We’re definitely in Francophone territory now, though we’ve found more people who speak a little German than English. The last few days have taken us through the Rhône valley, which while flat and hot is still surrounded by snow-capped peaks on three sides. The Rhône river has grown up and is no longer the baby stream we saw at its source.
Interestingly, the bike route we are following also is an official inline skating route, of which we have seen several in Switzerland. I’m not sure if skating is actually that popular here (I’ve only noticed one person with skates on the path) or if these signs were just all put up in the early 90s.
Now the sad news. At the end of the day – after already having had to fix two flats – Greg heard a loud ‘chunk’ and discovered that his frame had actually cracked in two at the chainstay. Nooo!
Fortunately we were only a mile from the next town, so Greg walked it while I rode ahead to book us into a hotel. After some broken conversation in a mix of French, German, and English, some locals drinking at the hotel bar were able to help us find a welder to fix it. We were instructed to get up at 7 the next morning and find the guy drinking coffee in the lobby, because he always got his coffee there before going to work, and ask him for help. We did, and after he’d inspected the break he skeptically asked if it was aluminium. Greg told him it was steel, and immediately he said something like ‘oh, well no problem then,’ and threw the bike in his van and took off. A few hours later he returned the bike with the crack welded back together, strong and ready to roll!
We cruised down to Lake Geneva, where we got rained on a bit. Riding around the south shore of the lake took us back into France, and we ended up staying the night at a super deluxe French campground that was like half the price of anything we’d found in Switzerland. After popping back into Switzerland in Geneva, we headed south on some unpleasantly busy roads, but then we got to Annecy, a cute little city on a beautiful lake. We got there just as France won a World Cup game against Uruguay, and the streets were full of people waving flags, honking horns, and setting off fireworks. We then found a great lakeside campground and took a dunk in the water – so much nicer than any other lake we’ve seen on this trip!