Sunday, June 22, 2014

Day 15 - Lausanne to Martigny - 77.5km

Lausanne was quite a big city, that's to be expected but with that comes quite a bit of walking; for the first time we showered and set out to explore, not arriving back to the hotel until about 9pm, 5 hours later!

View from Lausanne cathedral towards lake Geneva
Lausanne Cathedral

The city was buzzing with a music festival on, including an area with some pretty full on thrash metal. We watched for a while until the locals noticed us, and decided to get us into the mosh area, which is when we quickly escaped!

The mini thrash metal concert

I had researched some Fondue restaurants seeming we were only to stay in Switzerland for 2 nights, and Lausanne is supposed to be the best place to indulge. I decided on Pinte Besson, in the old town obviously had been there for a good while, it was still busy with locals drinking, but only the tourists were eating the fondue. It was quite a wait for some reason, and we were getting quite hungry. When it arrived we dived in gorging ourselves on the cheesy goodness, Rishi wondered if there was enough bread, and I knew there was, we got through about 2/3 before we couldn't go on any longer. It was a memorable meal, and possibly Rishis first and last fondue, as she was well into a cheese coma later that evening.

Pinte Besson

We had a great nights sleep at hotel ibis, since it was the weekend the best value places are the business hotels. And they even had our bikes locked up in the giant left luggage room.

We rolled out of town after an average breakfast, we need to get used to missing our French pain au chocolat daily staple. Soon we were on the lake, and we had decided to follow the bike route along the lake as much as possible. The scenery was spectacular from the moment we could see the lake, before long the terraced vineyards appeared and you had to control yourself from looking at the views so you didn't crash. Being a Sunday was perfect, almost no traffic and heaps of cyclists, of all ages including ladies out for a cruise and also larger bunches out for a Sunday spin. Obviously quite a few tourists as well, and we saw plenty of people on touring bikes. But mostly heading away from the alps not towards!

First glimpse of the lake in the morning

We stopped quite a bit to admire the views, but still quickly arrived in Vevey which is when we could start to really see the alps. It was another quick leg to Montreuex where the views back over the lake were amazing. Arriving next in Villeneuve is when you can really see right up into the valley of the Alps with the lake behind you. We started the ride up into the valley directly into the direction of the Alps, and followed the Canal paths which seemed to be endless. We really got motoring with a slight tailwind and started to pickoff the weekend cruisers, it felt great to be rolling along on the knobby tyres at 30kph. We even passed a couple of guys on road bikes in their full euro white kit which was amusing. We passed one of the UCI head offices which included a indoor velodrome, and also a full size four cross track which was being used by some kids for a lesson on bmx bikes. We motored into saint Maurice and stopped for a beer in town along with some really fancy sandwiches and pastries. We were well and truly in the middle of the mountains now with sheer cliffs either side of the villages. It was only another 15k into Martigny as we motored along, taking a wrong turn somewhere we hit some gravel for a few k's which was good just to ease oft the gas for a while, just as we saw the signs welcoming us to Martigny a storm passed through with some heavy rain. We put the jackets on and found our hotel and the warm shower, which was actually quite refreshing.

Near Vevey
Still have to get all the way over there
Uci offices and velodrome
Saint Maurice
The Swiss still know about pastries
Bike or Rollerblades your covered in Switzerland
We go up and behind the col in the middle, that's over 2500m!

The route has to be the most memorable rides I've ever had the pleasure of doing, I can't reccomend this area enough, the natural beauty is unbelievable. We will definately return on some nice light road bikes at some stage in the future!

The weather report is not the best for our ascent tomorrow, there are forecast storms for the next 2 days unfortunately. But it's meant to be ok for the morning with the storms forecast for the afternoon. So we hope to start at first light to beat the weather but also the tourist traffic, as we have to pass through an almost 5km long avalanche tunnel which is about 20k into the 45k climb. All going well we will crest the summit before around 11am and enjoy the decent down to Aosta in Italy. The backup option is to stay on the summit overnight in the pilgrim accommodation.

The summit will mark over halfway for the trip which is an exciting prospect, and we really look forward to enjoying Italy.

Wish us luck!

1 comment:

  1. I am so jealous, i love Switzerland! I lived there for 5 months :) If you can try and have Raclette for dinner one night, Potato and loads of Cheese!!!
    I have been through the Avalanche tunnel, good luck with that. I hated driving through in a car, let alone a bike :( But once you get out the other side it is so worth it. Enjoy Schweiz. Chuss