Memories of Cameron Heights

Monday mornin’ and raining here. I love the rain. Must be an English thing. Yes, that’s it, an English thing.

Recall making plans to go to the Cameron Heights. Booked tickets on an old jalopy of a bus and had an overnight drive. The road meandered through the forest in the pitch black. Then  a thunderstorm rolled over and accompanied us. The lightning illuminated the soaked forest for milliseconds at a time.

Pulled into Cameron about 4am or 5am. Some ungodly hour. Everything was shut. So thoughtless of Cameron;-) I made my way to a hostel, but it was closed, too. Constructed in an imaginative square. But redemption was at hand. The building had a wide porch running around the font and both sides. How does a porch run? Slowly.

The rainy weather was kicking in again. I settled down on one of the comfy chairs, feet on my backpack, and slipped into my sleeping bag. Remember feelin’ cosy, dry and happy to watch the rain from my temporary sanctuary.

Spontaneous Camping

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Finished cycling in Sweden. Cycling around Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk finished. So what next? On the spur of the moment camping and Malbork came up. Visit the largest castle in the world by area, wallow in history and watch a reenactment. What better?

Where to stay. Hey, let’s try camping! But we have no tent. No worries, we’ll buy one. And the sleeping bags, the mattress and the air pump, too. Out of the shop heavier with goods, lighter with money and full of determination.

Arrive at the site. The weather is not great in Malbork. Upshot. The campsite is half-full. Loved how the owner sucked on his stubby pencil, scratched his ear. He simply didn’t know how to fit us in. Wonderful stuff!

Allocated a spot. Open the new packed tent and instructions. The clouds are looking ominous. Having not put up a tent since my teens, and my wife possibly never, we went about our business with nervous bravado as the seasoned neighbours next door looked on.

Does this carbon rod go here? Why is that short? Does this go in the ground? What we have no mallet/hammer! Then a kindly gent with the same tent came and offered some help, and one end of the tent was taking shape, and the rest we could manage. Thank you, sir!

Done and dusted and quite comfortable (it says here). Next day we were packed and ready to leave. An older man and his grandchildren looked at an identical tent in confusion.

To his aid we went, and up went his tent. From near novices one day, to experts (nearly) the next.

It’s evolution baby, evolution.

Lavender to the horizon

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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.

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.

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Well worth a visit with a lovely atmosphere.

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Upwards and upwards Chamonix

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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!

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