Forrest Gump that is.
I had another wonderful adventure this weekend. Yesterday I took the bike for what I intended to be a short cycle along the river to sunbathe and relax by the river. But once I got going there was no stopping me.
The Aare is the name of the river that flows through Bern, and it comes from Lake Thun, further up-stream from where I am. I followed the track along the river, mainly gravel paths for most of the way and a fair few folks out walking enjoying the lovely weather we are currently being blessed with.
I kept stumbling accross these great little finds, secluded spots, little beach heads, gatherings inside the woods with chairs from the trees around BBQ’s, each one more beautiful than the one before. I stopped at one of the beaches that caught my eye, took my shoes off and dipped my feet in the nice cool water. There was just me there, no one in the world around or to be heard, total bliss. I enjoy company, but I am also a very independant man and take great joy now and then to get away from everything and to get some ‘me’ time.
The water that flows down the river is so blue, clean and fresh it truly is unreal. You can imagine it being no different when it starts melting from the alps and heads down to the lakes and rivers it makes below. No picture or discription will really give true justice to how impressive this river is. you really need to see it for yourself to appreciate it. Think tropical island sea, yet with the ruggedness of a river in canada’s great wilderness, but not quite as chaotic. Peaceful.
A few family’s and friends where travelling down the river in hired inflatable boats, a lovely sight to see people enjoying themselves. Two swans came right up to me, conversing between themselves, found I had nothing to offer them or was no danger and pointed their heads to a near by inlet in the water which they headed to.
The river is surrounded by forrest on both sides, and hills and valleys are interspersed along the path, getting more challenging the further you travel.
After about one hour of cycling, the path was becoming narrower, with tree roots making the journey a rather bumpy one. the path would widen and then narrow very fast, intense concentration had to be given to the path to make sure I didn’t go over a root that was too big, the texture changed from gravel, to a more soft sandlike path, to a very stony one, all having different effects upon how the wheels would react to the surface.
I was travelling on a good mountain bike, British made of course, so was in safe hands on my travels.
One of the openings i came across was very striking, bare tree’s scattered the landscape, looking as though there had been a fire that had stripped most of the tree’s back to mere stumps rising from the ground. This particular section of the river seemed to be very popular with fathers and son’s having a weekend fishing expedition and a few young men surfing who reminded me of the wolf packs from twilight. The surfers would attach a long bunjee jumping type rope to a strong bridge or tree, let the water take them back and when the rope was at its most stretched, click it and they would zoom up the river at terrific speeds. A very popular sport here in Switzerland with the young people it seems.
I crossed the river to the path running parallel on the other side of the river. Big mistake. The terrain was extremely difficult and challenging, I had to carry the bike up long stairs, navigate through farmers fields full of cows with those wonderful big bells around there necks, cross rivers, and take extreme caution as soon as I could ‘put my foot down’. I say big mistake, only really because it was extremely challenging and I couldn’t find a trough to drink from anywhere. Surely i could of just drank from a waterfall? Don’t know why I didn’t actually …
Anyway, the flip side of all the struggles i went through, was the rewarding scenery i got to see. Climbing higher into the hills I could see the valleys stretching out for miles around, and the range of mountians with the Eiger and Young Frau, adorned in Snow, surrounded in mystery and steeped in history, drew ever closer. The fields I went through where an awesome green, full of life and colour.
I was drawing closer and closer to Lake Thun, but after an hour and a half of travelling thought, I still have to go back all this distance, better save some energy for the return leg!
I started looking out for a bridge that would take me across the now very wide river, to the easier going path on the other side. Eventually i found a nice big bridge which was such a relief to see. Still no water, took a mental note to always bring a bottle and money with me when ever I go out, even if i only intend on a short trip.
Crossing the river to the other side, an old man crossed in his second world war american style jeep. A really impressive sight and casting my mind back to that era in time, one that I have been fascinated with since child hood.
To my relief the return journey was much easier, only a few hills to push on up but they where nothing compared to what I had experienced on the outwards journey. My legs where really burning by now, they had been for quite some time, but once i’m going i’m fine and manage to push on for a good amount of time. It’s amazing what the human body can put itself through when it wants to achieve something.
Finally arriving home, over three hours after I had left, it was so good and to take a glass of cold water and lye down on the floor to stretch out.
In total I had cycled 42km, 26miles. A Marathon.
Also taking into account a rather full on ballet class in the morning and a two hour rehearsal, it’s fair to say I had a pretty full on yet productive saturday.
I was far to tired to join the dancers for drinks that evening, a nice healthy dinner, a warm bath to soak my muscles and a DVD in bed was as much energy as I could summon upon. Today I have relaxed the whole day, took a nice walk which ended up in the purchase of the best creation in recent years, a magnum almond, and other than a little spot of cleaning i’ve been out in the garden enjoying the last of this wonderful summer weather we still have here in Switzerland.
I hope by now it’s clear to you my reference to Forrest Gump. I’m sure most of you will of seen the film, one of my all time favourites starring Tom Hanks. If you haven’t, there’s this great part where Hanks/Gump spontaneously starts off on a jog which goes on for months and months travelling to the most incredible places and with no real purpose or sense of going somewhere. I may not of cycled for that amount of time, but my journey, exploration, adventure, was in the same spirit as that and was incredibly liberating and rewarding for me.
Until the next adventure my friends …