss metropolis and get back on the saddle.

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