Friday, September 14, 2012

Day 16 - Lausanne to Martigny (Tuesday 11th September)

(76 kms)
Distance from Canterbury: 1014e distance to Rome: 1060
Garmin Record:

Up early on a beautiful day to pack up and head for Martigny. It's a long day but most of the track is along the waters edge from Lausanne, through Vevey and Montreux to Villeneuve before turning and riding up the Rhone valley alongside the river.
Just 1 km into the ride my back wheel goes flat. Puncture #4. Officially not a puncture, the valve broke, but the same effect, unpack everything, remove and replace the tube then repack and off you go.

My first decision was just to ride and not follow the VF route too slavishly. Good adecision. I took the Swiss bicycle network route to Montreux. It was just an incredible ride. Instead of following the waterside, it took me high into the countryside, in the mountains. I rode through hectares of the most beautiful terraced vineyards. All of the walls and terracing was completed by monks in the 18 th century and today it is a thriving wine area. Lots of small villages, great places to walk and stop in interesting restaurants or stay in small hotels. An amazing ride, but upward, ever upward. Still I would not have changed it for anything.

Montreux is interesting. They have a Food Museum called The Alimentarium, sorry but I could not stop to explore. Just in front of it is a statue to Charlie Chaplin who spent his last years there escaping from the McCarthy era politics in America.

Then I  got back on the VF route and rode through countryside via Villeneuve to Martigny. Much of the route is beside a swiftly flowing Rhone river with many tributaries flowing into it.

There is a lot of industry in this valley. I passed the World Cycling Organisation building en route. There were so many cyclists of varying degrees of fitness and application. Then ahead of me I spied two well laden hikers so I stopped to chat. They are a French couple walking from Bescancon to Rome on the VF. It was exciting to meet other pilgrims and we made a great fuss taking pics and chatting in broken French and English about our experiences.


Once again, it's the small things that really make one's day. Ms VF had a final, fairly tough countryside experience for me before Martigny. As I  was riding this I could see a storm brewing in the valley ahead and the first drops of rain were making themselves known.

Nevertheless I arrived in Martigny early enough to visit the Office du Tourism and get directons to the campsite.

A very satisfying day, I thought. But this is the VF. Never take her for granted. Booked in at the campsite with a thunderstorm brewing. Pitched tent and the stay broke completely, there is no way it can be fixed. I'll carry the tent back to SA and have words with the manufacturers.  It is completely unusable. So to plan B. Look for accommodation in the monastries pilgrim hostels from now on. So back to the reception at the campsite with my tale of woe. They take pity on me and let me into the dormitory accommodation at no extra cost. A blessing in disguise as later in the evening the storm breaks. Heavy rain and lightening. Not a problem in the tent ordinarily but it was still going full blast in the morning and packing up under those circumstances would have been miserable to say the least. The Grand Col St Bernard looms and the guide book recommends an early start. By the sound of the storm I am grateful to be inside.

A big, big thank you to @PnPFreshFm - they are offering the chance to win a R1 000 Pick n Pay gift voucher AND 50,000 Smart Shopper Points worth R500! Awesome! Support Elred's trip for FTH:K by depositing R20 or more into FTH:K's account, reference Elred and your name and contact number and stand the chance to win! See bank details here:

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