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Day 14 Pontarlier to Lausanne

Barbican gate at the entrance to Pontarlier . Rebuilt after a major fire in 1736

Having said farewell to my two musketeers (Scott G. and Mark S. aka "The Broken One") late in the day, and given it was raining sideways and 5 degrees C I dumped the idea of pressing on any further and sought refuge in Pontarlier.

Three things I didn't know (and am betting you didn't either) about Pontarlier.

1. The city of Pontarlier is briefly mentioned in Les Miserables as it was to this city that convict jean Valjean was to report for his parole after being released from the galleys. Breaking these instructions was a major turning point in the novel and creates some major conflict for Valjean later in the story (wikipedia)

2. Pontarlier was famous for the production of absinthe until it was banned in 1915. They then switched to making pastis. Once the ban was lifted in the 1990's production recommenced.

3. The average rating of all the hotels in Pontarlier is 3 star and the average price per night is 67 EUR.

The rain from the previous day had not relented when I set off this morning and after a brief roll along the valley floor the next 15km were all up hill and into the guts of the Jura mountains. So called because they date back to the Jurassic period making them some of the oldest mountains on planet earth. Their age is defined best by their appearance. They are flat at the highest points unlike the 'younger' mountains of the Alps which have abrupt peaks. Flattened, it is said, by the many dinosaurs whose footprints litter the area. (I kid you not)

Fort de Joux sits proudly on the outskirts of Pontarlier

A few weeks ago, when hearing we were planning to ride together, Sara S. (mother of Mark S. ..aka ..'The Broken One') warned her son and I that we were heading into the Jura mountains which she proclaimed ''..are high enough to have ski fields ''. Looking at google maps that looked improbable and we poo-poo'd the concept. Well Sara S. to you go my most humble apologies and once again profound respect for your abundance of wisdom and knowledge. It was a definite first for me. Cycling a tarmac road UNDER a ski lift.

Into the mist and onto the summit he rode ....

Someone on the local roadworks council got excited about something ....

SWITZERLAND. After 23 km of rain drenched and mist filled forest ways since leaving Pontarlier I arrived at the French - Swiss Border. Again, I kid you not, it was like riding into a warming hut as soon as I crossed the border. The rain disappeared, the sun shone and it felt like I had entered another world.

That heavy duty rain jacket was a mere km away from being dispensed with as I crossed the border ....

There's something pleasurable in looking at vast engineering projects close up. Then again I might just be a road nerd ....

Just in case you didn't know ....

The only piece of social rebellion I have seen in my eight hours since arriving here. Interestingly (or not) I AGREE with the sentiment of the message ....

The clock ticks down to the next Olympics. That being the next Winter Olympics which are been hosted by South Korea. Yup. Winter Olympics in Korea. That is, if it is still there ....

Facts about Lausanne you may not know

It is on Lake Geneva

It is home to the IOC and the Olympic Museum

Its gothic cathedral was built in the 12th century and built as it is on one of the highest points of the city offers great views if you are ever planning to visit.

It is has a very large University student population

Its 3 star hotels have an average nightly price of EUR 142

It is in the canton of Vaud so car licence plates are prefixed VD. Unfortunate that!

It was originally a Roman military camp

It is VERY hilly

ALL public transport within a 10km radius of the city is free to visitors for 14 days from your arrival

Tram drivers don't like it when an Aussie cyclist dares to place one foot into their tram line zone.

Hill of the day - The 14km roll DOWN from the border into the Vaud basin

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