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Short excursion to the Alps

mettisse

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May 27, 2010
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341
Spent a week going to the Alps for my wife to ski, mid Jan 2020, many years ago I loved to take part in the Croisiere Blanche, it was a 4x4 event held at a ski resort in the Haut Alps at a small town called Orcieres Merlet. While my pal and I drove the course ( over 3 days) our wives would ski, ( double value) of an evening we could and did rent ski-doos and ride up the ski slopes to the top of the mountain, yep in the dark, amazing. Well, we were not able to re create that as the event has been stopped by the eco- warriors , and there is an interesting addendum to that story. We drove down the usual route , Calais, Reims Troyes, Grenoble etc and the ol’ Bruiser ran like the Swiss proverbial, we had taken along with us one of our grandchildren, she is 13 and great company. My wife being quite an accomplished skier was keen to take her but we invested in a one to one instructor and after just 3 hours over 2 days she was skiing really well, well enough to go by herself on the lower slopes. The area is delightful if you enjoy driving the little lanes that connect the small villages around the area. No, I don’t ski, I have replacement hips and have good mobility and I wouldn’t risk damage at any price. But, I love exploring , and for most part the snow was on the very high ground but, I did have to engage diff locks on two occasions on very icy lanes, I had chains with me ( big heavy duty to fit the BFG’s) so I was well equipped for most eventualities.
It was at times like this I wish I was more competent in taking pictures, it was stunning, delightful and really satisfying to do a short trip like this, we didn’t need a chunky 4x4, but the luxury of travelling with only 3 in the car, taking time out for the “ cup of tea” stops and picnic lunches on the journey there and back, while this was no budget trip, it was not expensive, if 4 go in a vehicle, choose the accommodation carefully it can be another adventure easily accomplished. Pre planning and booking recommended although we didn’t, it worked out well for us but more by luck than judgement.
The Eco- Warriors got the Croisiere Blanche stopped because of a timid black grouse type bird that nobody had ever seen being disturbed ( in hibernation) by the vehicles driving around. Remember, only existing tracks were ever used, it was the deep snow which made it difficult, and sometimes scary.
Well, the news is wolves have made their way from Eastern Europe and now live in that area, guess what has been discovered? They locate by smell the hibernating black grouse, and not only disturb them, they eat them! However it is forbidden to harm the wolves, penalty of prison, I give up,.
All done, a lovely easily achievable trip, and ski-doos are still up for rent, and they were brand new models. We didn’t self cater but that was our choice.
A few piccies follow( hope
Best regards to all. Bill Westley

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IRLGW

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Dec 2, 2011
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What did you do for accommodation was it easy to find local accommodation as you travelled of did you stay put in one spot. Awesome trip and just about the right length for this time of year.
 

mettisse

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May 27, 2010
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What did you do for accommodation was it easy to find local accommodation as you travelled of did you stay put in one spot. Awesome trip and just about the right length for this time of year.
Accommodation- on the way down we overnighted at a posh hotel in Macon, called the “Panorama 360” cost about €100 for a family room (3) went out for a meal by the river, had a gourmet burger ( streak hache topped with foil gras) and the trimmings, ( I cant say I don’t eat burger again) that was around €15 each and it was plenty,
At Orcières we stayed a an Auberge that was thrown up by Booking dot com! We can book online as we travel, but the Auberge we reserved before we went.
We use Booking dot com all the time, pay usually 85 to 110 euros per nite for a family room, occasionally more, or if we are on our own we use the cheaper hotels like B&B ibis budget etc. The actual availability of accommodation in Orcieres was sparse because of the International Ski racing that week, we had a 15 min drive into town for them to ski, the racing did not affect the skiing for the public. We stayed in another posh hotel near Troyes on the way home but for the life of me I can’t remember the name, ( we booked from the car on the move) won’t forget the dinner tho’ fabulous!, it’s quite possible, and we have done it, to do the whole trip in one day, but hey, I’m semi retired old and decrepit, I want to enjoy the drive and take it easy. One point tho, the people we know there said avoid the French school children’s holidays in February, mayhem !, and I suppose that will affect everywhere but, Orcieres is only a couple and half hours drive from Marseille, so weekends are manic as well. Who cares? We had fun, and my girls didn’t ski on the weekend anyway.
 
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