06 July 2008

Through the Alps

I was pretty excited to get into the Alps, and wanted to test out my new camera that I bought in Munich (my old one did not hold up well to the grit of the road, and the lens periodically refused to open). So here are some shots:

Radar had recommended Andermatt, a town in the Alps, and since I didn't really have anywhere else in mind, I decided to check it out. On the morning of July 5 I said goodbye to everyone from the trip who was at the hotel and rode from Garmisch through Feldkirch and Chur to Andermatt. The road was beautiful, but much more twisty than I was used to after the wide open spaces of Russia. Anyway, pulled into town late afteroon and it looked pretty lively, so I decided to stay. Here's my bike parked in front of my hotel, and the stream running through town:
There is apparently some kind of bear theme in Andermatt:And the famous Russian general, Suvorov, stayed here. Kind of an odd place to bring an army, in the middle of the Swiss Alps, I wonder if he was on vacation?
Anyway, even though it was a Saturday night, the town was totally dead at night...had dinner, walked around trying to find something going on, without success, and went to bed early.

The next day, I had agreed with Stuart to meet him in Nevers, France, so I headed out that way via Interlaken, Jainpass, Lausanne, St. Cerque, Buxy, le Ferte, Luzy, and Decize. Great road and great views:

This is Jainpass, nothing fancy but very pretty, nice ride:

The weather had been kind of iffy all day, and finally as I approached the French border I started heading back into some low mountains, where it started raining and getting cold. When I reached St. Cerque (I think that's the town I was in, and I think I was still in Switzerland!) I was drenched and freezing cold, does this picture look cold and damp, or what?
I stopped here for lunch, the waiter saw how cold and miserable I looked and recommended some cheese, egg, bread thing--it was perfect and after that and a couple of coffees I was ready to head back out. Luckily by the time I left the rain had dwindled to a drizzle.

Anyway, somewhere around here I crossed into France. I didn't have a map of France and really had absolutely no idea where I was going, but (or maybe because of that) it was a great ride through the French countryside. Here are some pix:
I litterally had no idea where I was going other than generally West, and I had looked up a couple of towns along the way on a map I had seen, but never saw any signs for those towns. Anyway, pulled into Nevers, rode around for a while, found a Holiday Inn or something, booked a room, texted Stuart, and went for a beer. While having a beer, Stuart texted back that he could not meet me that night, would have to meet somewhere the next night...damn! Nevers looked like a real hole and I wasn't that thrilled about staying there, but oh well. Walked around down, it is kind of a dump, but apparently some punk music festival had just ended (this being Sunday) and lots of bedraggled punkers were wondering around town, and there was one tent with some farewell punk concert. Boring, no pix, meh. To summarize, Never to Nevers!

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