Bern-Geneva: the return journey


A return journey is often the resolution, the long speech in Shakespeare, the clearing of the Shire in Tolkien. In cycling, however, the road is always uphill into a headwind. The journey is always just beginning. And so it turns out….

But first, indulge me in a short nostalgic tour through Bern.

The day starts as I am woken by Sherpa Michü, now in his native dress: “Märku, du bisch Teufü!”. I ward off his strange incantations with a camera.

To me the money shot in Bern is the “Zytteglogge”, in the first pic above.
(Although some may argue for the “Kindlifresse” fountain.)

I go past the Freiestrasse church, whose bells kept us sleep deprived for most of the early 90s.

Past the (now) Chemie u. Biochemie institute.

The opening arch finally finished. Designed by committee (can you tell? each member could choose a particular angle on the plans) and put on hold for many years due to the possibility that the colour tile adhesive may be harmful for the environment. I never thought I would see the day when it was finished. Closure.

Past the Schweizerbund, where I have eaten a huge number of pizzas

We used to walked along here with the kids.

The house at Hinterkappelen:

The school the kids went to:

Onwards. I have been advised to take the signed cycle routes that take the quiet roads. I have misgivings, having lost track of them many times on the way to Bern, however, they are picturesque. Here the road goes through a farm, straight through the farmhouse.

And here the signage entices me to enter a hole in the forest via a dirt trail.

Feeling like Hansel & Gretel, I enter the forest grim with only a bar of chocolate to leave a trail. Unfortunately the day is warm and the chocolate has liquified. Shown here, just before I squeeze the foil and inject the chocolate into my mouth in a single shot like space food.

The route IS picturesque and provides food in the form of apple trees along the way. I don’t know why Migros is full of Neu Zealand apples:

Again the dreaded röstigraben is passed, where the “käserei” morphs back into the “fromagerie”. One can see the instruments used to suck the cheese out of the cows.

Innocent looking concrete structures are inserted in the landscape. You just know that they open out to tunnels leading to, say, a tank refueling station or a fully functional military hospital.

This is what the Swiss do with their extra Kohlendioxid: Ripen the tomatoes.

The classic Swiss lunch: Ticino bread, Brie, Rivella (the slimy stuff extracted from milk).

This is some kind of tractor race meet (the only other place I’ve seen this is Tasmania).

Unfortunately I am still only just out of Berne, having jumped from one circuitous cycle trail to another, the last of which I seem to have taken in the direction back to Berne. The situation is not helped when the road is blocked by horse & cart:

Amazingly the drivers are both asleep!

I clearly need the bike bell that Queensland police are advising, as I travel slowly along behind, not wanting to stampede the horses. However after increasingly loud, “Bonjour!”s one finally wakes and pulls over allowing me to pass.

If it is not obvious so far, there is, if not rain, then drizzle, which translates to “bianche strada” and mud:

Not tan-lines, but pretty good mud-lines:

I pass a bunch of carnies setting up “Knie”. I ask if they can make me a “wall-of-death”, but they demur.

I leave Lake Neuchâtel at Yverdon les Bain…

.. where I am sorely tempted:

However, I can not dally as it is getting late and there are hills to climb. The hotel that I know is affordable at Morges is still some distance. I lose the bike path, but press on.

Finally, arriving exhausted, I drink a celebratory beer on the shores of Lake Geneva as I watch the sunset…

…before going to the hotel and finding that its closed on Mondays.

Things swing from inconvenient to serious as dusk settles and other hotels are investigated. Single rooms A$350. Hotels on the lake are even more than the normal outrageous Swiss prices. To get off the lake you have to go uphill. I do this several times to no avail. It’s dark as I arrive in Nyon.

Here is a picture of my eventual SF240 (~A280) room. I amaze myself as I bargain the receptionist down to SF170 (~A200). Perhaps they are used to desperate foreigners. I eat a big breakfast.

The next day is a quick roll in to Geneva, where I find shelter under a beautiful willow type pine tree:

I cavort with the city sculptures:

You can see worlds align:

I am proud to see Australia is made out of beer bottle lids:

And another world has been “accessorised”:

I am guided into town by my Geneva host, Res, who has a Brompton folding bike and a deep-set hatred for cars.

He mentions that we may go for a ride tomorrow. Sure, no problem Res, riding with a Brompton will be a rest day. It turns out otherwise…..

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One Response to Bern-Geneva: the return journey

  1. Wendy Riley aka yr mother says:

    You should be a tourista promoter!

    We await the next instalment with bated breath.

    DAD

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