I am back in Chamonix for a long weekend with Alexander. A quick for four days, of skiing and ski touring. I have booked into an AirB&B and Alex is staying with Chris his best man from his wedding last year. We have a grand plan to summit Mont Blanc in March/April later in the year and this will be a good test of my fitness. I’ve been ill to many times last and this year so it should be way down on when we did the Haute Route last year.
Well the Alps have had a bumper year for snow this year and we managed to get out everyday. Although we didn’t get in any real big climbing days “I happy to report” With about 600m of climbing each day. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you have a heavy backpack full of safety kit and are at altitude, it takes its toll.
Here are a few photos from the trip.
Good news is that Bettie and I have managed to book a chalet in Chamonix for March so we will be back for another month of skiing. :-).
We are now back from skiing. We left the apartment at 4:45am on Saturday. It was snowing and had been for some time. The journey started badly, there was a coach stuck on the small climbed up to our apartment. This took about 35mins for a snow plows to pull it out. We then walked down to our coach, he didn’t want to get stuck on the hill. So it was a bit disappointing for him to then get stuck at the first Conner trying to reverse back out onto the main road. 10 mins of rocking backwards and forwards going nowhere, cue for twenty blokes from the coach to just pushed it free, with the coach wheels spinning like crazy and the chains sparking of the road. The road down the mountain was then a disaster. No Gendarmerie at he bottom of the mountain stopping car without chains, leads to a succession of cars getting stuck on the way up. Other cars then try to drive around them and block the road on the way down. Especially if you’re in a very big coach.
Six “yes” 6 hours later we get to the airport, only to watch “from the car park” our plan take off. Cue a long wait for the holiday company to book us onto another flight. When we get to check-in they haven’t booked our skies. £80 charge. We get to the departure lounge to find the flight has been delayed for an hour.
We finally got home about 11:30pm “UK time”. A bloody long day and I only told Bettie once that we could have driven home quicker.
And to put a cap on the holiday, I have brought a serious bout of man flu home with me 😦
Well, here are some photos from our holiday, which dispute the trip home and the flu, was great, lovely snow and sun for a few days.
Happy New Year.
Bettie and I are back in Val Thorens for another “Escape Christmas” ski holiday. We have been going on holidays over Christmas and New Year for the last 25 years. There are two reasons for this:
- We like to ski and enjoy the mountains
- We also escape all the Christmas crap at home
Over the years our families have got wise to this and now we find we have to have two pre Christmas dinners, one with Betties family and another one with mine. As an aside we have only let our respective families meet once, and that was only because Beth & Alex got married and we couldn’t veto the guest list or make them have two weddings. It’s a little known fact that Bettie’s and my parents never met each other.
Back to Val Thorens, of all the ski resorts we go to this one holds a very special meaning for me. This is because in 1990 I had a holiday here that drastically changed my future life and ultimately lead to me meeting Bettie. Back in 1990 I was married to another person and Alexander was just 3 years old. For some reason I decided to join a ski guiding group that was advertised as advanced and by the ski company “Thompson” it was sold as a way to show you the whole of the Three Valleys in one day. So off I went and met up with a group of other keen skiers. We all decided that we had such a good day we would do it all again the next day. This went on all week and at the end of the holiday we exchanged contact details. It was at this stage I discoverd that John and Jane a brother and sister were Bookers as well. What are the chances of meeting a random person on a ski holiday with exactly the same name as you?
We have now been skiing and holidaying together on and off for the last 27 years. I also met Bettie at a post ski holiday party, 18 months later. So you could say that it was life changing. If I hadn’t joined that ski guiding I would never have met Bettie.
Here are a couple of photos of the Balcons area of Val T they are taken from the same spot but about 18 years apart you can see the changes.
When we arrived the resort put on a fireworks display, it was either to celebrate Bettie and I coming back to Val T or for the Christmas Eve celebration. I’m not sure which.
We have had a couple of great sunny days, but now the cloud has closed-in and it’s snowing. We are hoping for some clear skies tomorrow in which to enjoy the new snow. Here’s a photo from Christmas day, where we had a packed lunch on the mountain.
We have come with Skiworld and are sharing a chalet with 9 other guest so we still had to have another Christmas dinner. Not sure this escaping Christmas thing is really working!
Yesterday (Sunday), Bettie and I had a walk in the Beeches, with Alex and Beth who have recently extended there family, with Suzie, who came from a Dog Rescue.
The weather was lovely and the colours in the Beeches at this time of year are spectacular. Come to think of it the colours in Burnham Beeches are always spectacular. We followed this with a beer in the Blackwood arms, which was most welcome.
Lichen in the Beeches
Beth, Alex & Suzie
Raindrops on the leaf
Beth and I are having a short break in the West country. We are having a short tour of places we might want to move to in the few years. Although our recent France trip left us with some great places we would like to live. France also has the added bonus that we could avoid all the flag waving Brexiters. Having said that we are still looking at the West Country.
Last night we stayed in Minehead, it’s a place I have always avoided. This is solely on the grounds that anywhere that had a Butlins was a place to avoid. “My god, I’m so middle-class, my dad would be turning in his grave”. It turns out, that out of season Minehead it’s quite a nice tow. Also we almost stayed in a Wetherspoons pub hotel. Fortunately I was saved by finding another Pub to say in. The Old Ship Aground, The pub/hotel was on the harbour Wall. It had a Vegan section on the Menu and it’s about as far away from Butlins as you can get and still be in Minehead. Here is a photo of Bettie looking back towards Minehead.
From Minehead we moved onto Bude.
The last time I was in Bude was 1974, it seemed much bigger then. There is a new Micro brewery pub in Bude which has a very entertaining owner, who asked if we were local and the tried to bar us from the pub. If you are a League of Gentlemen fan, then the question “are you local?” Should always brings a smile to your face. Well he explained that there was only one rule for the pub and that was that no mobile phones were allowed. So we ordered and Cornish wine and a a beer brewed in Cornwall. I went for a pee and came back to find that Bettie had been fined a pound for looking at her phone. I would put a link up to the pub but they only have a Facebook link and know that this would put a few people off. We both liked the feel of the town and have marked it down as a strong contender for future investigation.
This photo was taken on the beach at Bude.
Now onto Padstow it is very nice but a bit too twee for our liking. We enjoyed our stay and will probably come back for visits but as a place to set up home possible not.
Tomorrow we will head back to Bath for an overnight stay before heading home on Monday.
Shock horror😨😵😱, Bettie and I decided that we needed a curry after our exploits. So we did a bit of research on Google and decided that we would visit the Karachi restaurant. It had a lot of good reviews and the food looked like it would be close to UK curry. We have had many a disappointment when travelling in Europe with Indian Restaurants. So research done we headed off for a Curry. The good news is that the food was good if a little limited in the spice factor. I had a Madras which was more like a korma, Although Betties Vegetable Biriani was good, if a bit lacking in vegetables. Here’s the bad news bit. The restaurant had a Pakistani owner and was following their tradition on drinks and was “ALCOHOL FREE”. So after over 2300km of cycling we finally got a curry, but no 🍺. C’est la vie. Today we have bought some clothes and generally had a look around Lyon which looks like a great place to visit. We are just recovering for a few days. I have found a couple of boxes to pack the bikes in thanks to Decathlon and a local Giant bike shop so we should be able to get our kit home.
Alexander is due to arrive tomorrow and we will have a tour of Lyon. It seems strange that our cycling tour is over and now we are just tourist in Lyon. I suppose we will reflect on it over the next few weeks it is just a blur at the moment and a review of the photos will bring back many memories that have been pushed to the backs of our minds as every day was a new experience, vista or just a nice memory to be had.
One of the things we’ve been looking forward to is a visit to a particular restaurant in Lyon L’instant Fromage they serve cheese, you basically can chose from a selection of cheese or just let the restaurant owner choose for you. They are served on a platter and you are told in which order to eat them. They also come with little sides that are supposed to enhance their taste. They also do Charcuterie as well so you could have a selection of Cheese and Meats if you wanted. I would recommend it.
Here are some photos of a day and evening.
Yes our tour by bike has come to an end:-( Today we are taking a train to Lyon to spend a few days in a Hotel enjoying the city, before Alexander flies us home.
We discussed options of riding today and then getting a train. But all it did was get us to a small town from which we would get the same train tomorrow. Also Mount Ventoux was just a bit too far for us to cycle to the base and then ride up and down as it was 40km away from the train. So it’s the train today and a few nights in Lyon.
Did I say Alexander is flying us home? “OMG” This will be the first time the boy has been in the hot seat with us back in the biig tube in the sky. I remember his first plane. It made from Carboard box’s and flew around our house in Maypole road. Him in front and either Bettie or me in the back.
We got a better view of MV2 today from the train. As Arni once said “I’ll be back”