In addition to being riding nirvana, some roads are visual paradise. The Swiss really know what’s up when it comes to paving a stunning mountain pass. When you see those serpentine terraces undulating through the trees it really gets your heart racing.
Sometimes when you look at photos it’s hard to understand how the curves all connect to one another. But I’ll tell you what, it’s sure fun figuring it all out.
You can check the pass out on Google Maps.
Greetings from Switzerland! – September 2014
Kenny and I traveled across the Simplonpass in Switzerland while heading towards the Col du Petit St. Bernard in France. Assorted pics from Simplonpass:
The bridge is called Ganterbrücke.
I’ll sign off with my favorite photo from the Simplonpass. I think it really personifies Kenny and I – two awkward geeks in love:
Following our last trip through the Alps, there were several mountain passes that we hadn’t ridden that found their way on to my riding bucket list. You know, for “next time.”
In hindsight, it’s really by the grace of the universe that there was a next time. Chalk it up to luck. Or is it something else?
Kenny and I found ourselves at the summit of the Great St. Bernard some time in the mid afternoon. We parked our bikes and strolled around taking in the sights. I bought a sticker and some postcards and resisted the chocolate.
We walked towards the lake and stood there for a few minutes among the stillness of our surroundings. The scale of mountains is so tremendous. I find it difficult not to become introspective about my place in the world when surrounded with such enduring majesty. These mountains – hard, unforgiving, beautiful in their strength. And there I am – a fragile, weak, pink thing.
I stood watching a woman walking two St. Bernards on the mountain to my right. It was then that I had a moment. Not quite an epiphany, but I came to some understanding of my existence in the split second. You can move through your life and recite things by habit. You know these things to be truths on a surface level. But then there are moments of certainty when you come to know something deeply. You feel it and know it not by rote but through some acute awareness.
I came to the simple understanding that… this is it.
This life is all there is, as far as I know. And so it’s up to me to make my life be what I want. I can sit around wishing and dreaming and filing things away to see “someday” but no one is going to bring them to my doorstep. The fear that keeps me stationary eats away my happiness.
Four years ago, I tapped away on some keys and wrote out the words “See the Great St. Bernard Pass.” As trivial as that goal might seem, as I stood watching those dogs walking along breathing in the smells of the Earth, I came to know I’d made it there of my accord. If I can do this thing – Why not anything else I decide I want? My only limitation is my will.
That’s a lot to see in a pair of dogs.
Just yesterday I read an article that pointed out what the author saw as a flaw in the bucket list process as it is often portrayed in contemporary culture:
As popularly conceived, however, the bucket list is far from being a reckoning with the weight of love in extremis, or an ethical or moral accounting. More often, it partakes of a commodification of cultural experience, in which every expedition made, and every artwork encountered, is reduced to an item on a checklist to be got through, rather than being worthy of repeated or extended engagement.
– Kicking the Bucket List by Rebecca Mead
Personally, I think this is oversimplifying the process. We can’t know what goes on in the minds and hearts of men in the quiet moments of their lives. So they said out loud, “crossed that off the bucket list”? Does that mean that whatever that thing, that act, that item from their list was doesn’t dwell deep in their imagination or actively fuel their curiosity for the rest of their days? It could be a moment in time that sets fire to a personal passion that you, as an on-looker, know nothing about.
Or,… maybe it IS gamification of life experiences.
The best part of this conversation, I suppose, is that I don’t have to give a shit about what other people are doing.
On our recent trip through the Alps, I was able to visit several things that are on my bucket list. My list, which is very meaningful to me, helps me stay organized. It helps me to remember that there are things in the vicinity of where I am that are beautiful and wonderful though maybe less than obvious.
One stop in particular seems to have created more curiosity and questions about a man than it answered. I’m not quite ready to write about it yet, so I’ll leave you with this until then…
We were in the belly of the beast.