Lavender to the horizon

IMG_2175

The lavender fields of Provence. A stunning view, with the Alps as a mountainous backdrop. The plant itself is part of the mint family and magnet for bees.IMG_2174

Such scenery was an inspiration for the beautiful works of van Gogh.

IMG_2185Used as a herb in cooking and and cultivated for its oil. The word lavender itself is thought to derive from the old French for, ‘to wash’.  Awash in a field of lavender is to feel invigorated by nature itself. A memory in the mind forever.

Advertisements

Annecy

Annecy is situated at the northern end of Lake Annecy. Their has been a setttlement their since at least Roman times. And this is very important. The roads are flat and normal, such a relief after the Alps;-) IMG_1545

This is the Palais de l’Isle which stands on the river Thiou. To me it is reminiscent of the bows of a boat. The scaffolding dates back as far as a few months ago! IMG_1526

A (flat) canal wends its way throught the town which is wonderful on the eye.

IMG_1528

IMG_1531

Well worth a visit with a lovely atmosphere.

IMG_1549

To Germany and the South of France

IMG_1423

Across from up near the Russian border to the border town of Słubice. A true border town, neither fish nor fowl. Then off again to Baden Baden. We stayed near the airpark, not an airport, what’s the difference? But the men stood and watched a few planes take off close up. Great stuff. Germans sometimes get a bad press. But let me tell you that they have excellent motorway driving etiquette. Precise, polite and fast. Standing at a petrol station outside Baden Baden I was met by the site of only black petrol pumps. Not wanting to make a silly mistake, I was checking them over thoroughly when a German offered to help and explain in very good English. Unbidden, helpful and polite in my mother tongue, and it is not my first experience of  such German helpfulness and hospitable behaviour. Danke.

Whilst in Baden Baden we took the children to Europark, or rather they dragged us to Europark! A family ticket cost 170 Euros, which seems pretty steep, but then some of the rides are steep, and fast too. The children loved it, but to be honest the park is rather hyped and we have been to better.

IMG_1438

By the way, I’m not a a screamer. More of  a just hold on tight, head down and pray kind of approach. And anyway, my wife had a plan which for me, as the driver would be much more fun than the rides at a plastic park. Off we went to our next destination, Annecy which lies on the other side of the Alps. We glided past Lake Geneva and as we came the motorway I spied a precarious little road clinging to the side of a mountain. ”Look at that” I said, ”Some crazy fool drives up that.” Wife remained silent. Five minutes later I’m the fool driving up this steep narrow road, seemingly to the heavens. Cars flew up behind us, motorbikes performing kamikaze overtaking, and on we went, switchback, curve, climb and sweaty hands all round.

IMG_1472

Finally we arrived at Chamonix for a well earned rest and a reassuringly expensive burger and fries, along with a long deep breath. Chamonix was full of people intent on climbing high, gliding off mountains and hanging from ropes off sheer cliffs. Good luck to them!! After that a leisurely drive took us into beautiful Annecy.

 

Upwards and upwards Chamonix

IMG_1472 (1)

Today my wife reminded me that we were going to take in Chamionix on the way down to Grenoble. This did not really get properly processed, and the light of my light did not  elucidate on the subject further. I sould have been warned As we came down the motorway towards a range of daunting mountains, I pointed out a tiny little road, set at a bizarre angle, snaking up the mountains. Still the darling I love said nothing. As we came off the motorway it slowly dawned on me that we were heading directly for that narrow slice of building technology clinging to the ever growing mountain. My wife knows that I love mountains, and heights, the higher the better;-)

With hands starting to feel a little sweaty I pointed the car up the narrow road, trying not to look down at the precipitous sheer drop off to my right. Switchbacks and steep climbs – I was in heaven. Hats off to the motorcyclists who shot past, good luck to them. And still upwards we climbed past tiny hamlets and lone houses. Who can live in such a place? Finally we started to slowly ascend, again via switchbacks and narrow ways of course, until we pulled over in Chamonix. Across from our eatery my dear pointed out a mountain top, with a giddy cable car heading to the summit. Smilingly she asked if I wanted to go up there. My answer has not been recorded!

IMG_1525