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.