Europe Bike Trip – Part 5 – Flims, Switzerland to Haslach, Germany

A spectacular day’s riding today, in perfect weather and through some of the finest scenery. We had a nice hotel breakfast and then headed off eastwards across Graubünden, stopping initially to do a quick tour around Davos (the highest town in Europe), where I came to work the winter season at the Kongress Hotel in late 1989/early 1990. I hadn’t been back since, and although much of the town and shops remain as they were 20 years ago, there has been a definite growth in the town and the number of shops and buildings in general has increased. It’s a very pretty town as towns go, situated in the heart of the largest ski resort in Switzerland, and hosts the World Economic Forum every year.

Once out of Davos, we headed up to the Flüela pass, which is a mountain pass, connecting Davos to Susch. At 2383m in altitude, it’s high above the tree line and is clearly an attraction for bikers of the area and further afield. We absolutely loved the road and had time allowed, we’d have probably turned back and ridden the road a couple more times.

Once down the other side of the Flüela pass, we headed towards the Austrian boarder, calling at Vulpera, where I worked the summer season of 1990 at the Schweizerhof hotel. We took the opportunity to grab a coffee and I had a long chat with the owner of the shop, whose own story was pretty incredible. He swam across the Danube in August, 1989 to escape the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), two months before the Wall came down. His father had been a Stasi officer and had informed on his own son for ‘crimes against the state’. He had been imprisoned there as an opponent of the regime. He was clearly happy to be able to talk to someone about the GDR and said that he had never returned since fleeing and settling down to start a family in Switzerland. It sounded like he didn’t really want to see how the place had changed since then and wanted to remember it for how it was – despite all that had happened to him. It struck me that despite all the negative experience that he had, he didn’t want to see the place he grew up transformed beyond his own recognition.

For the remainder of the day, we rode across the border into Austria, across Austria in Germany and then found a campsite in Haslach, Bavaria, where we spent a rainy night under canvas… well, nylon actually.

Distance: 193 miles
Route: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=http:%2F%2Fwww.johnchivers.com%2Fkml%2F2010-09-12.kml&sll=47.958701,4.693685&sspn=10.685695,19.753418&ie=UTF8&z=7