Archive for the ‘b.France’ Category

Alpine living 23.08.10

Posted: August 27, 2010 in b.France

I hope, dear reader, that you will indulge me a moment whilst I slip in to the third person to set the scene, it will only happen this once, I promise.

We last left our intrepid travelers feeling a little overawed by things in Dijon. I am happy to report that, as predicted, things are much happier and upbeat in the ‘TrektoOz’ camp after an active stay in the Alps and a peaceful few days in Tuscany.

And we’re back in the room.

During the early hours of Monday, our last night in Dijon, Megan witnessed the most torrential down pour, coupled with some very impressive thunder and lighting. I say Megan witnessed it, as I slept though it all after drinking the majority of the wine that evening. It did mean however that we had to pack up a wet tent in the morning, always a joy. We also noticed that the clothing locker leaked, our bedding box on the roof leaked, the kitchen leaked, and the cooker filled up with water, but to be fair this was only because we left it out. Luckily I had packed a tube of silicone and a pleasant hour was spent filling gaps and getting silicone all over my clothes.

from Megans new camera!

We left Dijon early on Monday morning for the 4 hour drive to the Alps and after the flat, rather boring countryside of the drive through France so far this stretch of road was amazing. The last hour approaching Chamonix was particularly beautiful. We stayed at a campsite we had stayed at before and it’s definitely on my list of top 5 campsites of all time. Waking up and seeing Mont Blanc first thing in the morning is quite fantastic. We did a little sight seeing and visited a village called Megeve, which is one of the most beautiful in France and has achieved a 5 flower rating (which I’m informed is the highest) for its floral displays. St Gervias, where we were staying, only has a 4 flower rating, I guess they just didn’t want it as much.

Megeve was also the scene for one of my all time hilarious comments. Megan was commenting on the fact that the horses pulling buggies for the tourists around town had different coloured hair on their heads compared to the rest of their body, and I explained that this is because they use ‘Just for Manes’! Comedy gold.

We got a cable car up a mountain and walked back down, which doesn’t sound that impressive but when you ignore all the signs, paths and directions, turning what should have been a 40 minute walk into 2 hours believe me, it was.

Dijon 22.08.10

Posted: August 24, 2010 in b.France

After a slight delay, a few fond farewells and the mandatory game of hunt the car keys we left Biggin Hill, family, pets and England on the 21st August 2010.

The journey to Dover was well spent with Megan trying to catch me out with things that I had forgotten to pack, which ended one nil to her when it emerged that I had indeed forgotten our rather nice camping lamp. Never mind, I’m sure Mr Carrefour will have one for us.

An uneventful ferry crossing was followed by a 7 hour drive to Dijon.

Lesson one: although the GPS says the journey will take 6 hours a 4 tonne 1996 Land Rover will be unable to maintain the 130kph required to achieve this, so always add a third to all GPS times.

We have a budget of around 60 pounds a day which, with all the petrol, tolls and ferries of the first day has resulted in us not being able to eat, drink, camp or drive for the next 5.3 days in order to make up for the outrageous over spend of yesterday. Megan will be adding a spreadsheet to the blog in the near future so you have an idea of the cost involved in doing a trip like this, something we have found very useful from other overland blogs.

Lesson two: Although it’s 12 degrees at 0500 in London by 1400 in central France it’s 32 degrees outside and 35 inside a Land Rover, so don’t pack your shorts under liters of WD40 and gear box oil.

We arrived at the campsite in Dijon at 6pm and luckily got the last pitch. Up went the tent, and the admirers crowded round! I say admirers because at least 4 different groups came up looking at the car and showing interest in our trip. It was great meeting these people and it gave us both a boost following the long haul we had just done.

Lesson three: People seem interested in the car and want a guided tour, it’s therefore a good idea to ensure the mass quantities of toilet paper are hidden from view!

So that was day one and I am writing this on day two, still in Dijon as we have spent the day repacking and sorting the car. It’s strange, I think I speak for Megan as well, but we are both experiencing mixed emotions. There is the sadness of leaving friends and family, anxiety about the massive distances we have to travel and whether the Land Rover will make it, excitement about all the amazing sights we are going to see and worry about whether all this was a good idea. I’m sure we will settle into things but at the moment we feel very much on edge.

Lesson four: Attempt to relax.