Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Stage 7 Col du Galibier to Lanslevillard

Stage 7 Col du Galibier to Lanslevillard

A beautiful clear morning. The early morning alarm of marmots squeaking. Just time to take some photos of a crystal clear mountain scene, and to take in all the hundreds of wild and alpine flowers/ no wonder the sheep couldn’t wait to get up here. We could hear their bells tinkling until late last night, so they were clearly relishing their first night in the high meadows.

I’m following Ian north to Valloire over the Col du Telegraphe, and the north east, following the border with Italy, only 6mls away at the nearest point., along D1006 towards Mont Cenis, with the National Park of the Vanoise to the North, and the Massif du Mont Cenis to the South.

I dropped Ian off where we’d finished a couple of days ago, at the top of Galibier, weaving to avoid marmots, basking in the morning sunshine on the edges of the roads- a bit of a cross between an otter and a beaver!

The descent from Galibier was as beautiful as the ascent, with groups of walkers setting off from Plan-Lachat (store that in the memory banks). I waited for Ian in a bar on the Col du Telegraphe, and ordered a Perrier, so that I could use their loos. Wild camping is the best, but no proper toilet facilities, if you know what I mean, and if you’re lucky enough to find any in these parking areas, you go at your own risk, cos obviously they’re not going to be maintained. Suitably refreshed, I was joined by Ian pretty quickly, but then it was mainly downhill for him. Then the long slog on the main road through Modane,, up to the municipal campsite at Lanslevillard. I found a lovely shady spot near the trees and made the van ready for Ian’s arrival.

There was a large Dutch and Australian and English group, being catered for big-time on the same site. They had an ingeniously converted fire-engine, with the sides pulled up, to reveal, not hoses and such, but catering equipment and provisions. The cyclists arrived throughout the afternoon, and set up their tents and belongings sherpaed on by other vans. It turned out they were doing much the same as Ian, 20 cols in 12 days, but slightly longer legs. They’d come off Col d’Iseran, where Ian is going tomorrow. Ian arrived about 1.30pm, and the rest of the afternoon was spent charging stuff up and relaxing.

Really enjoying this itinerant life-style. No stress finding suitable campsites. Ian gets most of his cycling done in the morning, before the afternoon breezes kick in, and then we’ve got the rest of the afternoon in each other’s company. It’s working really well. I’m really enjoying the driving, and have only slipped up once, when I left all the breakfast pots at the campsite, having made a detour to the loo and wiped my memory in the process!!!

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