I’ve been getting interviewed again, this time so far down on the south end of Germany that I had to go into Switzerland to get there.

The most important question when going to the interview of course was if I should take my bike. I am an interminable and probably quite boring advocate of bicycles as transport but I had three trains to catch and wasn’t sure if lugging the thing all the way down there was really worth it. However, it turns out that German Railways are gradually working out that people who travel by train may cycle and offer this as a specific option when booking. Not only that but I had bike space on all the trains I travelled on.


I was glad I didn’t bring the Xtracycle though.


Basel railway station where your I changed from a German train (Right) that had just brought me through Switzerland, to the Swiss Railways local train (left) to continue the journey back into Germany.


If the Swiss provide bike spaces like this, I’m not complaining.

It also turned out that my possible employers office is right next to a wide paved cycleway, so after my interview was finished and I found myself with about 3 hours before my train, there was only one thing to do, namely follow it.

And thus it was that I accidentally entered Switzerland. The first I noticed was that the cycleway signs had changed from green to red. Once the reason for this had sunk in, I went back to take a look. There was a small sign pointing out that this was in theory a customs border, and a playground on the German side with a low fence running along the exact border, presumably so no-one inadvertently exported a football. The German and Swiss character being what it is the two countries had tarmacked the cycleway to the exact border, so there was a fine, almost invisible, and completely straight line marking the point where I’d just become foreign.

To someone who grew up with the idea that any self-respecting national border should involve about 22 miles of sea, this always comes as a shock.


I’d never cycled in Switzerland before. Not only that, this part of Switzerland is squeezed in between Germany and France, so I realised all I had to do was keep going and I’d probably run into France sooner or later, thus visiting three countries in one day.** Admittedly I didn’t have a map but France is about 640,000 km² (250,000 sq mi) so it is pretty hard to miss.

A quick look at a tourist map in the city confirmed that if I just followed the tram to the Rhine then turned right along the other side of the river, I should reach the border fairly quickly and get back in time for my train.


The French border, closed for maintenance apparently, except for weekends.


But I did ride my bike in France, if only for five metres.

In other news, the interview went well enough that I’ve been invited back to work in the company for a couple of days to ‘see how we get on with each other’. We shall see…

* It will be obvious from this that French is not one of my languages.

**I’m a geography nerd, okay?