Saturday, 3 July 2010

Rest Day

“Rest Day” aka “More Flippin’ Hills”

We’d always planned to spend an extra day in Beaufort, having really enjoyed being here last year. Camping des Sources lives up to its name, with several mountain rivulets channelling into the site, and the proprietor has cleverly engineered and planned his delightful garden-site around them. There are several hand-made troughs fed by taps, concealed in “arms” of wood, which hang over the top. There are lovely flowers planted all over and the owners have considered everything that campers might need- simple things like hooks for you to hang your clothes on when having a shower! Loo roll is provided. Delivery of wonderful beaufortain bread and croissants, even though it’s not July yet, and even walking guide books. All this and a cheery smile and conversation, and one of the cheapest sites around. The site is only about one quarter full, which we have found is typical of this time of year, but she explained that July and August get very busy.

After a leisurely breakfast, we set off on a blue sky morning and explored the Haute Savoie, particularly HauteLuce Valley and on up towards the Col du Joly. The Savoy area is very much like Switzerland, very pastoral, dairy-farming, big on cheese. Famous cheese from here- Reblochon, a soft creamy cheese, a bit smoother than brie, and Tomme, a harder white cheese, delicious! The cows all tinkle around all day and evening with their cow bells. In some places, although the cutting of the grass is all done by tractor, the threshing seems to be done by hand.

Running out of time and energy, we made the decision to head for home. As it turned out, we were cycling ahead of another afternoon storm. This seems to be the pattern in the mountains at the moment. The storms only last for an hour or two, and give way to a lovely sunny evening and cool night. That said we still have unfinished business here, and will be back to cycle up the Col du Joly in the future. It’s quite a toughy. Ian tried it late in the day last year, and had to postpone.

In spite of our efforts to make it an easier day, we still ended up climbing more than we anticipated, 4200’ and very tired. Also getting very hot pm, if you don’t set off early enough.

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