Back into mountains

I’d promised my legs an easier day today – in light of the punishment that the Juras had handed out and what was sure to come in the Alps. And for once, the easier day plan actually eventuated. I set off at nine to follow the southern shore, approximately, of Lake Geneva until there was no more lake and then I’d follow its source – the Rhone.

I stopped every so often to take in the view and eat croissants.

I rode past the Evian bottling plant (which I’d always assumed was in Switzerland, but was actually in France) – the source of such an aspirational waste of plastic.

Evian itself started off rather poorly, at least on the road that I came in on, but seemed to be quite the destination for the well off.

After lunch overlooking the lake, I crossed the border (there were actually Swiss border guards, not that they wanted to do anything so mundane as check my passport) and thought I’d better snap a few last pictures of such a large lake and the looming mountains as I then headed south following the Rhone up-river.

From this point until the end of the day it was mostly cycle trails away from the road – but being in an ever narrowing valley not ever far from the railway or motorway. There was a surprising amount of big industry for such a spectacular setting – it has been said that the Bow Valley is a bit over done with its cement and aggregate plants as you drive in from Calgary to the Rockies, that’s got nothing on this part of the Rhone valley. As the valley narrowed, the clouds also closed in until there was need to put all the wet-weather gear on for only about fifteen minutes.

Of course, I knew there was no way out of this valley to my intended destination without a big climb – even so the mountains were getting alarmingly large and surrounding.

The sun came out, so there was at least a chance for to get a picture of the strangely coloured Rhone.

With a nice round hundred kilometres for the day (but very little climbing, only about 600 metres, and little off-road effort), I arrived in Martigny – where I’d promised myself my weekly hotel stay as I really want a good night sleep before I cross into Italy (hopefully) tomorrow. Mind you, this is the end of the third week and only the second hotel stay – maybe that’s what I did wrong the first week in wet Belgium.

The castle overlooking Martigny.

They have covered bridges here too – such sights always remind me of my stay in Pennsylvania.

I like that I’m getting close to Italy – it’s not uncommon to see Italian included in the languages on signs and so forth and a bit is spoken. The hotel receptionist began speaking to me by saying “tell me” which I’ve not heard for a while. After a short stroll around town in which I manage to miss a rain shower and I’m disappointed by European portion sizes – can they not see I’m a hungry cyclist in danger of fading away – I returned for an early night before my attempt to cross the Alps the next day.

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