A fair amount of time has now elapsed since returning from my hols, but I’ve only more recently finished uploading all my photos to Flickr, so now a quick post on what we did.
We spent a week in and near Lake Geneva and the Alps, on the Swiss/French border. We flew into Geneva, and rented a tiny little blue Daihatsu Sirion that just about managed to fit our luggage in.
I was driving – my first time in a LHD car. Got used to it really quickly with one exception – I just couldn’t remember to put the handbrake on when I stopped. Car coped with the mountains with no problem, but had a really nasty gear box.
We were very fortunate to have friends in the area who let us stay with them, so we got away with just two hotel stays in the whole week. The first was on our first night, when we stayed at the Hotel “les Cygnes”, in Evian (where the bottled water comes from). The room was lovely, with a small balcony opening right onto Lake Geneva. After dark, we could see the distant lights of Lausanne on the far side of the lake. I didn’t take any good daylight photos. By the following morning, a mist had fallen, and you could barely see a thing.
Whilst at the hotel, we ate in their restaurant, and had one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten. We started out on the terrasse overlooking the lake, but the weather changed during the evening, with wind and rain eventually blowing in hard enough to get us wet and nearly tear the awning off the side of the hotel. I had: chilled red pepper velouté; bunny terrine; a lamb main course and a very light coffee mousse to finish. A bottle of Hautes Cotes de Beaune went very nicely with it.
The following morning, we rose late (too late for the buffet breakfast, but they kindly made us a tray with coffee, croissants) explored Evian briefly on foot, taking in the Palais du Lumiere and the a touristy mini-museum dedicated to the bottled water. There’s also an umimpressive mini-fountain where the spring water flows freely, and you can fill your own bottles. It was quite hard to get pictures because of all the locals refilling dozens of bottles they’d brought with them.
After a British picnic (one eaten in the car in the rain overlooking the sea / lake) we drove inland from Evian up through mountains towards Morzine, a French ski resort town. We were meeting my friend A whose ski apartment we were borrowing for a few nights – but we were going to arrive long before she finished work, so we stopped off en route to see Les Gorges du Diable, a walk along steel pathways down into a very deep gorge carved by a river and meltwater. All around were signs warning that higher up the stream, there was a hydroelectic dam installation. Water levels can rise suddenly and without warning – even in times of drought. Access to the river strictly forbidden!
Eventually we arrived in Morzine, which for a town in the mountains had a strange feel of the wild west about it – lots of wide streets and wooden buildings. Many of the buildings were pretty chalets; but many just looked like they should have had sheriffs and gunslingers in them. V strange. We met up with A, and saw the huge chalet she manages with the help of a staff of 16. Nosed around a bit whilst she finished her working day – v impressed by the small kitchen, and the instructions for the chef that said for €7pppn, chef had to provide four meals (mini cooked breakfast, full lunch, afternoon tea and 3 course evening meal). These skiers clearly like to eat!
From there to A’s chalet, which she’s in the process of doing up with her other half – which had some frightening original features – and from there to the well appointed duplex apartment much higher in the mountains where we were staying.
I should point out at some point that this is probably the last joint mountain holiday we will ever have. P is not keen on heights one bit, and much of the windy roads (which I find exhilarating) scare him witless. The road up to the apartment was one such. He had to enjoy the view from the balcony from safely inside the French doors.
(… to be continued…)