By pandammonium


Run, run, run

We went for a run this morning along the lake and through the park. I needed to rest a few times, but even though the altitude is considerably lower than in Chamonix, it's still plenty higher than what I'm used to. It was a nice run, pretty much bang on 5 km (3.1 miles).


There are a load of bridges over the River Rhône where it leaves Lake Geneva, so we thought we'd cross a few until we found the confluence of the L'Arve (yes, I know what I did there) and the Rhône.

We saw a statue of Jean-Jaques Rousseau, a philosopher, and another tied-up gun on Rousseau Island, connected to either side of the Rhône by one of the bridges.

Eventually, we ran out of bridges, and walked eastwards along the north bank of the river. It was pretty, enough but it soon turned to steep ups and steep downs, and I didn't even have my poles with me! The dozens of runners who overtook us didn't even break stride, but I most certainly did, although I felt a bit of an eejit for taking baby steps.


We reached a concrete platform at the bottom of a strange concrete building, graffitied from head to toe. Most runners emerging from the river bank headed up the steps around the outside of the building. Looking at the river, we'd found the confluence of the L'Arve and the Rhône.


We could tell it was the confluence of the L'Arve and the Rhône because the L'Arve was still as silty-green as it had been in Chamonix and the Rhône was still dark, as it had been since leaving the clear waters of Lake Geneva, as they flowed alongside each other. But why weren't they mixing?

We climbed up the steps round the strange concrete building, with runners overtaking, of course, where I found an open door. I had a neb inside, but it was the type of inside that is uninviting, so I didn't go in.

The path led to a pedestrian–rail bridge (shown in the main photo), a type of bridge I've never seen before. The two traffic types were separated by a flimsy fence, and the trains were close and loud as they rushed onwards.

From our vantage point through a widening in the railings, we could see the confluence clearly (see extra 1). It was like nothing I've ever seen before; the difference between the two rivers striking. We saw why they didn't mix till after the bridge: there's a wall between them. On the other side of the bridge, the two rivers finally begin to mingle.

Fear and recovery

On the other side of the bridge, we had to climb even further up – up a series of hairpin bends, which the runners, of course, made no fuss over. I was glad to see a café–bar at the top. It seemed a deserted place to put it at first, but then we saw houses nearby, and a lot of passers-by. We sat outside in the sun with our beers and our bill, as usual.

What is it?

Reaching the waterside once again, we crossed a bridge over the L'Arve, then walked through a weird place – not entirely industrial, not entirely retail, not entirely residential, not entirely leisure – with a dodgy vibe to get to the tip of land where the L'Arve and the Rhône met (the middle of the M in extra 1). The wall and the contrast in clarity of the two rivers were even more obvious (see extra 2). We also got a better view of the strange concrete building (see extra 3).


Back in town, we had another beer (outside, with the bill) and planned our next move. I wanted a ride on the tram (only partly to make use of our free tickets), so we worked out which one to get and to where, then set off.


We visited a park with a huge frieze all about the Reformation in Europe as Christianity broke away from Rome and the Pope. There were also a lots of busts of blokes, but we couldn't tell their significance to anything because their plaques were written in French.

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