Central Europe Loop – Days 10 & 11

Today we left Switzerland in style by hopping on one of the many bicycle-friendly boats the ply the waters of Lake Geneva. Here are the sayonara shots of Lausanne.

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And one of the many little ports we stopped at on our trip across.

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And finally, France. Nearly everyone got off the boat with us at Yvoire, and we soon found out why. It is a very pretty little village. Can’t say the same for the public toilets (why is it either the Asian squat type or a regular toilet without a seat…oh, and sans toilet paper, of course…?), but maybe I’ll save that for a future post.

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The remainder of Day 10 was spent entering and exiting Switzerland 2 or 3 more times, and certainly not by design.  We rode along the lake, in France, till we neared Geneva, in Switzerland, crossing back once. Then later, in a place Dante might have visited on his trip through Hell (a seedy French suburb of Geneva that I won’t name, for fear of having nightmares tonight), we got lost and had to go back into Switzerland at least one more time, before finding our way south and out of that disaster.

After we were properly planted back in France it all came together though, and we traded in our cycling map for the good ol’ Michelin. I have to say I really like the idea of cycling paths, lanes, and roads. The simple fact that you can choose a road that gets you where you want to go without the hassles and worries of 4-wheeled company is excellent. But here’s the catch…usually. These roads often don’t go where you want to go very directly. In the case of Switzerland, their cycling paths usually take in every village along the way, which makes sense if you are the Department of Tourism and designing a path for tourists. But we don’t always want to visit every village. What to do? Well, there are sometimes other alternative roads that can be taken, I’ll give them that. But often there aren’t, and cycling on roads, although legal I think, is not very fun. Swiss drivers don’t give much room, and I don’t remember very wide shoulders. The short of it is that, obviously, in a country with so many wonderful cycling routes, you should choose cycling routes!

In France it’s different, at least for the moment. What few cycling paths there are are pretty novel right now, and drivers are accustomed to having us share the road with them. That’s one thing. The other is, when you are planning your route you just take out the Michelin and do it like a car driver would, just choosing smaller roads, if you are not insane. This gives you nearly unlimited freedom in a country like France, with millions of roads all over the place. It makes things more interesting because you are not just following someone else’s idea of a ‘good’ way. You also get there quicker, which is not always a goal for cyclists, but for me it’s nice to know I can do 100 km if I want to.

Congratulations if you got all the way through that discussion! Here are a couple of pictures from Day 11, through wonderfully rural Savoie…found using our Michelin of course.

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3 thoughts on “Central Europe Loop – Days 10 & 11

    • Interesting theory. I suppose my views are pretty foreigner-centric. But hey, make some bypass roads for us long-distance commuters!

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