Within about 30 miles of the France Swiss border things seemed to be looking a little more Swiss, architure on houses had wooden facias and features and were more sparesly dotted about on hill sides, it was quite strange coming up to the France Swiss border, i wasnt sure what to expect and or where abouts it was, i had an idea from the map, it was a case of turning a corner and there it was a grey cannopy with a cabin either side of the drive through section, there was nobody around to hand over passport it was a case of cycling through.
France one side Switzerland the other in the space of 10 yards, cycling into Switzerland i was looking around for any differences, looking at road, shop signs to see if they were spelt different from France, things were still in French, i thought German was the language of Switzerland.
Entering Switzerland was like a ghost town, for 1 pm on a Saturday i was expecting people to be on the streets and roads mingling, there was know one around, very very quite, there was not an ery feeling about the place but more a peaceful feeling, the air was clean.
Arriving at the nearest town Porrentruy, i stopped at a corner shop for a bottle of water, walking into the shop felt like a scene off Back to the Future the movie, the guy behind the counter was serving someone, everything felt peaceful and quite, they going about their buisness, i was trying to work out what language was being spoken, i heard Au`revoir, so was getting more confused, took the water to the counter the guy said bonjour, i asked him what language is spoken here which he said French, ahh
Heading into the town centre there was a few more people wondering around, went into the local supermarket where everything was very clean and neatly in order, even eggs were painted in their boxes, green, sunburst yellow. Sitting outside eating, a girl Anna originally from Kazakhstan was unlocking her bike, she said modestly and in a refreshing type of way i would like to help you, i asked if there was anywhere to charge phone ect, Anna went over to the bar near by where she came back and, said yes it`s ok to charge things their, heading over to the bar i parked the bike outside where Anna introduced me to the lady behind the bar, Sonia. Where in five minutes of talking Sonia offered if i needed any clothes washing, wow which i politely declined. Orhan, Sophias son came downstairs where we got chatting, after a while i went to set off to find a camping spot for the night, when Orhan offered that i stay there for night, it felt re`freshing to have a bed for the night and be able to think and work out the route for the following day.
Cycling through 100 miles of Switzerland i started to think it was a myth that Switzerland was hilly, not to say it`s not a hilly country, but rather the roads were built in the valleys of the mountains themselves, making the roads flatter than roads in say the UK, and started to come to the idea that the Uk roads were more hilly to cycle, upon coming to the Alps i could`nt have been further than the truth and ate my words and choked on them, the GrImsell pass was 15 miles, 2165 metres high of constant up hill , with cars and motorbikes racing past like it was Monti carlo the 2nd, coupled with blazing heat, it was bruital exausting and at one point the heat nearly took hold, eventually getting to a huge Dam and what i thought was the top, i celebrated by having a Nectarine, only after a couple of mouthfuls to look up and see more road etched into the shear mountain side spiraling from left to right, still another 8km to go.
The following day was as tough if not tougher, with 9 miles 2478 metres high of constant uphill, the weather was over cast which helped, at most points up the pass i found it impossible to ride and had to resort to pushing, two people along the route pulled over to offer their help in a lift to the top, pointing at their car, which i politely refused. Eventually reaching the top the same time as 6 Belgium motorcyclists we got chatting, they all took it in turns to try pick the bike up and could`nt believe how heavy it weighs.