End of the Summer Trip to French Alps
The last week of Summer is both an exciting time and a time of mourning for the loss of summer. As a result we decided to take a week vacation and go hiking in the French Alps near Valloire. We rented a great little apartment for 50euro a night (how could we not go) and hiked, read, watched a bit of TV (remember we don't have TV at home) and ate Raclette and Fondu, something we haven't eaten since we were kids. The best part for Zoe-Pascale was that Pantoufle could come with us and proved herself as a hiker.
After buying hiking shoes for Jean and Zoe as well as hiking sticks we set off to explore the mountains. Day one was a nice hike around our little apartment to get used to the new shoes. We then moved into taking the telecabine to the top of the mountain and hiking a good 10 kilometers around and down. Half way down my toes began to hurt. Another kilometer or two they were beginning to scream and by the time I got to the bottom I was side stepping the mountain as my toes were in utter pain. Within a week they were all black. Next year, new hiking shoes for me too that have more room in the toe!!!
Jean and Zoe climbing up over the mountain
Zoe decided to collect rocks on our hikes. After day one when we were carrying them in our pockets we insisted she carry her own backpack to hold her collection. This didn't stop her from collecting, but it made her more discriminative on how many and which rocks she picked up to bring home to add to her collection. This reminded Jean so much of his Dad who would take him out every weekend to collect rocks and old artifacts on the sands of Namibia. She definetly got the geologist gene from him.
Hiking down the Mountains above Valloire was tough on the toes but rewarded with a large Mount Blanc (icecream with choclate sauce) for Zoe and a Crepe avec Creme de Marron and Cafe au lait for me. The perfect ending to a great day!
I'm not sure what Zoe's face shows but she did enjoy the ice cream!
Everyone agreed it was time to just hangout and relax.
Valloire was a beautiful little village between Grenoble - Chambery and Briancon. The one thing we noticed throughout the Alps were the amount of beautiful flowers displayed in all the windows and along the streets. Jean in constant attemps to get our gernaiums and flowers to stay alive all summer and not burn in the heat was amazed. It had to be the air, the moisture and somehow the care of these flowers. We looked and looked and could not even find a dead flower among them.
A new adventure for Zoe was the Ropes course in the adventure park. It brought back memories of when Kirsten, Carrie and I went on a Ropes course adventure in Santa Rosa and climbed a large tree trunk and jumped off only I was so scared I had to sit down to jump. We zipped down a ravine and climbed over logs. A lesson supposedly in building trust. Since I already had alot of trusts in my friends it was more a lesson in getting over fear and being a kid again! This park had a kids portion and an adults part. I watched a woman try to fend through the black (hardest) course and pull herself up on the monkey bars 3 stories above the ground. Halfway through she felt, held up by her harness and hung there for 10 minutes until the monitor came to help her get to the other end. The monkey bars I thought, I think I will skip those. My arms just aren't what they used to be!
Zoe enjoyed it immensely and now wants a zip line at home to take her to school. Next time Jean and I decided why should she have all the fun we are going to zip along too!