The people you meet
Today is National Swiss Day - but I have been warned not to expect anything like Australia Day.
In Australia we celebrate with street stalls, live music, beach parties, free BBQs, boat races, and all sorts of freebie activities organised by the city.
Most of the population heads down to Sydney Harbour or Darling Harbour or Bondi Beach where just about everyone will be dressed in green and gold or red white and blue with matching coloured hair spray and tattoos. That evening they'll be massive fireworks right the way down the harbour and off the bridge.
Six years ago we were in Paris for Bastille Day and quite frankly - it was quite a lame effort. So I reckon Switzerland will be somewhere in the middle.
Sabine and I had one final breakfast together and I very reluctantly left Bern and the wonderful hospitality I have enjoyed.
I did a quick bolt, 125kms down the autobarn and, as usual, got lost in Zurich. I knew basically where the campground was - I just needed to find the lake. It's a pretty big lake and quite hard to miss, but I still managed to go in circles for a while.
I eventually pulled into a servo and got some real directions and then I was back on track in no time.
The campground was quite crowded but the tent sites were just metres from the water's edge and it looked like it was going to be fun. Another motorcyclist pulled up minutes after me and she introduced herself as Elles from the Netherlands. We set up our tents and then retired to the bar for a well earned drink - her, beer, me, apple juice.
Elles is also on a solo journey for the next three weeks heading south to Croatia through the Dolomites. I'm rather jealous because this is now the second time I've been to Europe and have not been able to fit Croatia into my plans.
We headed off into Zurich to see if anything was happening in the city. It was very hot and ended up being a very long walk in the sun. By the time we reached the centre, the yodellers and bell-ringers were just packing up. I'm sure it was a great show and there were tons of people dressed in traditional costumes. [We played yodelling music at mum's funeral so it's probably for the best that I missed it.]
We compensated for the lack of entertainment with food - German sausage and mustard followed by ice-cream.
We decided not to walk the 5 kilometres back to the campsite and caught a bus instead. Oh my aching feet! We cooled off in the lake which, in hindsight, should have happened before we headed off for a walk in the sun.
Later that evening we went up to the local student hang-out and had a bite to eat and listened to some music, then watched some half-hearted fireworks over the lake. The Swiss are still allowed to purchase personal fireworks, so a lot of the campers were setting them off on the lake shore. One cracker exploded before launch and showered all the nearby tents with pretty silver bullets. All the people close by hit the deck - including me and Elles.
I slept like a log (with earplugs) and am happy to note that I can still get a good night's sleep on the airbed after being in real beds for the last two weeks.