Today is a wet weather day, which means its a day in the van, catching up on all those little jobs, that are required to ensure optimum van life success. Water filling, toilet emptying, cake making and for me updating the blog for our adoring fan ( Carol )
I am writing this from our little park up spot in Randa Switzerland, which we discovered late one night, after a major tiff brought on by me driving into the centre of Zermatt, which is a car free zone, never mind sneaking a 7 meter sprinter van up the private road. It was a medical emergency helping a friend though.
Thankfully it was very late and there were no police officers and as yet we don't seem to have received any whiff of the 500 Swiss franc fine,, if we do ... Chris I'm coming for you :) I will explain the reasons for our illegal manoeuvres in a later post.
Prior to our little illegal visit we had spent 3 weeks in beautiful Chamonix, Jacs spiritual home, the land of high majestic mountains, and eye watering food prices. France is a dream for living in a camper van, you can, it seems park anywhere you fancy, we found a great little spot just outside Chamonix. A 15 minute walk had us in the centre, where there are many many outdoor shops to wander around, Jac indulged in her favourite pastime of visiting all of the shoe shops on the hunt for a new pair of trail shoes, and I indulge in trailing after her and looking bored.
Whilst we were there it was the Cosmo jazz festival, so we had 3 nights free entertainment, listening to, some would say cool tunes, I would say some cool, but then also some shite tunes. We spent lots of time climbing mountains, and even splashed out on a cable car ride to Les Grand Montets, where we walked to and on the Glacier. This was our one luxury cable car ride as the rest of the time tops of mountains and Cols were attained by foot.
As with our previous Alpine holidays, TMB, GR5, GR11 we were in peak physical shape having spent many weeks prior to this attaining mountain fitness. This intense regime has seen us down at McDonalds enjoying a daily McFlurry (climate training .. its cold in the Alps) Partaking in a few beers for adequate hydration, and attending many BBQ's to celebrate birthdays, family and friends visits and building up our protein reserves.
All of which had us hitting the mountains in peak slimming world shape, and had us gasping for air after a few hundred metres of up. Slowly we have gained back some of our mountain legs, and lost some of our town bellies, but its been hard. Thankfully the walking has been stunning and we have now traversed the majority of the Chamonix valley.
Our last alpine walk in France had us visiting the Refuge Albert Premier, which sits just above the Le Tour Glacier at 2702 m, it was a hard 1300 m climb to the top, but once again the views were worth it, we got to enjoy them for a full 30 minutes before the cloud came down and we had to walk all the way back down.
Pops is coping quite well with the heat, we were worried about her, but she seems to have it worked out and has stopped lying in full sun, panting and giving us evil looks for bringing her somewhere hot. We let her dictate the walk pace and we spend plenty of time cooling of in the shady spots. She enjoys a quick lie down in any streams she finds, but doesn't like being dunked in cattle troughs, though we find it amusing. She has been dangled from ladders, chucked over rivers and as I said dunked in cattle troughs, unfortunately none of this has done anything to suppress her fighting spirit and she has tried to eat several French dogs large and small.
Things I have learnt:
Food here is expensive, this is why the French are thin, none of them can afford to eat anything!!,
Aldi here is not like Aldi at home, here it is scuffy (I know hard to believe) and things are still expensive, apparently its because Aldi UK is run by a different company, anyway we should have stocked up on more food before we left home. However not all is lost as we have discovered for a very reasonable 64 cents you can get a can of 7.8% larger, and after a couple of those bad boys you no longer care about the price of anything!