15/4/16 St Gervais
Happy Birthday to me!
Overcast day – started badly as I found a tick on Bertie’s muzzle – got rid of it toot sweet with our handy tick tool! Poor Bertie has to suffer the indignity of being daubed in povidone iodine too… but he’s a good, uncomplaining boy! Nick made me a tasty mushroom, cheese and chive omelette for breakfast, and we’re headed down to the gondola to see if we can take a ride – dependent on a) operation b) visibility and c) dog-friendliness!
Nick’s best Franglais was wasted on the (very) English lady at the telecabine ticket office!!! She recommended we didn’t get on here, but drive up to Bettex and join there… in the hope that the weather/visibility would be better higher up – in fact it poured!
We waited, ummed and ahhed and waited some more – then decided that as much as we wanted it to, the weather was what it was, and snow and a clear view was NOT going to be the order of the day today!!!
After reassuring the Capn that it really didn’t matter if we didn’t do snow on my birthday, we decided to head elsewhere to look for it – and settled for a drive into Cluses – BIG pass on the aire – it was roadside next to the river but with loads of foot traffic – including a lady of doubtful virtue with one heck of a shiner… so we moved on.
Picked up some local fizz – Clairette de Die (where we stayed) and Cremant de Limoux (where we didn’t) – but both delicious and Appellation Protegee.
We searched for another aire and more or less picked one at random – Sommand – not knowing how high it was, and as we climbed and climbed the snow appeared!
Unfortunately the road to the aire at Sommand was FERME closed (by snow!) and we had to double back when we ran out of road…
We ended up at La Praz de Lys, a barriered aire with enough snow for Bertie to disappear in!!! So I got my snow on my birthday, (albeit the texture of a slush puppy) and a beautiful distant view of snowy mountains.
Bertie LOVED the snow – hesitant at first because if he was gentle he just sank… but then went completely bonkers and bounced everywhere – leaping like a loony! The blog won’t let me upload a video… it’s going to have to wait till we get home and I can chop it to size… but I promise you will see Bertie looning at some stage on this page!
We chucked a few snowballs and got frozen hands, then back to Blobby for supper and a video call to the Friday gals, who gave me a lovely rendition of happy birthday too – thanks ladeez! Spoke to my lovely Callie who sent me a birthday poem!
Popped the Cremant de Limoux and it was delicious… wish we’d bought more! Had loads of birthday wishes on text and Faceburp, went for a lovely snowy walk in the dark, and am going to bed feeling tiddly and loved!
La Praz de Lys – Nantua – Izernore
It rained all night – heavily, and no it didn’t turn to snow, it just made what snow we had turn very slushy.
The snow is rapidly disappearing, so after a really healthy breakfast (lol) waffles and strawberries and cream – we went walking with Bert – on his training lead – he just went berserk running and skipping about.
Locally there are some ski runs – really close by – but meltwater is making the surrounding off piste areas a bit dodgy to say the least! Following Nick’s footsteps up the hill today, I put my right foot down and my entire leg disappeared through the crust down a hole up to my crotch – my foot was dangling under there and not touching bottom – and Nick had to haul me out! It took him a while – he thought I had just slipped over and was on my knees… he hadn’t realised I’d gone through the thin crust! The snow was mostly about 3ft deep and icy – underneath the meltwater is eroding it from the bottom – and there are a fair few craters – one of which I clearly found!
Bert ran through the muddy streams and snowbanks and was totally unconcerned.. and Nick’s big feet act like snowshoes anyway… On the walk back I found a 5 euro note under the slush… result!
Having had my birthday snow fix we’re going to head over towards Nantua – we’ve no Vignette for Switzerland so can’t cross the border so we have no choice but to go round the lake and head into Eastern France after Nantua.
As we drive out of the Grande Alps it’s becoming obvious that I was VERY lucky to have found snow yesterday – the torrential rain has melted so much snow, and the temperature is 17 degrees – by the time we hit Bonneville it’s 23 degrees – the rivers are running high and fast with melt water, and everything’s looking springlike!
Lunch – 20kms outside Nantua – was a Nick’s Special Ham and Cheese made with St Nectaire – Yummmmmmmy!
The stop at Nantua was quite beautiful – very pretty by the lake – but no dogs allowed!
Spaces were only a little larger than car parking spots – so not safe for Bert in the car park either, with cars whizzing in and out, so… no dogs,…. no us! Off we go again to find somewhere to stay!
We found a small aire in a residential area in Izernore – bordered by houses, farmland and a school…
The rain returned while I cooked supper and Nick and Bert went for a cycle ride – and it didn’t let up. It was very stormy and a bit rock’n’rolly overnight, but we slept well in spite of it.
Izernore – Clairvaux
Very cloudy and rainy this morning – decide to head out and find an aire early to watch the Grand Prix! First time we’ve actually been pleased to have TV!
We decide on Clairvaux Les Lacs (83) and we’ve switched aires books today – we’re now on NORTH! EEK! I wish we were still in Spain with the sunshine! Passed another aire – Matafelon Granges – aire was pretty bleak, but the surrounding vistas are beautiful
D106 was a great road for views of the River Ain!
Clairvaux was WET! Torrential in fact – just 3 spaces by the side of the road – opposite the Gendarmerie.
Watched the Chinese Grand Prix, made a curry for supper, and generally hunkered down out of the rain! Still wishing for Spain and sunshine!
The ponies look like Haflingers xx