Is it just me, or does anyone else find it sort of fun to cross a national border? To me, its as close as most of us will ever get to the whole “that’s one small step for man…” thing that has the added benefit of not requiring one to leave the planet. Living here in Geneva, I get plenty of opportunities to cross many national borders, most frequently, from Switzerland into France, since Geneva is essentially bordered on all sides by France. (It’s weird I know, but get out a map and look at it, you’ll see what I mean.)
So I decided it’d be fun to share with you my experiences of crossing the Swiss/French border via three common transportation modes.
The first video below shows me crossing the Swiss/French border in our car on a recent trip to Italy. (More on that trip, which was awesome, in a future post.) This border is always heavily patrolled by many French and Swiss border agents. I’ve traversed this border crossing just outside Geneva probably 20 times, and to my initial surprise, have never been stopped, even to show my passport.
[A SwissSojourner “travel tip”: the sign on the building to my left as I pass through that says “CHANGE”, does not indicate a place where you can convert your paper money into coins for the tolls. It is a place where you can “change” Swiss francs into Euros. I learned that the hard way from the impatient “teller” the first time I passed through. In his defense, he probably has to deal with clueless Americans like me on a far too frequent basis.]
As I’ve indicated, since Geneva is nearly surrounded on all sides by France, it’s virtually impossible to go on any kind of extended bike ride without crossing the border into France. If you are wondering how the typical cyclist – just out for a nice ride – must prepare to cross into France from Switzerland, this second video accurately illustrates a typical border crossing on two wheels.
We don’t generally walk to France very often, with one notable exception. Geneva’s local mountain, Le Saleve – which I have chronicled in previous posts – is in France, and the bus stops just short of the border, which means one has to cross the border on foot. As I said, I probably have more fun than most crossing a national border. This third video shows what I mean.