Tuesday, July 17, 2007

European Journey: Part III

The final part of my journey was the drive Grenoble to Geneva airport. Normally I leave the office, head across town and take the A41 towards Chambery. Some mapping systems suggest going on the A48 north-west from Grenoble and then taking the A43 to Chambery - this has never seemed entirely sensible to me. However this time, filled with the sense of adventure instilled by my drive across the Alps to Grenoble, I decided to try a more interesting route than normal, driving across the Charteuse to Chambery.

Before talking about the drive, perhaps I should say something about the car. Two weeks prior to this trip I'd made a trip to Grenoble via Geneva as usual. I'd hired a grey (I think the technical term is "silver") VW Golf about which I'd felt very neutral (- can you feel "very neutral"?). This time, I'd swear I got precisely the same car. Certainly it felt comfortingly familiar as I drove out of the airport.

In fact, it felt very quiet and comfortable all the way to Milan. It seemed to hold its own against the maniac lorries of Turin-Milan autostrada. I must admit to a couple of past relationships with VW Golfs. The first was an eight-value Mk II GTI, OK but nothing special. The second was with a bright red, four door, sixteen value GTI. This was the real thing, true love. A great car. Of course, my hire Golf was not in the same league, but it had a recognisable surefootedness. My trip over the Cols would have been unpleasant in any less secure car.

But back to the trip back from Grenoble.... I left the office with plenty enough time to get to Geneva and make my flight - if I went my normal route. Going across the Chartreuse looked like it would also be OK timewise, but you can't be sure, even after consulting both a GPS and Google maps. The weather was fine so I set out to take the interesting route. The route proved to be very pleasant, traffic free most of the way, and through fine countryside. It also only took a fraction longer than my usual route.

From Chambery you can take the autoroute all the way to Geneva. However I nearly always choose, as I did on this occasion, to take the N201 over the Pont de la Caille. Actually, the N201 goes alongside the Pont de la Caille (1839) on a more recent (1939) concrete bridge. It won't be too long before even the new bridge loses most of its traffic. There is a new section of autoroute being constructed follows approximately the same route as the N201 - except partly underground. The construction involves building a new bridge and a big new tunnel - impressive civil engineering.

So, after driving about 900 km, I returned the car at the airport and headed home.


omnivorist said...

There's something in this post that really intrigues me. There is a reference to an 8-VALUE VW Golf, followed closely by a similar reference to a 16-VALUE Golf.

Now, a single typo like this, would be understandable - but the second seems unlikely. It's not as if 'u' is next to 'v' on the keyboard.

Did you write your blog in longhand before scanning it in and sending it through an OCR program?

Or maybe you had someone else type it in for you - someone for whom english is not a first language.

Or .... no, I have it. You wrote in on the plane home, on your PDA using the letter recognition software.

Excuse the Sherlock Holmes impulse.

Roger said...

Well I appeciate the comment. It shows how badly I proof-read. Actually, I was really obsessed with getting the maps working and didn't pay attention to the text.

What really worries me is that I can't see the map! I'm using IE rather than my normal Firefox. Something else to check when I get home.

So, to be clear, I didn't edit this on my pda.

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