Sunday, 6 September 2015
Relaxing in the Alps
A good night's sleep and a bit of a lie in, and I think I am now over the jet lag! The past two days have been a bit of a struggle.
My darling decided that I needed a bit of extra rest, so went 'hunting and gathering' for our breakfast and managed superbly to rustle up a lovely breakfast of croissants, pain de chocolate, yoghurt and a nice cup of tea, which we enjoyed sitting up in bed looking out at the mountains across the valley beyond. Life is not too tough at all!
We finally ventured out at 10:30am and spent around 3 hours wandering about this pretty village. St Gervais les Bain is on the lower slopes of the Mont Blanc mountain range. While it has historical roots back to Medieval times, through to being a 19th century spa town, these days, it is a ski resort in the winter and the base for mountaineering in the summer. While the centre of the town has lots of historical buildings, the ski focus means that the has been a lot of recent development. Ah, progress!!
The town is built on two sides of small valley, and sits within a much larger valley where other villages can be seen. The whole valley is surrounded by various different mountains, so there are fantastic views anyway you look. (The panoramic photo is from our hotel balcony).
We followed a pretty terrible local tourist map that tried to take us to various places of historical interest, but this mainly just got us lost a lot...although I did start us off in the wrong direction...darn northern hemisphere, everything on a map is 180' around the wrong way!! We eventually ditched the map and just wandered about. Historical buildings included old castles and fortifications, and some wonderful old residential buildings as well (see first photo above).
At lunchtime we stopped for a very civilised lunch back in the town square which we made our main meal for the day. Then it was time for a bit of a siesta, and to do a bit of planning for tomorrow.
We headed back out again late in the afternoon to wander over the new bridge that crosses the valley and discovered that within the two pylons at each end of the bridge they have built art spaces. One of them had an exhibition on which we were able to see.
We are struggling a bit with the language and I am feeling frustrated that I did not find time to learn a bit more. We have struck a few people who do not speak English, but still we have managed to eat, drink and buy all the things we need!