Switzerland part 2: Lausanne–Grenoble

Saturday we passed a beautiful landscape with a scenic view of the Mont Blanc massiv to arrive around noon in Lausanne. The expensive city offered us nevertheless a bike kitchen that had invited us and we repaired our bikes inside and on the pavement. The mountain passages had taken its toll. Some of us went to the Musee de Art Brut and greatly enjoyed it. Others went swimming in Lac Leman and a small public bath. In the evening we were invited again by a local theater space in the rue d´ industrie 10. We ate together the excellent vegan meal. And some of us used the calm space and sofas to embroider bicycle patches, which one participant had brought for us. We were sitting around the place stitching and it was good to do some handwork like that. Later we watched a diy-movie with our friends and danced before sleeping.

Unfortunately some dear people left us as they had to go back home Friday and the weekend, but c´est la vie, people come and go, but true friendships are there to last physical distance and a beautiful moment shines for a whole lifetime.

So on Sunday morning we all met for breakfast at the beach as a partially new group. Some people had slept in a former squat, others at the beach, and only now we got a feeling for who left, who came and who we were as a group.The day promissed to be hot and sunny and kept it. We cycled in small groups in relaxed speed along Lac Léman towards Genève. At midday most of us found a pretty spot at the lake for chilling some hours in the shadow, a swim, a picnic and a chat.

After we followed the national bike route for some time, we realised that it made huge detours to send us on crappy roads up and down the hills. We wondered who had made these routes, certainly not cyclists! We decided to switched to a bike lane that went along a road completely straight along the lake and found this to be good. The cycling was uncomplicated and meditative. One participant with a trailer had a fast day and took over everyone to arrive first, with his trailer!

The night we spent on a public beach place 10 minutes before Genève. There was a big sign forbidding tents, dogs, and fires, but there were plenty of all of those even before we arrived, and people told us to relax and camp, which we did and all went well. It was a proper festival atmosphere, some people had built up a bar and there was music until late. And, as usual in Switzerland, there were toilets and hot showers.

As it got dark, a big thunderstorm came, so we put up tarps to have a dry communal space. Fortunately the worst passed on the other side of the shore. We talked to neighbours that took a hide under one of our tarps and swam in the lake, before we cooked under the tarp, watching the lightnings. In the morning we could see the Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the Alps (4810 m) on the border between France and Italy.

The next day we went through Genève and soon left the Rhône river to make our way to Grenoble. Even though we followed some valleys, we still had quite a lot of mountains to cross, but got rewarded with beautiful landscapes. As soon as we crossed the border to France, we immediately noticed a complete change in how the car drivers behaved on the road: They didn’t act like they own the road and are in a constant hurry, when we cycled next to each other and they didn’t have space to pass, they waited patiently, sometimes unnecessary long (maybe to see what we are doing), and never showed any aggression towards us. Other participants again found the change to be quite the opposite and had some nostalgia to Switzerland.

The evening we spent in a pretty park next to a lake. Some ladders and ropes were attached to the trees, and during the day people could pay to have a climbing adventure, so the people working there were not particularly happy about our tents in the morning.

We were now entering one of the most beautiful landscapes of the trip so far, cycling along the lakes in between steep mountains. We decided to have a rest day close to Chambéry, and found a local family that kindly offered us to camp for two nights in their garden. We enjoyed the shade, the green garden and the showers! Thanks for hospitality! Even the local newspaper came by to interview us.

We spent the day doing workshops, about facilitation, on theater improvisation, writing blog posts and acrobatic yoga.

The next day we finally arrived in Grenoble to visit the bike kitchen. It is the oldest in France and one of the biggest ones. We were overwhelmed by the shelves full with all sorts of spare parts one can imagine.

After Grenoble, we followed a perfect bike path along the Isère river to make it to our next stop at the bar collective in Royans.

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