Freddie Mercury on Wet Weather Camping; Yoda on Cowardice & FEAR; – & J-La on the Perils of a Poker Face
With 30 waterfalls on the Circuit du Sixt alone, it was a matter of time before we did actually get to one!
Our first waterfall came in the form of lovely, summer, mountain rain; pitter-pattering on the roof of the caravan. Only our third wet day since we left the UK, nearly two months ago. It was WONDERFUL!
“I’ve paid my dues. Time after time. I’ve done my sentence. But committed no crime…”
This is my interpretation of Mr Mercury’s stirring anthem “We are the Campers”. His home island of Zanzibar has not one but two rainy seasons, so it would not surprise me if his early camping days resembled mine – ALWAYS in the rain!
Having paid our dues, time after time – we bought a caravan!
Part of the joy of the rain was having en-suite facilities, a kettle and a TV. We were nice and warm – and DRY! The temperature got down to 3C last night, so we are feeling a little superior in comfort to the crusty mountain folk in the tents. The abundance of crusties DOES mean that there is no queue for showers, however. At least, that’s what I thought…
Spot the Difference; Winter & Summer on the Piste des Cascades!
We stopped short of singing in the rain but went for a wander up the Piste des Cascades, a 14km ski run down which we have skidded (and walked with our skis!) a number of times. It was lovely to see the cascades for which it is named, but it is a blue run.
Marvel, which we walked up the other day, was only a green and that was hard enough! Before we ran out of puff, we did get some moody views of the Haut Giffre, with shrouds of mist, like feather boas, draped over the mountainsides.
As we drove down to the pretty town of Samoens for lunch, the river was smoking! We peered longingly in the window of our favourite patisserie but remained strong. We may have walked up a blue run – but we had still not burnt off enough calories to enter!
We returned to the caravan for a coffee and a sleep, watching the mountains move in and out of view through the mists through our skylights!
Travel is all about new experiences and today, I nearly got a black eye from the shower.
The upper shower block is a bit rough and ready. Adjacent to the shower head is a chain to release the water, like a flush on a Victorian toilet. A flimsy nail is provided to keep the chain out of the way while you shower. Needless to say, the chain, which was quite heavy, pulled out the nail mid-shower and the chain socked me right in the eye! Maybe the prevalence of crusty mountain types is not the explanation for why there is no queue here for the shower… the shower HURTS!
Although we are above 1000m, the temperature is still in the mid-30s. Thankfully, much of the ascent was through shady forest. Cascade du Rouget, one of largest waterfalls in the area, is also known as “The Queen of the Alps”. 80m of tumbling waters created its own cooling breeze and the Queen’s fine spray misted our skin. It was bliss.
We decided to continue with the cooling theme on the way down and took the plunge in a mountain stream. Mark’s face says it all. As you entered the water, it was so cold that it felt like someone hitting your shins with a plank!
On his Irish Wave Clinic, my windsurf instructor, Peter Hart, told me that I need to show my feelings more. This came about because my smile did not reveal that I was TERRIFIED of the motorhome-sized waves that were breaking over my head! (To read the NWF blog about my exploits in the North Atlantic, click here.) Below, you can see my “It is so cold it HURTS!” face – identical to the “I’m so scared I want to vomit!” face about which Peter complained so Hartily!
We descended past someone wearing a T-shirt stating that ‘Fear leads to Cowardice’ – I don’t agree! I stand more with Yoda on this; “Path to the Dark Side fear is; fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.” And according to Yoda “Cowards are those who follow the Dark Side.”
We feel in touch with the force. Endured shower-based pain and cold water suffering we have; and even in Irish waves, avoid fear and anger we did.
Stay on the Light Side, we will!
Which was just as well. Our time in the mountains had come to an end. We were about to begin our return journey back across France. Our next stop? Unlucky Allevard..!
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To find out what else there is to do in Sixt, read the 30s Review & Things to Do from Campsite Municipal Le Pelly.