Wednesday, 16 April 2014

St Jean d’Aulps activities with Pauline, Jackie’s mum


A walk with a view!
Brian said let’s go for this nice walk – I’ve wanted to do it for a bit.  OK we said and off we went and we went up…and up..and up..and no let up..and up.  It was a nice walk, lots of spring flowers and great views and model villages below, but even B agreed that it was a lot of up.

Walking through Evian
Yesterday we went to Evian.  We looked and looked but we couldn’t find any roller skating babies.  We found a lot that was good, picturesque fountains, the lake, old town, grand town but no babies.  The sun shone, people got sun burnt and fought to eat in the sun, then moaned that their bald heads were hot (not that that refers to anyone we know).  The waiter couldn’t cope with the rush and got really stressed but we wore him down till we were practically best buddies kissing each other on both cheeks.

Evening jig-saw and wine relaxation!
I’ve had a lovely week but now I’m going to let Brian write the rest because he’s so much better at it.  But he won’t do it for a bit because he’s deep in the Pacific War of WW11.  We’ve to be up early in the morning to catch my flight – oh joy.  Goodnight.

This is France, but all these cars are British registered!
It’s Wednesday morning now and Pauline is en route home on her Easy Jet flight back to Birmingham. It never ceases to amaze us how quickly a week can pass, but we’ve done quite a lot in that time.

We were back from collecting her from the airport last Wednesday in time for tea and cake (my lemon drizzle cake that had sunk slightly in the middle, but still tasted OK – how do I stop the sinking? Thoroughly mixed the butter, at room temperature and sugar, gradually added the beaten eggs and carefully folded in the self raising flour. Add more baking powder? Cook for a little less time?).

Lake Montriond with Roc d'Enfer
Thursday we went skiing, while Pauline went for a walk round Lake Montriond and Ardent waterfall, still with a covering of snow, but the lake ice is melting now, bringing out the fishermen and allowing the birds to stand on the remaining islands of ice and peer into the water, presumably looking for a passing fish. After skiing (yes, it’s still fairly good on piste skiing, although we went to the same ‘best run in the resort’ to blast down a great ‘red’ run on hard packed snow – fabulous!) we met up with Pauline and had a drink at a lakeside bar with great views over the lake to the Roc d’Enfer (Rock of the devil – see the horns on top!).

Pauline finishing the lake circuit
Jackie lining up at the slalom start

Here she comes past me a few seconds later....
And there she goes no more than 5 seconds later!

Jackie at Lake Montriond with Roc d'Enfer beyond

Jackie and Pauline enjoy a coffee by the lake
Cassie came round for dinner which was lovely, glad she could come before her next guests arrive, though she didn’t get a full night off as we had a raclette, so she still had to cook her own dinner!
Friday was the day we did our black Via Ferrata (see earlier entry) and left Pauline at Si and Cassies to teach Cassie beading, which apparently was very successful and has given Cassie a new hobby while Si is away.

The river walk in Seytroux

Saturday we all went for a very pleasant walk in the next valley to us, through a village called Seytroux. It’s a snowless valley, except for the high surrounding snow-capped mountains, with a pleasant river walk and through little hamlets of typical French houses, all backed by amazing mountain views, spring flowers and cats that even Jackie couldn’t tempt over for strokes.

Jackie finds a den in the woods
The village of Seytroux with Elephant rock in the distance

This was as close as we could get to cats
Cow-slips in the meadows

Pauline and Jackie on the 'promenade' in Evian
Sunday we went skiing again, this time for a bit longer and including some remaining off piste (which was surprisingly good) and some steep black mogul runs which gave us good exercise and was also good snow and quite enjoyable. Pauline stayed in St Jean d’Aulps and went for a walk round the village and part way up the back road that used to be the return ski run on the Roc d’Enfer circuit.

One of many wood sculptures in Evian
Monday was our day out in Evian, which is  a great little town, steeped in history, right on the banks of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), beautifully kept and just coming into bloom with spring flowers in well tended beds. We did the ‘historic tour’, after getting a leaflet (in English) from Tourist Information, which included a visit to the Evian water source, where locals queue to fill up their water bottles free. Lunch at the outdoor restaurant mentioned by Pauline we asked for ‘tap water’ to accompany our meal and other drinks as the menu quoted €4.50 for a bottle of Evian water and we guessed the ‘tap water’ would be Evian water anyway, but for free!

Tulips, fountains and Lake Geneva
Locals queue to fill their bottles at the Evian water source

The famous casino in Evian
Lunch stop in Evian, picture taken by our friendly waiter

Waterfront at Evian
Our quiet forest walk interrupted by a tractor
Tuesday we went climbing after doing tick removal on Lynx, one of Cassie’s cats, he looks and is the size of a lynx, but not so fierce! while Pauline gave Cassie a final beading lesson.The three of us then went up to the village of Biot and did a forest walk round the ‘Haute Thex’ which, although fairly steep (I closed my ears so I couldn’t hear the complaints!), opened up at the top to give fabulous views below of the whole of the deep glaciated valley. 

At the top of our walk, 1100m asl
Down below on the right was the side valley of Seytroux (where we did our walk the other day), on the left Elephant Rock (on which the climbing and Via Ferrata are), in front the village of St Jean d’Aulps and the road winding up to our ski resort, further ahead we could see Morzine village and the white mountains of Morzine and Avoriaz and, best of all, in the distance was the massive bulk of Mont Blanc towering over everything, and all this below a clear blue sky. 
And the view they are looking at - Mont Blanc!
What a fabulous view and a great day and I hope I convinced Pauline the up-hill effort was worth the views we got! If that didn’t convince her then I’m sure the promise of a home-made ‘Vin Chaud’, a millionaire square (shortbread topped with caramel and dark chocolate made by ‘yours truly’) and lashings of red wine back at our apartment was enough to ease the journey back downhill!

A 'good to be alive' view! Elephant rock on left, St Jean d'Aulps centre, the mountains of Morzine and Avoriaz centre distance and Mont Blanc just peeking out over the top in distance right
Spring flowers in the meadows
So, here we are, she’s gone (probably landed back in the UK in the time it’s taken me to write this) and we’re into our final two weeks here. Our local ski resort has closed, so it’s very quiet here now, the rest of the Portes du Soleil ski resort closes on 27th (11 days away) and we leave here on 30th April, next stop Altea on the Costa Blanca in Spain to stay with Jackies dad, Richard and Elizabeth. Just time for a few more days skiing (snow is forecast for this weekend, hopefully enough to improve the snow for the final week) and then 2 ½ weeks of summer rock climbing in Spain, before driving back to the UK for Steph (my niece) and Sam’s wedding on 24th May. The year is flying by, but we don’t want it to! We’re enjoying it so much here we think we may come back again in 2015, it’s fabulous! Winter skiing, ski touring, summer rock climbing, mountaineering and road and mountain biking – what more could anyone want! Did we tell you about the wine? €1.72 buys a bottle of very pleasant red wine, recommended to us by Si and Cassie. It’s ‘Le Pas du Templier’ and comes (as all French wine still seems to) with a cork – no screw top here! See:

No comments:

Post a Comment