Friday, July 15, 2016

Driving from the Mountains to Camp via the Twilight Zone

Everything started out normally enough... cloudy day as we left the Alps.

 Drove through Grenoble. We discovered that downtown Grenoble is very pretty. The last time we drove through Grenoble, we actually drove around the outskirts of town, which are very NOT pretty.

This should have been our first indication that we might be entering the Twilight Zone or some kind of space-time continuum warp. At the time, we didn't think much of it.

But then our roads started looking like this.
And this didn't seem like "the fastest way" (per GPS) to get to camp anymore.

Not exactly a highway.

A "col" is a mountain pass. As in, the kind of roads you see the cyclists take in the Tour de France.
And we took at least five of them, if not more. As we saw the "estimated arrival time" on the GPS grow later and later, we started wondering if we were even going forward anymore.

But at last, we made it! We dropped the boys at camp, said hello to some of the directors and other staff, met some counselors, and then took off for Lyon, after a quick circle around Mont Gerbier de Jonc, near the camp.

Speaking of the Twilight Zone, I was going for a valley view here.

There are farms at the top of the mountain. We don't know if they are self-sustaining, get things delivered by helicopter, or they're just really great mountain-pass drivers.

And... back to the Twilight Zone - this is the road to the gas station.
No, really.

But finally, our never-ending trip did finally end. We made it to Lyon, where we spent the night before heading home the next day. Whew!

If you ever want to visit the Middle of Nowhere, France, we can give you directions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Mountains: Part Three

The boys had so much fun at archery, they decided to do it again the next day. And this time, Frédéric got in on the fun, too.

Bulls-eyes for everyone! (Noah's was on Benjamin's target, but who's counting?)
Benjamin got all three of his arrows in the yellow!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mountains: Part Two

The boys decided to try out archery first. We were pleasantly surprised to find out they got an entire hour. They did a great job, with Benjamin even getting a bulls-eye!

That afternoon, they checked out the ropes course. Benjamin was afraid it wouldn't be challenging enough, but they had three levels of difficulty, and he decided it was perfect. Noah ended up being nervous about trying the second or third level courses, until he talked Benjamin into doing the second level right in front of him. (No wonder they use this for team-building exercises, if it can get two constantly-bickering siblings to work together!) Noah never did try the hardest course, but he ended up going around the intermediate one a couple of times, with Benjamin's help.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mountains: Part One

A few days after school (finally!) got out, we left for the mountains. Since we're in the process of selling our condo up there, this might be one of our last trips to this particular resort for a while.

The first full day up there, we just checked out the different activities on offer. And wondered why we were even looking into it, when the boys invented their own "boules" game, using pine cones and rocks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

First Summer Visitors!

Our first round of summer visitors showed up this week! My friend Chelsea, who attended the junior year abroad program with me a couple (ahem) of years ago, was in Paris for her work. She and a friend came out to visit me for the day.

After a walk around Puiseux, and lunch, we started our visit with Pierrefonds Castle:

Then we moved on to the St Jean de Vignes Abbey in Soissons, built between the 11th and 16th centuries:

And we finished up at the Saint-Gervais-et-Saint-Protais cathedral in Soissons before heading home for dinner, and then taking them back to the train station.
Perfect start to the summer!