The diversity of sights on my recent tour from Florence, Italy to Bern, Switzerland via the French Alps (May-June, 2019) was amazing. The tour spanned rugged Italian coastlines, Appenine passes, vineyards, Alpine crossings, lakes, and more. I took about 2000 photos. In order to provide look at what I saw, I've selected 56 of the best pictures.
The first photo I took was this pretty fountain in Florence's Fortezza da Basso.
On that first day, I climbed the hills west of Florence and got this view looking across the valley at the distant mountains to the northeast.
On the next day, I rode through the walled city of Lucca with its stunning cathederal.
The next morning, I took the long beach bike path north from Viareggio and got this sea to mountain vista.
At the end of the bike path, I looked over the sea and up the hilly coastline toward the Cinque Terre.
Noticing little things while riding is one of the joys of bike touring. These unintentioned leaf silouettes caught my eye.
The first pass I climbed was the Passo del Bracco, in the hills above the Cinque Terre. I took this photo looking northeast at the big mountains further inland.
Once over the pass, I got sea views on the way down. This dark photo shows the coastal terrain towards Genoa.
I spent 2 nights in Chiavari just north of the Torrente Entella.
My first rest day was spent walking along the Cinque Terre, a set of 5 villages perched on the steep seaside cliffs south of Chiavari.
I had lunch in Vernazza, the second of the 5 villages (going north to south).
There is a coastal path (that requires a fee to access) that connects all 5 villages. Here is a look south toward Vernazza and Corniglia.
I followed the Torrente Entella up into the hills and then the Fiume Scrivia north to avoid the craziness that is Genoa.
My favorite wild flower, the red poppy, was out in force. This patch on the side of busy highway took my mind off the cars for a short while.
I took a train and spent a day hunkered down inside to let a 2-day rainstorm pass. My assault on the Alps started the next day. The new yellow leaves of these trees made for a pretty contrast to the green hills.
The tops of the big peaks were covered in snow and made for wonderful images.
Climbing from Italy to France required cresting 2 alpine passes (Sestriere and Montgenevre). This stunning vista is on the way up to Sestriere.
The wonderful views continued as I coasted down after Sestriere, a deserted ski resort this time of year.
The ride up the second pass was a long, hot grind with stunning visuals.
My stop this night was Briancon, the highest city in France. This is my first good look at it nestled below jutting, snow-covered mountains.
The next day was the highest pass of my trip, the Col du Lautaret (2058 meters). I followed the Guisane River up its valley with steep dry mountains on the north side
and snowy peaks on the other.
The sweeping views were breathtaking (and I was definitely taking as much breath as I could!)
Near the top, everywhere I looked was snow.
The way down was through the Romanche River gorge whose steep sides were littered with stunning waterfalls.
The burbling, gushing Romanche was right next to the road.
I stopped counting after 15.
I spent 2 nights in Bourg d'Oisans, a small town surrounded by towering peaks. Then, I continued following the Romanche, riding on a riverside path just out of Bourg d'Oisans.
Grenoble is at the base of several large massifs and next to the Isere River. This photo from a bike path along the river gives a good idea of the terrain.
I rode along the massif north of Grenoble, the Parc naturel regional de Chartreuse, where I saw this wonderful waterfall.
It rained as I approached the Lac du Bourget where I spent the night in Aix-les-Bains.
The next day it was sunny and I got this panorama of the lake.
I rode up to the Pont de l'Abime (The Abyss Bridge), which spans the Gorges du Cheran.
I rode up the west side of Lake Annecy and got this cross-lake mountain vista.
Past the lake, I rode a bike path up a beautiful valley between green-sided craggy mountains all the way to Albertville.
After a day of rest on a rainy day, I rode over the hills above the L'Arly river. This is one of the mountain vistas looking across the river's valley.
The top of the climb was the ski resort town of Megeve that is split by the Planay river.
The views of the peaks over the Arve on the way down were jaw-dropping. Here is the Pointe de Plate towering over the valley.
Befort starting the hard (double) climb up to Chamonix, I rode past the reflective Lac de Passy.
View of Mont Blanc from the banks of the Arly river.
Near Chamonix is the Lacs des Gaillands.
I spent a day off the bike hiking up to the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) glacier.
Along the way, I got this look back at Chamonix and
A good view of the mountain tops across the valley.
To exit France, I had to climb (my last) two alpine passes. The climb up the second one, the Forclaz, offered fabulous views to gaze upon while I rested by the side of the road.
The Forclaz Pass looks down into the Rhone Valley where Martigny sits. The white in the distance is snow, not clouds.
I turned left at Martigny and continued down the Rhone where I saw this gushing waterfall.
The Rhone River, which empties into Lake Geneva, is surrounded by high peaks.
I saw this pretty cascade under a bridge in Montreux.
The south end of Lake Geneva is bordered by snow-capped mountains whose steep sides plunge into the lake.
The Lake Geneva shoreline path is dotted with attractive art.
The shoreline path isn't all glitz and glamour. This was the next photo I took.
I spent that night in Evian-les-Bains where my hotel overlooked the center of town.
From Evian-les-Bains I rode to Fribourg and got this view over the Sarine River.
My trip ended in Bern where the milky Aare River flows through the city.
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Copyright © 2007 by Ray Swartz