Monday, 3 August 2009

Back in the Ain via Alpe d'Huez and La Grave

We left Perigeux and went over to Bourg d'oisans so that Ian could have a go at the Alpe d'huez cycle climb - well known in cycling as it rises over 1000m in 13 km with 13 hairpin bends. Did it - but hardest thing he had done - thankfully that should be the end of the heroics for this holiday!We also went to la Grave and ascended the telephrique to La Meije which dominates the area - beautiful. The weather was about to change for the worse, however, so our time there was cut short.
After a long drive we were back in the Ain region- the Bugey, and parked up in our Caveau Bugiste, from where we’d promised ourselves a cycle ride. Peaceful, unspoilt and very untouristy backwater of France. I love backwaters! Caroline had said about their little corner of France that some of her friends just don’t “get it”, and can’t understand their choice. It’s the same with us. There’s something about this area that makes us feel so relaxed and “at home”. Maybe it’s the weather, because on the two occasions we’ve been here, it’s rained both times- the only times in four weeks!!!
We had a superb cycle ride, through several stunning, quiet villages with old timber and stone houses, past a little lake, across the incredibly wide Rhone and up a rather big hill- La Colombiere. It was getting quite late, so (un)fortunately couldn’t get to the top- more unfinished business for next year. Nobody around us when we got back and the caveau was closed for the evening , so were able to have one of our few bbqs- limited by the fire risk and disturbing others nearby. No risk of fire here. There’s a very good reason why it’s green and lush!
The following day we pootled down to Annecy. A bit like the Lake District but warmer. Today was looking drier, but the tops of the amazing cliffs and mountains were obscured by clouds. Our plan to climb La Tournette with its stunning views of Mont Blanc could wait until tomorrow, so we decided to get ourselves settled for one night in Menthon Saint-Bernard, a lovely little camp-site under the Chateau, and within a very short walk of the village. We had one of the few meals we’ve had out here, and the only one that’s been a delight. Menu de jour for 12e 50 and an even cheaper plat du jour, if one course is all you wanted. We’d go back to the “Gout de Jour” again. Ate a Marmite of beef, which was basically casserole, and this time got exactly what we expected, with no weird offal in sight!!
Back for a siesta and a bit of “sorting out”! We’re meeting up with Keith and Deb in a few days time, so working our way over to Morzine area, via the Aravis Mountains, where there’s supposed to be yet more great cycling!

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