My final day in the city has arrived, but I'm still here. I just couldn't resist one more day with these people and this place.
These people being Leandra and Laura, from Zurich but studying International Relations at university in Geneva, my amazing hosts for the past 6 days. Every moment of my being here hints back to the serendipitous nature of life and I think of the moment Leandra walked in to The Tri Store back in Eastbourne on orders from her Mum to buy a bike helmet. It is thanks to that chain of events and my obvious charm that I am sitting here writing this, and in the bigger picture that I was able to cope with the thought of leaving home to cycle around the world at all. I owe them both so much and I hope I can repay them somehow, someday (I don't consider fixing their bikes quite equal to the friendship, conversation, housing, guiding, feeding with wonderful food and cake and general caring I've received!) Thank you both so much, you are great and will be sorely missed : )
I have had such a fantastic time here and I feel at home after just 5 days. It is thrilling to think back to Wednesday when I entered the city a complete stranger, lost and with no idea where to go, and contrast that with the last few days of exploring and knowing exactly where I am - the same places and people look completely different and the city takes on a whole new persona. I realise more than ever that to get a fair impression of a place it is really necessary to spend a few days there but I'm not yet sure how to make that and forward progression/money stretching go hand-in-hand. A valuable lesson to remember for the rest of the places I will pass through.
Speaking of which, the onwards route from here following breakfast and my 9am Tuesday departure will be along the eastern border of Lake Geneva, crossing back into France and then back again into Switzerland (I think the 5th border crossing between the 2 countries in 3 days of riding!). I'll be crossing the 2008 metre Simplon Pass on Wednesday, snow permitting, and coasting downhill into Italy where I will head for lakes Maggiore, Como and Garda before skirting north of the main spaghetti road cities for the sea at Trieste - about 550 miles, probably between 8 days and 2 weeks depending on scenery, weather and tiredness, and as I'll be trying to make camping my primary accommodation, probably my next update.