Whilst camping alongside Lake Geneva, and having a couple of rest days, a chap in the motorhome opposite (which had a French number plate), said in the most tremendous Yorkshire accent “is it going to rain then?!!”, pointing up at the dark clouds above us. I was quite confused and said something like “hang on, you’re supposed to be French!” It was then that we got chatting. They were Bill and Cath, originally from Yorkshire, but now living near Angouleme in France, and they were on their way to Croatia for a holiday. We had a good few days with them and they ended up helping us a lot with our route through France, which had to change from what we’d originally planned, due to the time of year we have to come back through next year. This has meant that we now get to explore lots of the middle of France, instead of doing the French Riviera, which we’ll do early Spring. Thank you to Bill and Cath for all of your help, and I hope you made it to Croatia ok, and had a good time!
Before heading in to France, we visited CERN, which is located in Geneva, and is a place where a multi-billion pound research facility, looking into particle collisions, exists. It was not something I knew about before going (it’s more physics than what I do), but it was really interesting to have the tour of the facility and see what goes into their research, even though we didn’t get to see the collider itself as they were running an experiment. We also had a day to look around Geneva city centre, which surprisingly had a very relaxed feel to it, considering everything costs an absolute fortune. There were jewellers and watch shops everywhere, nothing had prices on, but the place was absolutely beautiful, and not a tourist-tat shop in sight!
Leaving for France was when the Alps and their twisty roads began, and it was the first time I used the GoPro since Norway. We spent one whole day on these roads, and they beat passes like Stelvio hands down. Our first stopover point was in a place called La Grave, where there was a cable car to take you to the top of a mountain (3200m), onto a glacier, and then back down again, or not, if you wanted to climb/walk down. We found a great little campsite in the village, ready to go up the mountain the following day. As the following day was Saturday, I suggested to Roger that we get to the cable car when they opened at 9am, as I thought it would be rammed with people, and it was a good job we did. Although it wasn’t rammed at all, we’d decided to walk down the mountain from the 3200m stage to the middle stage at 2400m, where there was another cable car station to take us to the bottom. The lady in the ticket office recommended it and said it would only take an hour, so that was what we did, except it took us 5 hours, and my legs were shot after the first hour. So I’m very glad we left early, as we only just made the cable car from the middle station before they closed it and we’d have had to walk the whole lot! It was worth it though, as it was beautiful and I did really enjoy it.
We are now further into France and we have seen lots of little villages along the way. We have also been through what looked like a mini Grand Canyon, and the Millau Bridge. A couple of days ago we visited a Medieval village called Guedelon, where there is a castle and village from the 1200s being rebuilt using only the methods that were used in the day, and it will take 25 years to complete.
From here we will move further West to La Rochelle and Ile de Re, before heading down near Angouleme to visit a family friend. After that will be “au revoir” to France, and “Hola” to Spain!