Cusco – Milano – Zurich: A long way home

After a very interesting time in South America, we had a long journey home ahead of us. First we drove with two taxis to the airport (two because of the bikes). Transport and check-in was painless. However, Cusco isn’t an international airport and we therefor we would have to do a second check-in in Lima later in the day. The flight left Cusco on time and we could enjoy Cusco and the Valle Sagrado from the air.

Cusco from aboveIn Lima we had to wait till the check-in got opened for our flight. This time it wasn’t painless because the security officer had the impression, that there was too much pressure in the tubes of our bikes. We therefor had to reopen our bicycle cardboard boxes and reduce the pressures. I didn’t really understand how that could be a problem if we had started our journey already at 3’400m and the pressure in the airplane therefor would be higher than in Cusco. However, from my experience it doesn’t make sense to discuss with security officers ;-).

The flight through the night was again smooth and brought us to Madrid in Spain. After some waiting, we continued over the Spanish mainland,

Spainacross the Mediterranean Sea and finally landed in Milano in Italy. There were two reason that we flew to Milano: First it’s close to the place where the parents of Susanna live (Ticino) and second we weren’t already at home and I could continue to cycle home :-).

But first we had to wait a bit till the boxes with the bicycles and also the luggage of Susanna also made it to Milano. This took another 36 hours. However, thanks to the home delivery of the delayed luggage, we also had an easier journey to Ticino.

Finally everything arrived and I (Susanna stayed in Ticino) could start cycling towards north. I mainly followed the
Nord-South route (Route 3) of Schweiz Mobil, which is a pretty well marked cycling route across the alps.

The first part took me from Balerna (near Mendrisio) along Lake Lugano via Morcote to Agno and further across the Monte Ceneri pass to Biasca in the Leventina valley.

Piano di Magadino - Monte CeneriHowever, the plan for this day was to continue till the small village of Rodi-Fiesso, where I had reserved a bed for the night. Unfortunately I had to accept that even after cycling for three months that was too much. Therefor I took in Biasca the train till Faido. That only saved me around 22km of cycling distance but also 450m of climbing. Even with taking the train I cycled that day more than 100km till I finally arrived pretty tired in Rodi-Fiesso just before the sunset.

River Ticino near Rodi-FiessoSo far we were very lucky with the weather during our journey with only one day of rain. Also during my first day of cycling in Switzerland it stayed that way. However, that finally changed. The day started again with some sun in Rodi-Fiesso.

Rodi-FiessoAfterwards the clouds moved in and it started to rain. However, the weather forecast was talking about a deluge. Luckily that didn’t happen :-). Luckily also for the athletes of the Gigathlon, which were cycling and running the same day in the area. They went in Airolo towards the Nufenen and Furka pass. My destination was another pass: The Gotthard via Tremola. This was enough exhausting for me…

Airolo - Climb to Gotthard passVia countless switchbacks it went slowly uphill.

AiroloI finally reached at 2’106m the summit of the Gotthard pass. Also the sun got visible for a short time. Otherwise it was still a bit like winter.

GotthardpassWith reaching the pass, the exhausting part was over but I still had to cycle another 60km that day. Luckily mostly downhill. First down to Andermatt and further through the Schöllenen gorge and the Reuss valley down to Erstfeld. Thanks to all the rain of the last few weeks everything was green and also the waterfalls were great.

Fellibach fall near GurtnellenThe last part of that day brought me across the Axen street

Axen street to Sisikon, which I again reached just before sunset.

SisikonThe next day started with a lot of sun.

SisikonHowevere, it was soon over with that lovely weather unfortunately.

View towards BrunnenIn Brunnen I got welcomed by rain. And that wouldn’t change anymore the next two days. Via Küssnacht I cycled along mount Rigi to Ebikon near Lucerne (where my sister and family waited with their bikes). The next day I continued via Rotkreuz to Zug, where I completely got soaked by the rain.

Zug in the rainNeverthless, to give up wasn’t an option. Luckily the sun came out once in a while and I continued along the brownish river Sihl till Zurich,

Adliswilwhere I met a familiar person:

Susanna in ZürichMy girlfriend Susanna. She took the train from Ticino and was by coincidence at the same time in Zurich as I :-).

And so we cycled the last few kilometers back home together.

Susanna and StefanAfter in total 2’761km and 23’605m difference in altitude by bicycle (and much more by and especially plane), countless adventures and many nice encounters, our journey came to an end unfortunately.

Route South AmericaWe both were and still are very grateful, that we finished our journey without any major problem. A big thank you goes to all of you, which supported us and which traveled with us! We hope that you had as much fun as we had :-).
All the best from Switzerland,

Stefan and Susanna

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