After a few days drive down through France (including the sat nav taking us down a dirt road that only farmers in their tractors use to get to their fields), the landscape started to change and the accent started. When we worked in Sainte Foy last winter we went down the mountain a few times to Bourg St Maurice if we needed to use the supermarket or fancied a McDonald's. The mushed brown snow always made it look a bit dreary compared to the crisp white slopes. But when we drove through on Thursday it was sunny, bright and the window boxes had bright flowers. It was a pretty little town. We stopped at the McDonald's mainly for the wifi and I finally bought a new pair of flip flops at the shop next door, stopping myself from buying a pair of board boots on sale.
We drove a little further up the mountain on the only road leading to Sainte Foy, mostly in 2nd gear, poor little Mildred is no good on even the slightest upward slope. The view kept getting better and better and it really bought back what an amazing time I had their previously, only now their was no snow on the mountain, still looked beautiful though! We parked in the middle of the resort and popped down to the bar for a drink, only a few locals who owned chalet's their were around making the most of the warm sun before it started getting colder.
Mia seemed pretty impressed with the scale of the mountains having never seen any before and we walked up the grassy nursery slope for a quick look around. We were hoping the lifts would still be running for bikers going up the mountain so we could go up and see even more of the view, however we found the first lift had been completely removed and their were trucks around working to install a new and faster one in time for the winter season. We took a look at the chalet we worked in to find that without the snow the plants had taken over covering most of the stairs and the entrance to the building.We moved our van just down the road to the car park where a paddock had been set up for horses. Some tiny kids were having riding lessons on teeny tiny ponies which was really funny to watch as they bobbed around all over the place. We watched the sun set with the company of a big horse and some wine.
Me on the steps up to the chalet we worked in and the installation of a new chair lift
The next day we thought we'd try walking up the mountain without the help of the lift as it was such a nice day. There is a village where in the winter it is abandoned as you can only ski there but it is accessible in the summer if you trek over. We started the walk with the best intentions however after a few hours of up hill mountain walking we only reached the car park of where most people park and then walk to the village. We had seen butterflies, crickets, flowers and raspberries on the way up as well as the glacier on the other side of the mountain so we ate our sandwich in the car park and made our way back down. Our excuse being we had run out of water already and my feet weren't used to not wearing flip flops anymore!
Today we drove back down to Bourg and booked ourselves on a white water rafting trip down the river Isere for tomorrow. We're hiding in the van at the moment on a rubbely strip of wasteland near the river waiting for a storm to pass over (very loud and thundery), but apparently white water rafting is most fun after it's rained so I'm not complaining. I'm just loving being back on a mountain!