The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Geneva, Switzerland

Hi Again:

The weather turned off warm and sunny and I am loving it. I have been staying at a very nice Bed and Breakfast near Ghent (or Gent) Belgium. It is out in the country in a tiny town, and I enjoyed riding the back roads from it to Ghent. Look! A windmill. Not many of those things left.

The roads in the countryside of Belgium are exactly the sort I like to ride, with small villages and tree lined paths.

Ghent is pretty famous, and so of course I had to go there for a Saturday afternoon walk-about. Unfortunately, all these towns are starting to look the same to me -- musicians playing on the squares for tips, lots of stores selling junk for tourists to let get dusty once back home, restaurants with their sidewalk cafes packed with people watchers. 

Unfortunately, it being a packed Saturday afternoon in the tourist area of Ghent, trash was everywhere. The place looked very dirty to me. All my pictures were of things up high.

Ghent does have a nice castle, however. It is well worth the time to visit it.

Ghent was nice enough in a rather used sort of way. I am glad I went there, but I was looking forward to going the other direction to Brugges more. My B & B was about 25 miles from Brugges, but in the opposite direction from Ghent. Again, the roads getting there were fun, especially on a Sunday morning with no one stirring.

Unlike Ghent on a tourist clogged Saturday afternoon, trash thrown everywhere and trash cans overflowing, Brugges on a Sunday morning was super clean.

Like many of the European cities, especially in Holland, Belgium and Western Germany, Brugges has a lot of old canals. I still think it would be fun to explore Europe on a house boat, just drifting through all the canals. I think it would be too slow and peaceful for me though.

I was all ready to kick back and explore this part of Belgium for days, but then -- surprise!! -- I managed to get a hard-to-come-by ticket to tour the CERN Hardron Particle Accelerator. But it is at Geneva and I have two days to get there. Gotta hustle along. My route will be down through the forested Alsace-Lorraine  area of France, and then along the Jura Alps to Geneva. It should be a fun, if frantic, ride.  Much of the time I was on super highways (Interstates? Autobahns?). I don't much like those, but they are a great way to make time. AT one point I was in the left hand of two lanes, passing a truck and doing about 70 when the man in the car behind me got tired of following me I guess, and he passed me. There were some hand signals back and forth between the two of us. My heart was in my throat!

It was the smaller country lanes up in the mountains I liked better. Sometimes I could look way down and see beautiful villages in the valleys.

Lots of farms in this area. The wheat has been harvested, and not the farmers are bailing straw and taking huge loads of it down the roads. They can really back up traffic.

A fun thing: many of the farmers, or their children maybe, and many of the towns had made sculptures out of the straw. They were pretty clever at it. I did not take any pictures (too far to go and not enough time), but I wish I had. My favorite was a tractor made of straw.

But finally, saddle sore and ready to quit, I came to a viewpoint in the mountains and, look, there is Geneva way down there. It is hard to tell much about it from my picture, but maybe you can see Lake Geneva down there.

Odysseus says he is more than ready to quit for the night.

I am in a very nice hostel in the heart of the city, right on the shore of Lake Geneva. There are dozens of people here in the lobby right now, each of them trying to use the internet which clogs things up. So, I am going to quit for this update and go take a much needed shower.