“Aujourd’hui j’ai fait de la randonneé daus les Alpes francaises. Le soleil a brillé toute la journeé ser nous.”
“Today I hiked high up into the French Alps. The sun shone on all of us.”
Unbenown to me when this day started, that it was to become one of highlights of my European trip! I have had many magic, memorable moments and adventures....so it is a relevant statement! I think that because I really love being active, in the outdoors and adventuring...especially when I don’t really know what to expect!!!....This day had all of these elements...and more....!!
Retiring to bed, we had decided to go to the Alps near Grenoble however Jean Lucien had changed his mind, which I discovered later during the drive. Distance and being unsure of access to the original destination, we headed further east. Our first stop was a La Verpilliére, south-east of Lyon. The Breniers had lived there for 29 years during which time she and Bernard had taught at the local school together(....the reason why both of them had been on exchange with their students to Bacchus Marsh Grammar and had met me!)
...and so armed with a detailed map (I find it easier to remember details if I can actually see them!)
I followed our journey......Bourgoin-Jallieu...tunnels...snow caps....entertainment as Jean Lucien sang happily in French...occasionally accompanied by Maryvonne....(much better than a radio!)...sunshine....THEN, RISING UP ALL AROUND US...... THE ALPS - SNOW COVERED and IMPOSINGLY BEAUTIFUL!!!... Café stop...photos of Mont Charvey...on to Chambéry....Albertville with the mountain range to its left = Du Massif des Bauges and to its right = Massif de Tarentaise. We headed south between the mountains and on through...Moutiérs..Salins-les-Thermes....Brides-les-Bains (an area renowned for their hot thermal spas for the beautiful women!) ....our steepening, winding Alpine climb snaked up through the mountains....passed little ski villages...Perrier then Courchevel to our right (a very trendy, expensive ski resort)....snow and summits drawing us up and up...Bozel...roadworks stopped us at Planay but was a good photo op... my first chance to listen to the birds sing and bask in the Alpine Ambience....
Finally, our destination: Pralognan-la-Vanoise = an authentic, traditional ski town. Having driven through this town we settled ourselves, trackside and indulged in the picnic we had packed....no one else in sight....just us and the Alps!!!We were nestled in between the Alpine ranges: Massif de la Vanoise and Tarentaise. So many peaks covered in snow and glaciers: Petit Mont Blanc 2677m; Glaciers de la Venoise; Roche Cheviére 3281m.... I was in Heaven....I had no idea it was going to get better!!
Hiking shoes on.....we headed off on a hiking adventure(5 hrs return) I will never forget.
I was in my element...Blue/green/white peaks/a narrowing track winding us upward..along...upward..snow melt rushing to the bottom of the valley.....FRENCH ALPS =MY PICTURE BOOK DREAM!! ....solitude....an occasional hiker, "Bonjour"..."Are we there yet??!......I don’t care!"....passed the refuge chalet: Roch de Soufre ....on towards Les Prioux the glacier, Glacier de Gebroulaz, between two summits which was drawing us as if by magic....the sun shining on it made it look like satin laid out in the sky!...The two summits = Aiguille de Péclet. 3562m and Mont de Borgne 3153m.
As we reached the furthest point, high on altitude and thin air...I wished I could fly like a bird..It really felt like the top of the world.....and I was on it!
During our quicker descent, we were treated to some rare sightings of the Alpine wild life and flora...deux les marmotte (wombat like animals: one hunting for food another building his home)...huit les bouquetins(Alpine Deer grazing slowly across the hillside) et les geutianes (blue bell shaped flowers occasionally dotted amongst the pretty Spring displays).
The sun was relentless....I needed a hat and sunscreen but had neither so consequently I sported a very red nose, face and shoulders...
We descended, returning to the car exhilarated and weary. The sun burning our eyes as we wound our way down the mountain roads....
Our final night together was spent wining and dining and sharing photos and chatting....our red noses matched our celebratory glass of rosé !
Bonsior! I fell into bed and instantly to sleep!
THANKYOU MARYVONNE AND JEAN LUCIEN FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THIS WONDERFUL PART OF YOUR COUNTRY........YOUR COMPANY, FRIENDSHIP, INTEREST AND KNOWLEDGE IN JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING..... MADE THIS EXPERIENCE EVEN MORE SPECIAL FOR ME! THANK YOU TOO FOR YOUR GENEROSITY.....YOU HAVE BEEN SO KIND. WE WILL LOOK FORWARD TO SHARING TRINITY BEACH AND TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND WITH YOU ONE DAY.