After three great days with Erol in Basel we packed up and made our way across Switzerland to Geneva. We chose to take the small roads rather than the highway. We did this for two reasons… first, you can see so much more travelling along the smaller roads and second we don’t have a Swiss vigniette (or road tax sticker). For both reasons I think we made the right choice!!
After a day of riding we can safely say Switzerland is a pretty special place. We passed through some really spectacular scenery: mountains, lakes and forests and dozens of beautiful Medieval towns. It just went on and on and on.
We also passed loads of small ‘castles’. More like fortified houses, nearly every town we passed through – however small – would have one. From the bike I managed to snap some photos. Built in a time when Switzerland was made up of small city states these ‘castles’ seem to be the equivalent of the country manor in the UK.
While I’m looking at the castles, Jake spotted the train. He seemed to really like that even the tiny mountain towns still had a train station – about the size of a bus stop!
Our first stop of the day was in Neuchâtel. Another Medieval town on the shore of the lake of it’s name. We took a slow walk through the city, picked up some things for lunch and made our way to the castle, passing some amazing street art work along the way.
Next to the castle was a beautiful church, very simply decorated. Outside was covered in designs of flowers, leaves and animals while inside it has a stunning ink blue, vaulted ceiling covered in hundreds of golden stars.
The castle itself didn’t look so impressive from the outside, it kind of blended into the buildings around it. However, once we passed through the gateway, the inner courtyard was beautiful. What isn’t so clear in the photos is that every window had window boxes full of flowers too. On a sign in the gateway we rad that the castle is till used by the city’s municipality. It’s great to see such a building still in use in this way and not given over entirely to tourism.
Between Neuchâtel and Geneva was, guess what? More beautiful countryside and more castles. The road we took followed the shore of Lake Geneva so for most of the way we had the lake on our right and vineyards and/or mountains on our left.
We took a final short stop to cool down on the lakeside about an hour out from Geneva. The heat of the day was past so it was lovely to sit in the shade and take in the scene. Apart from the landscape – with the Alps just in view – it was interesting to see how locals treat this lake side as we in the UK would a beach. I suppose that comes from Switzerland being land locked and having no coast and vice versa: the UK has no lakes so large but loads of coastline.
And so we made it to Geneva. Its been another long day of riding but the scenery has been just spectacular so it was certainly worth it!