Day 0: Vouvry.

GR5 Map

Three airplane flights, three train rides and I have reached the starting point of my GR5 route just after 6 pm on Saturday, August, 1.  It is a small town of Saint Gingolph on the Lac Leman (aka Lake Geneva).

By the way, I had an interesting experience buying the train ticket to this town at the Geneva Airport station.  No matter how I would say St Gingolph, the ticket lady would not know it.  Only after I wrote it down she said: Ah... SAHNzhahn GOHLF! (with a very soft L).  I am looking forward to many more French lessons to come.

Anyway, it turned out that the only two hotels on the French side of town and a single one on the Swiss side were "complet" = no vacancy. 

The Swiss Post bus driver knew several words of English, had 20 minutes to kill and was just a great guy.  He walked with me down to the restaurant, asked for the phone book and called the hotels in nearby villages.  Eventually he found a vacancy in Vouvry and somebody down there who spoke enough English so I could make a reservation over the driver's cell phone.  His bus took me to some train station from where after a short train ride I got to this Auberge de Vouvry hotel. 

I am sitting now outside a brasserie having my late dinner.  People around me are celebrating some major Swiss national holiday.  A lot of fireworks... and it feels like the Independence Day which leads me to a comment on my trip planning.

So, all the stores in Switzerland were closed today.  I had a great detailed plan when and where I will buy my walking poles and trail food today.  Partially it worked great.  I found the stores in Geneva which I planned to use all right, only to see them closed.  Just missed this little piece of information in my planning... So no walking poles and no trail food for now.  But the good news is that I will have my breakfast here in the hotel.