Wednesday, May 31

Weekend in Amsterdam

Canal housesWe spent last weekend in Amsterdam. It's a great city and quite different to others we've visited. The canals, canal houses, houseboats, bicycles, coffeeshops and red light district, all make for a unique and interesting place!

The weather on Saturday was a bit cold and rainy, good for museum visiting. We saw paintings by the Dutch Masters at the beautiful Rijksmuseum and had an emotional visit to the Anne Frank house.

We also did a hour long cruise of the canals and visited the Houseboat museum. There are about 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam and they sell from about €200,000, witFlower Market, Amsterdamh annual mooring fees of €400+. Apart from the disadvantage of minimal privacy and limited space, you also have to send your houseboat to the shipping yard every 3 years for maintenance. I like that it's different.... but not the life for me.

After breakfast on Sunday, we walked around the flower market (past an Australian icecream shop?) and visited the Amsterdam Historic Museum. Here you get to learn all about how Amsterdam grew into a massive shipping port and a key player in world trade. The city is built on peat bog with wood /cement pillars driven about 40m into the ground to provide the foundation.Cycling down the canal It seems pretty stable to me, perhaps not if we'd been visiting any of the coffee shops.

The sky was almost clear, so it was time to get away from museums and do some outdoor activity. We hired a canal bike (pedal boat) and cruised around the canals for an hour. It was quite difficult to steer, so we had some challenging moments, especially when I took hold of the wheel ( looked easy!)!

Amsterdam Red Light DistrictI'd been told the Red Light District is something to be seen, but without a guidebook, I didn't think we'd ever find it (the tourist office doesn't exactly advertise it!). Leaving the city to go back to our hotel on Sunday night, we followed a group of tourists and stumbled upon the famous area. It certainly was a sight to see!

On Monday morning it was back to Geneva and back to work. We woke up at 6am in Amsterdam and thanks to EasyJet being on time, I was back at my desk in Geneva by 10.30am - amazing!

Click here for all the photos our our visit to Amsterdam.

Saturday, May 27

20km walk around Geneva

The mighty Rhone
Originally uploaded by Jess & Peter.

Thursday was a public holiday in Geneva and Peter and I went for a 5.5 hour hike around the countryside. We followed the river Allondon to where it joined the Rhone (see picture). It was a beautiful day and an exhausting walk! If you have 2 mins to look at the pictures we took of the beautiful surroundings, check out the slideshow on flickr.

It's now Saturday morning and we are about to head to the airport to go Amsterdam for the weekend!

Sunday, May 21

Cycling along the Rhone

Go to our Cycling Across Europe blog for detailed information about cycling along the River Rhone.

Cycling along Rhone near Swiss/French borderLast weekend we started our new cycling project: to follow the Rhone river from Geneva, through France to the Mediterranean sea. Tacked onto the trip we did along the Swiss part of the Rhone last summer, this is a total of 820 km.

On Saturday we battled hills, headwind and rain to get 79 km down river to a town in France called Culoz. We were hoping to stay there and continue the next day, but luck had it that there was no accommodation and we had to catch the train home.

We will tackle the next section of the ride in July/August. The next few weekends are booked up with a trip to Amsterdam (27 May), then Paris for the French Open (couldn't resist this year) followed by a drive to Germany for the World Cup (Australia vs Japan)! After a couple of months rest, we have the travel bug again. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 14

A weekend of camping in Annecy

Our campsite at La Ferme camping groundOn the last weekend in April we dusted off the camping gear and went to Annecy for a weekend of camping and cycling. Bob and Zydre joined us, recently returned from their home leave in Australia.

We set up our tents at 'La Ferme', a camping ground towards the end of the lake. It was early in the camping season, so much so that we were the only ones there! Bike path around Lake AnnecyThe weather was beautiful during the day, but it was a little chilly at night.

The bike path along Lake Annecy is one of the best we've been on. It's completely off-road and was swarming with cyclists and in-line skaters.

The path follows an old railway line and even goes through a tunnel. The trip into Annecy was about 17kms from where we were camped, making it a 35 km ride aller-retour.

CampfireOnce back at our campsite, we enjoyed a BBQ dinner with some wine and a campfire to keep us warm. The night was cold, but we all awoke in a good mood, especially after a hot cuppa and some breakfast.

Sunday was another beautiful day and rather than cycling again, we opted for a day of rest and tourism. About 10km outside of Annecy are the Gorges du Fier, which Bob and Zydre suggested we visit, as they'd been there before. Gorges du Fier

It's an amazing site, where the river has carved out a 70 metre deep gorge that ranges from 2-15 metres wide. A narrow but safe walkway has been built 27 metres above the water level, allowing people to walk through the gorge.

Gorges du Fier

Due to flooding during winter, the gorge is closed for half the year. You can see trees and debris from earlier floods stuck on high ledges. Along the walkway are markers that indicate the height of the flood water, well above the walkway we were standing on.

Gorges du FierAnnecy has always been on the list of must-see places for our visitors and now the Gorges du Fier are on the list too!

Jess at Gorges du Fier