Mittelland Route Day 3 from Solothurn to Estavayer-le-Lac
After the exhausting day yesterday I take it a little easier now. I sleep more or less well and then take my time for breakfast. Pretty much at 10 o’clock I am ready for the start and go back on the road. It is Easter Sunday and there is still very little going on. But that changes very quickly. The cycle route goes directly along the Aare again and the great weather on the holiday attracts crowds of people outside. The cycle path gets really full.
At Büren, Veloroute 5 leaves the Aare and instead follows the Niedau-Büren canal. Niedau is a suburb of Biel or rather more of a district than a suburb. Now it’s 20 km (12 mi) along the southern shore of Lake Biel. Here it has a climb, which is quite steep but still easy to drive. At the top, there is a nice place to stop for a bite to eat, with cold drinks and snacks. The view of Lake Biel from here is simply fantastic! I treat myself to an apple and only take time for a few photos, then I continue. Not rushed, rather cozy. The way is the goal!
After a few more kilometers I reach the hydroelectric power station Hagneck. Everything is very new and beautifully done with lots of information about the technology and the nature around it. There is also a restaurant right next to the power station, but there was too much going on. The hydroelectric power station is fed by the Hagneck canal, which diverts the Aare from Aarberg to Lake Biel. The Niedau-Büren canal from earlier leads the Aare out of the lake back into the actual riverbed. The Aare between these canals carries very little water and lies in its old, winding riverbed. Therefore it is also called “Old Aare” here. The best way to see this is to look at the map.
Not much further is the most south-westerly point of Lake Biel already reached and the route continues over land to Lake Neuchâtel. The cycle route 5 makes a bigger loop of about 15 km (9 mi). It also goes along the Canal de la Thielle, which connects Lake Biel with Lake Neuchâtel. Again a scenically beautiful, easy to drive and flat route. The transition to French-speaking Switzerland is now noticeable. The other cyclists and pedestrians no longer greet with Grüezi, but with Bonjour.
Shortly before the cycle path meets Lake Neuchâtel, there are still two ascents. These are not particularly steep, but after 75 km (47 mi) I notice them in my legs and when I reach the top I take a short break with a view of the lake. Where it goes up, it goes down again. A nice descent follows and the last few kilometers to my destination in Estavayer-le-Lac (yes, it became French) are hilly, but still pleasant to drive and there is a lot to see. At half past four, I arrive in Estavayer-le-Lac and am surprised how this small town presents itself right at the beginning. A beautiful old city wall with watchtowers and gate and a very interesting old town. Very big cinema! On the way to my hotel, I let the GoPro run along.
There is no dinner in my hotel, but a laundry service for cyclists. In the evening you can hand in your sweaty clothes and get them back freshly washed in the morning. I don’t make use of this service, I have a hand wash paste in my luggage but today I was so comfortable and relaxed on the way that I didn’t sweat and airing is sufficient. Tomorrow is also the last day, then everything goes into the washing machine anyway.
Today it was 95 km (59 mi) and it took me (without breaks and stops) just under 5½ hours. Everything went like clockwork, no problems at all, a great pleasure ride. I go into the town and reward myself with a (quite small and expensive) kebab and a bottle of cola. Back at the hotel, I relax with watching a documentary and spend a somewhat restless night, because the bed is very narrow for me and I have the feeling several times that I would fall out.