Switzerland and France

As the nights got colder and getting a good sleep in a sleeping bag while breastfeeding is not easy, more and more of our budget went into airbnb. Since that is significantly more expensive than camping, we decided that Simon would travel alone to Barcelona via Switzerland and France to Spain with the cargobike and the trailor, while the others would take a break in Berlin and join Simon in Barcelona a few weeks later.

One passenger with 2 bikes and a trailer? Why not!

So to not make it too easy, Simon took a bike for his god-child in Zürich, the cargobike and the trailer and put all that onto a train to Switzerland. From Zürich he continued directly to the picturesque village of Wengen where he spent a days with an old bikepacking companion. There they cycled through the clouds up to Kleine Scheidegg and enjoyed wandering the mountains next to Lauterbrunnen.

Cycling up to Eiger

From Wengen, Simon dropped by a new cohousing project next to Interlaken called Lebensraum Belmont who bought up a former hotel and transformed the space into an intergenerational space for living. Then he cycled over to Bern and Moutier in order to visit other friends from the time he lived in Neuchatel and in Ittigen.


Then Simon spent about a week with his friends in Geneva, where he once worked as a bike messenger in order to finance his academic studies. It was great to be able to come back and find so many friends who reacted to his calls to meet up even though the temperatures made it more and more difficult to meet up with people that do not dispose of a sanitary pass.

Sauna on the lake of Geneva

Another friend from Geneva welcomed Simon in Die in the Drome valley, where they took a tent and good sleeping bags to hike the Dome and spend a windy and cold night next to its peak. Quite an adventure to keep us warm with a nice fire while the wind chilled us quite a bit 🙂 – Although well equipped to not freeze at night, the wind let us sleep little, but the beauty of the Plateau du Vercors made us forget our lack of sleep immediately.

Plateau du Vercors seen from Dôme

Then Simon took off towards Montelimar in order to penetrate the mountains of the Southern Ardeche, where he visited an ecovillage called Hameau des Buis (goats, vegetables and a beautiful river) and picked his first mushrooms and milked a goat for the first time in his life. A bit further down south, he spent a night with the Tribu Vivace specializing in the construction of yurts on the outskirts of the Cevennes. From there he hopped onto trains that were supposed to take him from Ales to Millau. A delayed train made the SNCF pay for a night in a cheap hotel in Bezier though.

Yurt for a night

The next days were full of long slopes taking Simon through the natural parc of the Great Causses to the Oasis Lentiourel (suitable for long-term retreats), the Ecohameau les 3 Sources (focus on group therapy), the Ecohameau de Barthès (a couple of a botanist and a sexologist giving workshops on yoga, personal development and eco-construction with a forest garden where they manage to grow tea) and to a co-housing project next to Puybegon (former farm with land where they want to grow wine which he found in the Passerelle Eco because they are looking for people to move and buy in).
Especially in Puybegon, Simon felt at home instantly and was quite inspired by the energy deployed by people who create places according to their dreams rather than arranging their dreams to what seems the way of least resistance.

Wine measuring

For various reasons (risk of being turned down, difficulty of foreseeing when he would arrive etc.), Simon never bothered to get in touch with any of these places before showing up but never had trouble to be allowed to spend a night or two.

From Puybegon, Simon continued to the Garonne south of Toulouse where he showed up at two locations who had nothing but the name in common with the places he wanted to visit. However one of these “explorations” made him pass by the Hyperloop of Toulouse which is one of the forerunners of a potential future form of ground-bound highspeed transportation. Fortunately, the an01 was where Simon looked for it, another place with a lot of room to live in and very well connected by train from Toulouse.

Hyper loop Toulouse

That long day was crowned by the first time an ecovillage turned him down because they were overcrowded, so Simon went charge the bike’s batteries in a restaurant and cycled the remaining 20 km through a cold night up to Mas d’Azil in Ariège, where he had just managed to get in touch with an old acquaintance from Geneva. Once more he was warmly welcomed and spent a few days on the outskirts of the Pyrenees, exploring local beer and the famous prehistoric findings of the cave of Mas d’Azil.

Europe’s only road running through a prehistoric cave

The final stage was a night at Les Cabanes de Sainte Camille, who are also looking for newcomers.

More fotos here.

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