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Unforgettable Cycling Adventure Through Geneva and the Swiss Alps

May 4-10
Day 1, Saturday
Arrival to Geneva

We had a beautiful view of the alps as we flew into Geneva to do the Three Lakes Tour: From Geneva to Annecy bike tour. The snow-capped mountains rise above the luscious green farmland.

When we arrived, we checked in and rested. We walked from the hotel to the old town. There were numerous marching bands through the streets dressed in different war regalia. We could look over the parade from a bench in the old city.

We walked the bridge across the water to see the famous Geneva jets. Then, we explored the local grocery store to get snacks for the next cycling day.

Swiss Alps

We did the 5 senses each day

Sight: Seeing the Alps as we were coming into Geneva on the airplane.

Taste: I ordered a caramel latte from the menu. The waiter was really confused and asked another waiter to come over. They placed the order and when it came, I understood the confusion. It was literally steamed milk with caramel syrup, served with a silly straw. It was delicious but made me more sleepy instead of waking me up like I was hoping. My sis had a lemon tart from a patisserie. The first pastry of the trip!

Touch: Nothing beats the feeling of lying in a comfy bed after a full 24 hours of travel. Also, the feel of an espresso cup in Europe means the vacation has started.

Sound: The marching band walking through the streets of old town Geneva will be an experience that I won’t soon forget. Another noticeable mention is how quiet the city was (outside of the marching band) even though the streets were full of pedestrians. It felt quaint.

Scent: There were blooming trees surrounding the cathedral in the old town. It really felt like a perfect start to our journey. My sister first noticed the smell of the fondue at lunch. It was quite pungent and looked delicious.

Geneva Jets

Day 2, Sunday
Extra day, Geneva

We slept through our alarms. My sister got up at 9am and pulled back the curtains. I thought she was getting up too early but
soon realized that it was much later in the morning. We quickly changed and headed down for our breakfast at the hotel. It
was a nice, quiet breakfast. Coffee was standard with an espresso machine, and there were hot and cold options for eating.
The staff and guests were friendly. As we were sitting down to eat, we saw cyclists starting their journey today from the

While today was cloudy and a bit rainy in Geneva, the weather was quite nice to walk in – not too hot or too cold. We noticed
the Geneva marathon was going on. It was an incredible experience to see all of the cheering and chatter in the streets.
Many of the streets in the city were closed to cars which made it even nicer to walk. Geneva is a great city to walk around
in—not too big and very pedestrian friendly.

After we caught a bit of the marathon, we decided to catch a bus (50 min ride) to Annecy. We knew we would have an early
morning departure after the evening of our arrival in Annecy so we wanted to explore the town a bit more. What a lovely place. We arrived to the city around 1 pm and we took the 8 pm bus home to Geneva. During our day in Annecy, we walked around Lake Annecy, contemplated renting a little motorboat for an hour but decided to explore on foot. We planned on paying for a visit to the Chateau, Museum, and old Fort, however, it was the first Sunday of the month so we saw all 3 sites free of charge.

Annecy Chateau

5 senses of the day

Sight: There were lots of sights to choose from today. There was a beautiful, private chateau right on Lake Annecy near the park where folks were picnicking, reading, lying around, and playing games. I was hoping to visit the chateau but it turned out to be a Covid-19 lab. Annecy is considered the Venice of France because of the beautiful canals through the town. It was really spectacular to be near the water that ran below the streets.
Taste: We caught the Sunday market when we arrived in Annecy. There was a French food paste that we tasted from a local vendor. The paste was similar to homemade fruit strips. We brought home mango, raspberry, and orange paste to our family. They also had savory flavors like tomato-basil and olive. The other favorite taste of the day was the first ice cream of the trip! The sun was out and the ice cream lines were long. The wait was worth every moment and the ice cream was delicious. We were even given one free scoop each on top of our scoops. We sat and watched the birds as we ate our ice cream (way before dinner).
Touch: When visiting the Annecy chateau (built between the 12th and 16th centuries), the spiral staircase was cool to the touch even on a warm day. This staircase was similar to others during the time in that it went upwards in a clockwise fashion. This was intentional to deter attackers. Since most were right-handed, when moving up the stairs, they couldn’t fully swing their swords in their right hands, while defenders descending could maneuver their swords fully.
Sound: We heard lots of different languages spoken along the streets of Annecy. It was fun to hear!
Scent: There were lots of smells of pizza and grilling. These smells made us excited to eat lunch and dinner!

Day 3, Monday
1st Cyling day | Geneva - Seyssel

It was raining when we got up, well, pouring. We knew we’d be soaked no matter what we wore so we adjusted our
expectations for the day. We grabbed some snacks the day before at the grocery because most places and sites were
closed along the route. We knew we may be eating under an awning of a closed shop and as long as we were together,
we’re just fine with this. We’re here for the experience and nothing like starting the 1st cycling day with torrential rain to make
for a memorable story. We had a briefing with Bruno, got a picture with him, then we we’re on our way.

The first part of the tour was only difficult because it was chilly and we had to adjust to being wet. We stopped at mile 10 at a
lone café and took seats by a radiator. We warmed our hands up while we ate croissants. We continued until we passed a
car rest stop. A boulangerie was open and it was our second stop for the day. Energized by our pastries, we rode on until we
reached the hotel. By the end of the evening, we were in dry clothes and ready for dinner at the hotel. After dinner, we spent
the next few hours rotating our cycling clothes on the towel warmer in the bathroom. We were also lucky enough to have a
hairdryer to dry out our shoes for the most part. It was such a good memory to share together. The hotel was situated over
the water, and we could see the bridge to cross to the other side of town. It was a lovely site even in the rain.

View from our hotel room for the evening

5 senses of the day

Sight: Even in the rain, the view of the countryside leaving Geneva was magical, so lush and green. Another fun site was a large Fort tucked away in a valley between 2 mountains. As we made it over the pass, the Fort was much larger than it originally appeared. It was closed so we couldn’t visit.
Taste: We shared a pain au chocolate and another pastry at a rest stop at 3pm. They were delicious and helped the espressos go down smoothly.
Touch: The rain is what stands out the most. Our bikes didn’t have front fenders so the ground water was soaking our faces. We looked like drenched rats at the end of the day. The radiator a 3rd of the way through the day was definitely a highlight!

Sound: Again, the rain was the winning theme of the day. However, the unlocking of the hotel room after the longest riding day and in pouring rain was a close second to the sound of rain. I wanted to stay awake until 1 am so we could chat with my girls after they got out of daycare. It was the last night of their 3rd year, and tomorrow, they would be 4 years old. After we talked to them and they asked their 20 questions, we turned in. Since we were overtired, it was difficult to fall asleep. My sister cracked the patio door to let in some fresh air. The rain had stopped at this point but no sooner than we put a rain sound on the phone to help the silence, the rain started again outside. She turned the app off, we both giggled and fell off to sleep.
Scent: Honestly, we don’t remember a single smell from today’s ride.

Day 4, Tuesday
2nd Cyling day | Seyssel - Aix Les Bains

We checked the weather today and noticed a break in the rain in the late morning. So, we had a relaxing breakfast, did a
little work, took a 20-min nap, then packed up and started our cycling day. We were relieved the weather was better than
yesterday. We only caught a couple of showers today! We finished the ride in “X”. It was a perfectly quaint spa town. Our
hotel was very close to the water and about a 40-min walk from the old town. We took a bus for a couple of dollars to the old
town. It was a short 10-min ride. We didn’t realize the last bus ran before we were out of dinner. It gave a chance to find ice
cream and have a brisk walk back to the hotel stretching our sore muscles as we walked!

Lake Bourget

5 senses of the day

Sight: We followed Lake Bourget for the majority of the day. It’s the largest glacial lake in France. It was gorgeous and we never tired of looking at it. We saw numerous chateaus and a large abbey as we were traveling along the lake. Unfortunately, they were closed because it was too early in the season.
Taste: As we were starting to get rained on mid-afternoon, we came to Chanaz. It was cute, small village with a pizzeria that was open. Perfect timing for us to eat and wait out the rain. The staff were kind and encouraged us to have the pizza and a delicious salad. We sat outside under cover, along the river watching the rain pass through.
Touch: The feeling of the hot tub at the hotel was very nice on the muscles and our cold hands and feet, and it helped us in a good night’s sleep.
Sound: We could hear the sounds around us today! Yesterday, we only heard the rain and the wind. It was nice to hear birds, other travelers passing, laughter, and ducks flapping in the lake.
Scent: The smell of the flowers in bloom as we passed through small villages. After the rain, the flowers were vibrant. We had time to stop and smell the flowers as we wished.

Lunch in Chanaz

Day 5, Wednesday
3rd Cyling day | Aix Les Bains - Saint Helene sur Isere

Today’s ride was mostly cloudy and only a slight mist every now and again. It’s amazing how happy one feels when the
weather is cloudy but not rainy, only after enduring the rain! Although today was a holiday and most things were closed, we
were able to visit a few sites. We caught a community wide yard sale in Chignin in the middle of the day. There were cars
parked for miles. Since most were out of work and school was closed, the sale brought out folks from communities all
around. We parked our bikes and walked around a bit before we continued traveling on.

We biked up the mountain to the Moulin Chateau which was having a medieval demonstration throughout the castle for the
day. The volunteers were dressed in medieval garb giving tours (in French), demonstrating jousting tournaments,
bow-and-arrow practice, and had tents set up to showcase live in earlier times. It was a unique experience to witness. We
also caught a community wide yard sale in Chignin in the middle of the day. There were cars parked for miles. Since most
were out of work and school was closed, the sale brought out folks from communities all around. We parked our bikes and
walked around a bit before we continued traveling on. This day was really interesting because the towns we traveled through
were some of the oldest in the area established around the 8th century. At the end of the day, we arrived in a beautiful

View from our hotel balcony

chalet-like hotel. There were no other businesses around and the restaurant was closed, however, the chef (and owner)
prepared us meals ahead for our dinner. We were grateful for the dishes and we sat on our balcony looking at the Alps that
seemed right out of reach.


5 senses of the day

Sight: The medieval-style villages we passed through were among the oldest including Chignin and Chambery. We saw lots of vineyards on mountainsides as well.
Taste: Most places were closed today but we didn’t realize it until we started biking. After biking more miles to find food than expected, we saw a Lidl. We parked our bikes, grabbed some snacks, and ate on a curb in the parking lot. We were content to have our bellies filled and our thirst quenched.
Touch: It was cool to climb one of the towers of the castle and touch the walls. It’s amazing to think about how old the rocks are that we were standing on, and how they were carried all the way up the mountain. It made me thankful for easier transportation today.
Sound: We saw so many hang gliders today. There were dozens and dozens of them. As we moved down the mountains, we could hear the folks on the ground clapping for the landing gliders. It seemed they came from all sides of the mountain today. It was an incredible experience.
Scent: We could smell burning firewood through villages and in the chateau during the demonstration. The smell made us feel cozy and warm even though we weren’t particularly warm.

Overlooking inside the Castle

Day 6, Thursday
4th Cyling day |Saint Helene sur Isere - Annecy

Today was our last cycling day and I think it was the perfect number of days to ride. Most of today’s ride was on bike paths
through forests and following rivers. We really felt like we were right below the Alps on the ride today. So many beautiful
mountain faces, more hang gliders, and we took a detour to explore a cave, a waterfall, and we ziplined over it, then had
lunch in a nearby café. It was sunny the entire day and we loved every second of the day.

This tour wouldn’t have been as pleasant for me with a standard hybrid bike. We rented eBikes which makes the tour more
accessible and we had enough left in us to finish out the day and week without issue. I think we were able to really enjoy
ourselves and not be concerned about detours simply because we had eBikes and felt like we could keep moving without
being too exhausted.

Walking around Lake Annecy

5 senses of the day

Sight: Wow, today was picturesque the entire ride. There were lush valleys dotted between the Alps. It was also a delight to see many folks on the bike paths. We rode on one bike path for the last 8 miles into Annecy. There were all types of cyclists out – families, babies on tagalongs, kids learning to ride without training wheels, road cyclists, bikes fitted for adults to carry their parents, and commuters. It was incredible to see so many people utilizing the paths. As we were riding we couldn’t get over the
Taste: Everything tasted sweeter today because of the sunshine. Oh, we got to try fresh carbonara that was spun in a large parmesan cheese wheel. It was tasty and a great experience.
Touch: We felt the sun and the headwind today. It was the windiest day and the sunniest. Today was the flattest of the rides but because of the headwind, we burned more battery than any other day. We had a few road cyclists drafting off of us on the paths to avoid pushing into the wind. It was magical getting to see everything in full sun, though.
Sound: There were the endless sounds of rushing water throughout our journey today. From streams, creeks, and rivers to Lake Annecy –named the cleanest lake in Europe.
Scent: The smell of people grilling out was overwhelming in the best way. We saw families picnicking, friends gathering around the grill, and firefighters grilling behind their stations. It was a perfect spring day along Lake Annecy to take advantage of the warmer weather and sunny skies.

Sunny skies

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Tags from the story:

Switzerland, France

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