Thursday, August 30, 2007

Les Alpes!

Of all the many wonderful things we saw over the summer, the place I would rush back to first, if given the opportunity, would be the wonderful, beautiful, breathtaking, Alps. We decided that the best way to get there would be to do the long journey in a day from London. It looked possible on paper, and would mean that the back of the long-haul was broken in a day, making it easier for the kids. The trip from London to the Channel Tunnel was fast, as even in SE England the roads are quiet at 5am! The chunnel was fast, efficient and dumped us onto the French autoroute, and by mid-morning the kilometres were flying past. The Autoroutes might cost a bit, but with speed limits of 80mph, and little traffic on them, travelling accross the country is a lot easier than the gruelling M6! After Besancon, the Autoroute ended and we wangled on slow roads into Switzerland, before once again picking up motorway past Lausanne, Montreaux and deep into the Alps. The sight of Lake Geneva glistening in the sunshine was made all the more compelling by a storm, which chased us all the way down the Lake, and which we just outrun to Montreaux. By the time we reached our accommodation (a very poky caravan in a Key Camp near Leuk) it was dark and raining torrentialy. We cooked all the food we had brought with us and crashed out, absolutely exhausted from the travelling.
It was all worth it though as the view which met us the next morning was wonderful!


A highlight of our time in Switzerland was a trip to Zermatt, and from there on the train up to Gornergratt. Four glaciers tumble down the mountains here, merging into one vast ice-flow, overlooked by the mighty Matterhorn. Next time I go here I will pack my walking boots, and won't bring young children!



Our time in Switzerland was all too short (they make you buy six months of car-tax which we barely managed to get much value from!), and we were sorry to leave. Boris, Norris and Doris were just making some friends with other kids from all over Europe on the caravan site, and we were finding our way around the area. The drive out, over the Alps over the Simplon Pass into Italy however was incredible! The scenery was (as expected) overwhelming, and the road an engineering feat of considerable proportions, snow tunnels, cuttings, flying bridges, hair-raising hair-pins all the way.



For the amount of sitting-in-the-car that we demanded of Boris, Norris and Doris they were wonderful. Helped in no small measure by a lot of stories on CD which we had packed. The one that especially grabbed their attention was Hugh Laurie's hilarious telling of "The Giraffe, The Pelly, and Me" by Roald Dahl - which was demanded repeatedly. Ask Norris and he'll do all the voices for you on request!

6 comments:

doonhamer geordie said...

Fantastic photos - reminds me of the Canadian Rockies - all those glaciers and twisty roads! Lofty mountain grandeur takes on a whole new meaning!

Dr Winston O'Boogie said...

"Lofty's Mountain Ganja?"
A coouple of deep breaths of that and EVERYTHING takes on a whole new meaning!

That Hideous Man said...

Blogger has a setting which prevents anonymous or 'made-up names' from posting in order to weed-out such comedians as you Dr O'Boogie.





(weed-out.... geddit?)

Lins Honeyman said...

Ah, Dr Winston O'Boogie. AKA the great John Lennon on his lost weekend!

Steg said...

Lovely photos. And I'm impressed by your childrens' sitting power. Mine struggle to get to Northumberland without whingeing......

doonhamer geordie said...

More photos of canada now posted for your perusal!