Friday, December 29, 2017

Last ride of the AWOL - Geneva, Switzerland

I started the morning casually with light breakfast and a quick spin on my bicycle to check out a few other spots in Annecy before beginning my three hour ride deeper into the Alps.  My heading was set northward as I entered the Swiss Plateau with my destination to be the Peace Capital of the World and the home to the United Nations - Geneva.  That morning's ride was phenomenal as I wound around bends and across bridges of this alpine byway taking me to the shores of yet another breath-taking lake with the sun shining down on my back.  This could not have been any more perfect for a bike ride on my AWOL.                                                                                                                                                                           Little did I know that this ride was going to be my last.  

I had made my Couchsurfing arrangements once I got to Annecy in hopes of preventing the panic that I put myself in when arriving there.  I found a graduate student that was willing to share his apartment in the heart of Genève for the night before my much anticipated lakeside bike ride to Lausanne.  Knowing that he was not going to be home until around dinner time, I made my ride casual as I crossed the border from France into Switzerland.  I took detours to international cemeteries, riverfront parks, and a few vantage points to take in the city on a wonderful Wednesday afternoon.  As the sun reached down to the Jura mountains to the west I began my finding my way to the across the Arve to unload my gear for the evening.  Once my bicycle and I were free of my bag and cart, I parted ways with my host for he was having a night out on the town with friends being the next day was a city holiday and I had a check list of places to see for myself!  My camera and tripod snugly fit around my torso,  I was ready to be off for an after-dark tour of Geneva but first dinner on the lakefront was in order!  Once my belly was filled with an array of local cheeses and an entree of baked onions stuffed with spiced chicken and more cheese topped with a savory glaze, I was ready to get some sightseeing in and a quick visit to a potential future employer - The United Nations.      

Once I heard the bells of the cathedral sound eleven strikes, I knew I ought to be heading back for the night to meet up with my host and then get some rest for the big ride the next morning.  Getting to the apartment at about the same time, I locked up my bicycle on the rack in front of the building door and headed in for the night.  Come morning, we had breakfast with one of his friends who was from India and we excitedly talked about my upcoming travels there until I realized I needed to get on the road.  As we passed through the door, I looked to where my bike should have been and then the wave of terror hit me.  My customized AWOL bicycle had gone.... AWOL!  My host, trying to calm my rapidly growing panic, reassured me that it was somewhere.  He knew it had to be because he watched me lock the cable through my frame and double check the lock before we headed in for the night.  My heart sinking to the lowest depths all while almost beating out of my chest, we began our search for my bike.  We checked EVERY bike rack in the vicinity, asked the apartment building attendants, up and down, left and right to no avail.  After I had come to terms with my bike wandering off "under new ownership", I asked my host to take me to a police station so I could file a report in hopes of collecting insurance on my custom-fit and custom-built bicycle.  There was our next problem.  When Geneva has a city holiday, they are serious about it being a holiday.  Every police station we went to was closed for the day until a local informed us that the one in the main train station would be manned on this holiday.  Well, I needed to go there anyway being that was going to be my ride from there on out and so my #WorldTour2015 bicycle tour came to an end but the journey across the globe continued nonetheless!

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