Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Alps Trip Day 13 - Chatel to Morges

This morning I woke up still a bit pissed of with myself over the hotel. Further down the road I passed a number of other ones, all of which were more likely to satisfy me. There was even a campsite 10km further, though this was probably more than I could have coped with. Given the freakish weather it was probably not a bad idea to have been indoors last night. More on this later.

I'm glad that the road went more or less down. My legs were toast, even in the afternoon having had a break of more than an hour I could hardly cope with inclines. The weather started quite overcast even with a few drops of rain, though one could see that the cloud was lifting (it might have helped that I saw the météo saying that it would for today). At this altitude this meant that the upper slopes of the mountains were enshrouded in clouds that were slowly dissipating in quite a magical way. I look forward to doing the Route des Grandes Alpes from Thonon-les-Bains to Menton through here again some day.

At a certain point I passed a sign to a Roman road. It required a bit of scrambling to get to. There wasn't any documentation to say from where and to where it went. It was just a hollowed trench in the rock that followed the contour of the hill. I guess that it must have gone over the same pass that I came over from Martigny, which was an important junction in Roman times.

Further down the valley, where the Dranse flowed into Lake Geneva I came to Thonon. By this time the clouds had largely gone leaving a lovely day behind. The town didn't impress greatly so I moved along the shore of the lake to Yvoire, which had been highly recommended. It was a nice little town but totally touristed to the max, which rather spoiled it for me. It had rather a wonderful enclosed garden which had sections themed on the senses of taste, touch, sight and smell. There were aviaries in different corners to provide stimulus for the fifth sense, hearing. It was called the Garden of the Five Senses.

Along the shore I noticed a lot of broken tree branches, some quite large along the side of the road. While at the Garden of the Five Senses I learned that there had been a hale storm in the area during the night, with stones as big as golf balls. I suppose that this was accompanied by high winds.

Wanting to avoid getting entangled in the big city of I took a ferry across to Nyon. From there I killed time by cycling East along the lake to Morges. It was quite a nice ride, with grape vines on the hill slopes above on my left and fruit trees, corn, wheat or sunflowers below and to my right. There I took the evening train to Basel.

Distance - 104km
Time - 6:46
Max Altitude - 1229m
Tot. Ascent - 653m

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