The Daleys in France - September 2013

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20 September 2013
Finally have a bit of time and WiFi so this is the story of our trip so far. Hope it's not too long and rambling.

After picking up the motorhome, we decided to go the furthest away to start with and then work our way back - we stayed at Arnay-le-Duc (a lovely historic old town when we managed to find the centre of town) and then Clairvaux-les-lacs (an almost deserted summer holiday place) on our way over to Switzerland. These were interesting places to stop-over and we learned a bit about camping grounds in France i.e. there is no provision for toilet paper, men's urinals are outside in the open and you can't adjust the water temperature in the showers - it's just a push button which lasts for 60 secs and then you have to push it again. If the water's luke warm or cold, that's what you get. Having said that we have since found that there are camping grounds with better facilities - it's just difficult to find them unless you know what to look for.
Anyway we left Clairvaux-les-lacs which is in the Jura and drove on minor roads through the mountains into Switzerland. On the way we stopped and did a bush walk to some waterfalls - photo attached. The countryside was spectacular - deep gorges, mountains, cows with bells around their necks - definitely Sound of Music country. Crossed through an old border post. We arrived in Lausanne hoping to meet up with Paul and Shirley. Lausanne is quite a big city with electric buses and traffic everywhere and of course we were in the motorhome - quite a bit larger than your average car. We ended up stuck in roadworks (courtesy of GPS) being babbled at in French by workmen - managed to turn around somehow and get out of there only to find ourselves in a one-way street (once again thanks to the GPS). All this time John, who was driving, was very calm and collected while I was stressed to the max. We were trying to head down towards the lake which we eventually did and amazingly found the Office de Tourisme. Then of course we had to park the van - ended up doing this a distance away but needed parking meter which wouldn't take our Euro so eventually used credit card. Found out later it only takes Swiss francs. Luckily there was only one camping ground in Lausanne so we went there, found Paul and Shirley and got a spot just near them - amazing! The next day we rode with them from Lausanne to Vevey - a highlight of the trip - see photo.
Next day we headed to Annecy in the rain around the other side of the lake - back in France again - villages with narrow streets and buildings either side. Arrived in the centre of the city - big tourist town - traffic and people everywhere, boom gates in any parking areas we found (the van is 3 m high) - signs to Tourist Info but we couldn't find it, so got out of there and headed around the lake. Stopped at first camping ground we found - similar to above description, but then found a better one which we moved to the next day. Absolutely love Annecy - thanks Nicole :) - even despite a couple of rainy days. Have stayed here 2 more days than we had planned and could stay longer. Beautiful Alpine lake surrounded by mountains - cyclists's heaven with 40 km of hotmix cycleway (rail trail) from Annecy along western side of lake and up the valley. We visited the old part of Annecy yesterday which was much better by bike - no worries about having to park the vehicle. Old part of city very quaint - mini Venice - photo attached.
Today was fine and sunny and we did a fantastic ride up to Col de Leshaux - 4% climb for 12 kms. - really good gradient. There was a beaut restaurant there so we stayed for a yummy lunch - omlette, salad and chips then homemade icecream. The ride back down was fun - part of this year's Tour de France - see photo.
Tomorrow we head off for the Loire Valley to do some more cycling visiting castles, Leonardo da Vinci Parc and other stuff. A bit sad to leave Annecy - definitely could come back here for several weeks - so much more we could do.
The adventure continues ...
Bye for now,
Love, Anne & John.




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