Today we tackled our first col. Col is French for mountain pass. The cols are where races are won and lost. For tourists cols are where we analyze our pack list and wish we would have brought less of everything.

We survived our first col on our way to Geneva.
We survived our first col on our way to Geneva.

We were on the road at 7:30am to avoid sharing our col du jour the Col du Magnard with as many people travelling to and from Geneva as possible. Our strategy proved successful. As we inched our way up the mountain we were enveloped in a thick cloud. Limestone aretes poked out from the gray above as we listened to our breathing and our whirring drivetrains. It was peaceful.

About half way up we passed through a village. Warm light illuminated a boulangerie, highlighting inside the glass shelves of fresh pastries and bread. We stopped and I bought a baguette, a simple food we now can’t live without. When we don’t have a baguette stuffed in a pannier Carrie and I feel vulnerable, like riding a bike without shoes.

When we reached the sign that indicated we’d made it to the top of the col we dinged our bells to celebrate. Since Norway we’ve been celebrating on summits. We call it bell-abrating. Get it? There’s even a song. Bell-a-brate good climbs, come on!

We descended briefly before chugging up another road to the ridge that dominates the western skyline of Geneva. As we started the descent we had a bird’s eye view of Geneva and Lake LĂ©mon. It was too dangerous however to stop for photos because at this point there were far too many vehicles on the road.

After a picnic in a random neighborhood park in the Geneva suburbs, we headed for our campsite. We heard that Switzerland was expensive but we weren’t worried because we’d just come from Norway. Norway is the reigning champion of heavyweight prices. But we were shocked when the campground hostess asked us to pay 33 Swiss Francs for a place to pitch a tent and have a shower. Switzerland delivered a brutal blow to our wallet. We swore at that moment to leave the country as soon as possible before we were forced to sell our teeth that Switzerland had knocked out.

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