26 Oct 2014

Europe By Bike by trevorborden

20/23

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From Thun we biked to Fribourg, Lausanne, and then on Geneva. Biking in Switzerland is made easy with the very well marked cycling routes that traverse the entire country.

We left Switzerland along the Rhone River. The girls were nervous as we headed into a new country where none of us have any experience with the language. We had also been warned that the French would never even try to communicate with us if we didn't speak perfect French. As Lauren wrote in her journal,

"We have found that to be quite the contrary and have stumbled upon the most incredible, tender hearted people you will ever meet. Earlier this week, we were flying high and setting up camp after a sunny day cruising down the Rhône River, when we met two lovely ladies, Sabine and Frederique, fishing with their kids on the river. We chatted for a while, and said our goodbyes, only for them to return 20 minutes later with wine and an invitation to stay with Sabine's family that night in the small village nearby and another invitation to stay with Frederique's family in Lyon a couple nights later. We had the most amazing time sharing stories and culture with both families and loved our time with them. Such a sweet time of connection and over the top generosity that won't soon be forgotten. We biked away from each home feeling equally inspired and encouraged with smiles plastered to our faces."

As we made our way along the Rhone and away from the Alps, we were amazed at the amount of elevation we were dropping. It felt like we spent the entire day wearing out our brakes as we descended beautiful winding roads. We spent the night camping just outside of the small town called Seyssel.

The next morning in a still-half-asleep attempt to clean up from the night before, I managed to slip and drop our entire set of nesting pots and dishes off a 8 foot bank and into the very cold river. I threw off my leather boots and crashed down the ledge after them. Immediately filled with water, the pots disappeared under the surface and in horror I watched as our bowls, like two boats, chose the high road and began floating down stream way out of my reach. Forgetting the pots I scrambled bare footed up the bank and ran through the woods to where a small tree lay toppled over in the river. I balanced my way out on the trunk and to my relief the bowls were right there, trapped between the current and the tree. I then went back to where I had originally dropped everything and waded through the water. I was just about to give up when I caught my right foot in the opening of our main cooking pot and swooped it up in one smooth movement. I was never able to find the handle but was sure glad to not have lost our cooking system all together. We were able to make due without the handle just fine.

The majority of the Rhone River is practically a dreamland for cycling and camping. Incredible views and old villages connected by quiet roads and bike paths. We got spoiled big time.

--- Bottom Photo by Lauren