Thursday, 17 May 2012

The hills are alive...

Well, we are back online and now in Limousin in central France. But more of that later - I have some catching up to do.

We had a fantastic time in the French Alps, staying at my aunt and uncle's lovely apartment in a converted priory in Abondance (thanks Judi and Mike!). I really didn't think I was a mountains person, but it is spectacularly beautiful and I really fell in love with the area. Rob and I have decided if our children do what we have done to our parents and up-sticks to the other side of the world/country, we will be moving to the Abondance valley.

And for once, the children didn't stick out like sore thumbs...

Heidi and Peter the goat herd
Even more exciting, there was still snow! Albeit icy, slushy snow but the ski season would have been in full swing in Australia with the same conditions. We spent a couple of afternoons messing around making a snowman and a very low tech luge (French toboggan) with a plastic poncho.

Floss and the snowman
As this is my blog, I can choose to post the video of Rob sliding down the mountain on a plastic poncho, rather than the one of me sliding down the mountain on a plastic poncho into a muddy puddle.


Spring was definitely in the air, though. These are the mountain crocuses that survived an onslaught from my children...

In fact, we had some days that were positively boiling. We drove to Chamonix to ascend Mont Blanc on the cable car. Unfortunately Freddie was too little to go, so I spent the couple of hours that Rob and Flossie took to go up and down wandering around the town with my boot-shod feet on fire. I was about to buy some thongs, but then it was 12.30 and all the shops closed for lunch. I consoled myself with a raclette crepe (local oozy cheese, ham, potatoes, cream - yum).

Flossie and Rob had a great time up Europe's tallest mountain and, although she looks a bit nervous here, I'm assured that she wasn't scared of the height (or cable car ride) at all.

We did a couple of walks, Freddie carried by me in his backpack (thanks to Rob's broken foot, which is on the mend but not up to the extra weight of a fat baby). 

The scenery was spectacular and it was only being weighed down by Freddie that stopped me twirling around the mountainside giving it my best singing nun.

Here is Floss, looking like she was made in the mountains.

And here is Freddie, looking like he is made of the very delicious Abondance local cheese.

And here is Rob hanging out on the kitchen floor post-bath. Judi and Mike's flat is so exquisite (and has such a lovely carpet) that this seemed like the safest place to keep the children most of the time!

Our stay in the mountains was only marred by one bitterly cold day that coincided with Freddie having a bit of a vomiting bug. We drove to Evian (of the bottled water fame) on Lake Geneva [edited to say apparently not Lake Geneva - some other lake] on Sunday but, given we were visiting in low season, everything was shut and a biting wind was blowing off the lake. We had a coffee and then Freddie started being sick, so we drew a line under the whole outing and headed home, with poor Freddie vomiting all the way. He carried on for the whole afternoon until collapsing into exhausted sleep. Fortunately he was right as rain the next day and we were able to have a lovely picnic and enjoy our mountain views.

We did another early start to drive the 6 hours to Limousin and arrived here on Tuesday. A post tomorrow with what we have been up to...

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