French Alps and back in Provence

We leave our little fur family in Geneva to the start of a run of summer weather. We have experienced modern day farming during our morning walks where the field started with long bushy clover than in one day the whole clover fields were cut. The following day after the walk we came to them being neatly organized into rows and the following day they were all neatly tied into hay bundles. It was really interesting to see the work of what must have been a village of people before, being done by two men in three days with the help of equipment. The baling machine was fascinating to watch as it “pooped” a bale every few minutes.

After our last walk we head out towards Chamonix and into the French Alps.

It is a very impressive peak Mt Blanc from in front and behind and we get to drive through a beautiful winding valley André again scoring full marks on rally driver technique.

The plan is to traverse in front of Mt Blanc and then sneak through the mountains through a pass. I check that the mountain pass is open and reliable internet tells me it just opened the day before, what luck.

The  valleys are lush with new growth and this part of France abutting Switzerland has all their animals carrying a big bell around their neck. There  is a loud jingling as we drive through the valley. We wonder how hard it is for the cows to blank their minds out to the noise, even though for us it is ubiquitous with the image of mountain grazing for this part of the world. They don’t ” seem” to mind.

We get to the base of the valley that will take us up the pass late in the afternoon and find a big red sign stating the pass is closed. We confirm with the Office de Tourisme that this is the case so we have to reroute through a lower road. The pass will officially open in three days. Bummer! Thank goodness we noticed the sign as it was a long way up.

We decided to break the journey back to Provence and stay with a lovely English family that made the lifestyle choice 14 years ago to leave London as a young couple, open a bed and breakfast and raise their family here in view of Mt Blanc. So that you don’t think we keep on selecting English speaking stays , we only find out they are English after our arrival.

It is actually happening, I have started to step up and forward with speaking French, we converse on a more fluent level in the car and I think I have crossed the barrier of being all shy about my French speaking mistakes. This may come as a challenge to André ‘s family next time we see them 🙂 André, however is pretty happy about the change.

We explore a little and soak up the mountain air and after a scrumptious breakfast where we find out about the local cheese  called Beaufort and also how we can get it in the town in the valley we head out.
This is a most interesting experience , as clearly the French are so serious about being able to get their cheese even in an evening emergency that they have set up a cheese ATM. Plug in your credit card, choose the cheese you need and bingo you are set for the evening.

We make our way back to Provence to see how much more the vines have grown. Scenery on the way is simply gorgeous.

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