Thursday, 8 August 2013

The journey to Switzerland

We all woke early on Saturday, packed the car and then headed off on our journey to Switzerland. We headed onto the motorway drove through the toll gates then came to a standstill - holiday traffic! The French have the month of August off for vacation and as we were travelling on the first Saturday of August we were unfortunate enough to get in the midst of all the holiday traffic. Ken the GPS managed to find us an alternative route for part of the trip but the four hour trip ended up taking us six hours. We arrived in the Provence town of L'Isle-sur-sorgue all in desperate need of some refreshments and to stretch our legs! We waited patiently for a park as the guy very slowly loaded his children and pram into his car and then just as he was about to reverse out someone else parked directly behind him and he very almost backed into them. We eventually got into the park and all very happily jumped out of the car. James and I had visited L'Isle-sur-sorgue 16years ago on our OE and remember the water wheels and what a gorgeous place it was and we were not disappointed second time around.

We crossed the river and found an icecream parlour and treated ourselves to some yummy treats!

We had a lovely wander around the streets and enjoyed looking in the windows of the antique shops and at all the lavender souvenirs.

We got back into the car and drove onto Gordes another half hour up the road. This town had also been on our Provence itinerary 16 years ago and I remember it as a gorgeous historic village on top of a hill and yet again I was not disappointed! It seems such a remarkable place to build a village.

We decided it was time for a drink so sat down at a table in a nice looking cafe. After looking at the menu we decided that paying €6 for a coke and €9 for a glass of beer was a bit steep so went off and searched for a different option. We found a cafe with two tables available for pre dinner drinks as all the other tables were being set for dinner. Despite the fact that several other people came along wanting to sit outside for a drink they were told they could either have a drink inside or find somewhere else. Then as soon as we left they put the chain across the front of the cafe so no none else could come along and want to drink in their cafe! We did have a lovely drink though and had a great view. We could even keep an eye on the car that was parked across the road - it's the one with the roof box and the bike on top!

We left Gordes and headed for our hotel in Avignon. Unfortunately the hotel had mucked up our booking and had only reserved one room not two. They managed to find a family room for us that had not been booked out due to the fact that it had no air conditioning but that we still had to pay full fee for. The hotel managed to redeem itself however as the dinner we had in the restaurant was wonderful.

The next day we headed to Orange which has a wonderful Roman theatre. We enjoyed exploring the historic monument and climbing up and down the seats and imaging the shows that had been preformed here 2000 years ago.

Jasper Ceasar!

As well as the theatre there was a museum which housed the ancient artifacts which had been removed from the theatre in order to preserve them.

As it was now lunch time and we had a four hour drive ahead of us we decided to head to a local cafe and have a decent lunch.

The wall of Orange antique theatre.

We left Provence feeling we had not really done it justice as there is so many wonderful villages to explore but the little bit we had seen had been wonderful.

We drove on to Switzerland and crossed the border. We only drove a few kms and then turned off the main road and back over the border back into France to our hotel. Our hotel was in the spa town of Divonne-les-bains and was fine for a night. Even though the apartment had a kitchen we had no food to cook and as it was a Sunday no shops were open so we all set off walking in search of dinner. We found nothing open so went back to the hotel and asked the receptionist where we could get dinner. He said there was a pizza place which was good and it was just a bit further on from where we had walked to. We had our own pizza bases so thought we could get them to make up pizzas on them for us. We jumped in the car and discovered there were a few more cafes open by the pizza place. So we didn't have to have pizza after all but instead had Moroccan which was delicious.

Pink lighting at the Moroccan cafe.

We had a good sleep although very lumpy pillows and a hard foam bed encouraged us to get up nice and early! We had breakfast in the hotel breakfast room and then headed off on the last segment of our journey.

After three hours we were ready for lunch and ended up finding a great park right near the shores of Lake Zurich. The car park was right by a lovely park on the lakefront but as we were not prepared to pay €4 per person for the privilege of sitting on the grass we tried our luck at finding somewhere else. We found a park a bit further on where we had a picnic of tuna sandwiches and Jasper had a swim in the lake in his undies.

On our walk back to the car we discovered that we had actually parked right opposite the lindt chocolate factory. Never one to up an opportunity we crossed the road and had a great time buying and sampling yummy chocolate treats!

Our chocolate supplies well and truly stocked we drove the last hour and a half to Klosters through many many kilometres of tunnels and past scenery straight out of Heidi - little villages plonked in the middle of valleys miles up the mountains and all the fields beautifully manicured and pristine.

We arrived at klosters mid afternoon and were delighted with the wonderful accommodation that we were able to use for the next ten days. We are so thankful to our friends Veronica and Les who have so kindly let us stay here as it is a fantastic apartment in a wonderful setting.

The apartment in Klosters.

Hannah on our front lawn.

The view from our porch.

Feeling very blessed to be in such a lovely part of the world and looking forward to many Swiss adventures!

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