Ahhh. Just woke up from a nice nap in a park overlooking Genéve (Geneva, Switzerland) and Lac Léman.
I am a big fan of naps and unfortunately have not been working them into my schedule as much as I would like (or previously planned on). The last three days have been soggy. Each ride was through the drizzly rain and we reached our WS hosts in Cluny, Poncin and Veyrier sopping wet. But today was different. A day off the bike “resting” in Genéve. And so for this reason I am lying in the grass in Park Mon Repos waking up from a nice nap. I think my ability to take great naps comes from my father. Any family trip growing up was not a Pratt family trip if it wasn’t frequently punctuated with my dad, finding a nice spot in the shade, lying down and dozing off for awhile. We always knew that his nap was almost over when he started snoring so loud he would wake himself up. And so on our walk through Geneva this morning the only thing that was a must for the day was an afternoon nap. Today also marked the first time we’ve seen the sun in the past 4 days – so a nap in the shade was sure to happen.
Yesterday we finished our crossing of France and reached Geneva, Switzerland. (Only for a short return to Chamonix, France and a (hopeful) sighting of Mont Blanc before we are back into Switzerland. (Fun fact: the official name of this country is Confoederatio Helvetica – since they have four official languages here in Switzerland (German, French, Italian and Romansh) they couldn’t agree on one of their languages names of the country (Schweiz, Suisse, Svizerra and Svizra respectively) so they went with the original Latin name).
WarmShowers: I know I have talked about this before, but I just have to say how awesome this website is (and you should sign up – if not to use it as a touring cyclist – to at least let cool people come stay at your house and tell you stories of their travels). Last night we arrived at our WS hosts in Veyrier, Switzerland (about a kilometer from the French border and 5 kilometers from Geneva). Whenever we are getting close to a WS host Katy and I start paying really close attention to the type of neighborhood we are begin to speculate on what type of home we will be staying with, what our hosts will be like and etc. For last night and tonight we hit the jackpot. When we arrived we put our bike in the garage and then were shown to the basement apartment complete with bed, living room, kitchenette, washer and dryer and complete bathroom. We were handed two towels, told that dinner would be at 7:15 and that they had left some milk, granola and eggs in the fridge for us. (This is the type of traveling I can get used to.) The same basement apartment is rented out by this family on airbnb.com for around $110 a night. We got two nights for free. (Which made me reflect on the time back in Ann Arbor when Katy and I had two people staying at our house one night – one of them arrived via airbnb and payed $45 for the night (no dinner or breakfast) and the other arrived via WarmShowers and so stayed for free (with dinner and breakfast). It pays to arrive on bike. During our last month our WS hosts have provided us with a warm, dry place to sleep, cooked us great dinners, breakfasts, desserts and an occasional lunch, took us on tours of their towns (via car, bike or foot), let us do laundry, given us bags of treats when we depart, helped us with route advice, cycled out to find us so they could personally escort us through their town to their home, watched the World Cup with us, watched the Grand Depart of the TDF, always have WiFi, let us use their mailing address, offer tools and assistance for bike maintenance, and the list goes on. We just show up, smile, say thank you (merci pour tout), share tales of the road and then go our way. Hopefully when we arrive back in Ann Arbor we can return some of this magic.
Last but not least, Chocolate.
When I started dating Katy (I guess our dating technically started when I arrived at her home on my bike – I was sopping wet and freezing cold because of a quick storm that picked up and hit me pretty hard on my descent down Big Cottonwood Canyon – we had a nice laugh about how Katy should have expected the wet weather the last three days because our relationship began in similar circumstances – on a bike in the rain) she had and still does have so many amazing qualities – enough in fact that I decided to marry her. The one HUGE strike against her was she didn’t like chocolate. A huge flaw in my opinion that I was somehow able to overlook. But in the last 2 weeks something incredible has happened – she has seen the light. Katy can now be regularly spotted on the back of the tandem stealing a square off of our most recent chocolate bar (we kind of eat a couple bars per day – one of them always between the hours of 11pm and midnight) or having just one last bite before we collapse to sleep. It’s great. She’s almost a full fledged choclaholic.
(Katy tells me that the average chocolate consumption in Switzerland is 11.3 kilos per person per year – and since we are average people but will only be in this beautiful land for a week or so we need to hit the chocolate pretty hard to keep the average up – to be exact, 11.3 kilos = 11,300 grams and the average chocolate bar is 100 grams, so that makes 113 bars – if we are here for ten days that means about 11 bars per day, and with only 16 waking hours per day – a bar every hour and a half or so.)
Expenses: €18 LiDl
Rest Day Expenses: €7 Food, 16CHF Bus, 12 CHF Grocery, 5CHF Patch, 22CHF Telepherique du Saleve