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Europe 2004

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Journal for 8-September-2004 : Lanslebourg

Another short day, but we did climb over 1000m. We certainly aren't rushing over these cols.

Nice mornings ride on the deserted N6 (next to freeway). It seemed to climb fairly steeply, but some bits were definitely flat, next to Hydro pondages, but were still slow thanks to the headwind. The scenery was breathtaking, and it was another beautiful clear sunny late summer's day.

Just before Modane a roadworks detour sent us up and over a ridiculously steep col. 4Ks up, 3ks down (signed at 12%) to get around 2ks of roadworks, that look like (from the top) they hadn't started yet. Even the descent wasn't much fun, as lots of it was twisting through narrow one lane village streets.

Stopped several times to photograph and inspect the Fort L'Esseillon, an impressive fortification and barracks complex dating from the earliest 17th century, built to keep the Italians out of France, or the French out of Switzerland, or basically everyone out of everywhere else. Even today it looks a formidable presence.

This is the Savoie region of France, which seems to have a local emblem not entirely unlike the swiss flag. In fact we are starting to hear lots more Deutche spoken in the streets, and on the roads.

Enjoyed one last meal of camabert and French bread. We're going to have to find out what Italian peasants eat.

One last switchbacking climb from the pretty little town of Termingion has us at the ski resort town of Lanslebourg. We are the base of the main climb up the Col du Mont-Cenis, at the top of which is Italy. We decided to leave that till tomorrow.

Getting the basics organised at Lanslebourg proved a challenge for us, as most of the hotels are closing for the off season now that summer has just about ended. But to confuse us they are keeping their restaurant open, though I have no idea who there customers might be or where they stay.

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