Wednesday, 26 May 2010

aLL weLL, eNjoYn LauSaNne & LaKe gEneVa

It seems just yesterday we descended la Furieuse (and what a furious ride it was) and arrived in Salins les Bains. There we saw the museum of salt, the first real touristy thing we have done. It's a great building, with huge metal pans used to evaporate the brine pumped from the guts of the earth to make salt. There we learnt there are 3 ways of obtaining salt: by mining [rock salt], by natural evaporation [a lot of sea salt] or by evaporation through fire [sea water or brine]. Funnily enough the day after we did our first real mountain all the way to the top of the “Route des Sapins” and learnt there is a fourth way of making salt. Because we were sweating so much, both of our shirts were in fact encrusted with the white stuff.

Mouthe to Lausanne over the Col de Landoz-Neuve (1260m). This was our highest point yet and from there we freewheeled into Switzerland. Long beautiful descent all the way down to the Swiss plateau. At some point, while we were still high up above it there was a break in the tree line and the new country opened in front of us. In the distance we had our first glimpse of the Alps. They looked humongous, imposing , invalicable even from so far away. It was quite a moment of realization for me, having joked about them for a while. The task is not to be taken lightly.

We cycled towards Lake Geneva and arrived in Lausanne, what a city! Obviously lots of money has been ploughed into providing the most well equipped and landscaped public spaces I’ve ever seen, all blending into the still calm of the lake.

There are areas for any activity one might fancy, from sailing to archery, volleyball courts, skate ramps, quiet meadows on the edge of the lake, music stages, beaches, an arboretum, bars and more things I can remember. Definitely, as Isla called it, a 'Body Beautiful' place. We camped within the park, at the tune of 32CHF (£20 compared to £10 of French campsites), Yikes!

Life looks good here and as we continue to pedal around the lake the following day we pass through yet more beautiful (maybe too beautiful) villages. The day has been full of contrasts, from affluent lakeside living to the industrial Rhône Valley crammed with grape vines and factories. Not until you look up do you see the beauty of the Aaaaaaalps. Oh yes, the Alps, surely we can’t cycle over these (head spinning) huge chunks of iced capped rock.

After two days of cycling up the Rhône, feeling more and more intimidated by these mountains, we camped in Brig at the base of the Simplon Pass (what a misleading name). My main fear is traffic. The physical and mental challenge is totally up to me, but the crazy driving that goes on is out of my control, trust trust trust.


Grace said...

please be safe guys, I know you won't risk your safety.....I won't ride my bike in Wales for fear of the young boyos and city types whizzing around the lanes at stupidly fast speeds so sympathize big time xxx

artichoke artgroup said...

wow, you ve been on your way now for a while!
we think of you often and send you all blessings. amazing adventure, much love xxx

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