European Road Trip
My little family can be a bit unpredictable. While we love being at home, love home cooking, love the quiet little pockets of time that we get to spend together; we’re also quite spontaneous. Phill loves driving and has a ‘lets do it’ attitude and when he gets an idea in his head, he tends to act on it. After four years as ‘the three of us’, it has begun to rub of on Beth and I!
This explains our decision (just a few hours before we set off) to drive to Switzerland for New Year….there was nothing on the TV, we wanted to do it and we thought, what’s stopping us?!?
There was no strict itinerary, we had just a broad idea of the route we were going to take and of course, we’d booked accommodation. (I like adventure as much as the next crazy person, but Switzerland is a bit nippy in December and I guess we didn’t fancy sleeping in the car!!) We left in a mad flurry of activity! Kennels, catteries, passports and mittens. By midnight we were at sea, waving goodbye to the white cliffs of Dover and our adventure had begun.
How wonderful is the unknown?
We were sustained by cereal bars and hula hoops until our first meal in France. Oh and travel sweets. Travel sweets must be carried at all times. I don’t make the rules.
The drive through France consisted of blue skies, wide open horizons and mistletoe laden trees.
Breath taking doesn’t go anywhere near describing this landscape. As we approached the border between France and Switzerland, every corner we turned was more beautiful than the last. By the time the sun was setting, we were in our third country of the day!
We just had to stop to take this picture.
Considering we had left so quickly, making very few proper plans, I should have been a teensy bit stressed at this point…but I wasn’t. Even when I realised I’d forgotten my favourite jumper and my toothbrush! I felt almost relieved as I looked out over the water, so peaceful.
We arrived at our hotel in the dark and were shown to an icicle covered Chalet! It was simple but clean, warm and quaint. Just what we needed.
The next day we went in search of adventure.
Obviously we made snow angels first! Once again, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.
The roads were long and winding and huge tunnels were cut through the mountains. We’d seen one with what looked like a very high tech toll booth. Before we set off, Phill asked the hotel receptionist if there where any nice towns that way, anything interesting?
‘Yes,’ she said ‘that way is Italy.’
So of course, we drove into Italy!
After having only just adjusted to speaking French, it was so strange to hear the ‘hello’ change from Bonjour to Bonjourno! We stopped for lunch and were lucky enough to find a local market where we bought some treats to take home.
We saw a sight I used to dream about when I was a child. We had a huge hard back book called ‘Amazing Places’ (I think!), it contained pictures of the most beautiful and ‘amazing’ sights you could ever see. Giant’s Causeway, the Barrier Reef and of course Mont Blanc.
Please believe me when I say that I absolutely know how lucky we are to have taken this trip. I used to leaf through that book and gaze in awe at all those fantastical places and somehow I felt I knew, I knew for sure, that I would never ever see them. Until three years ago, I had never been on an aeroplane, never been on holiday abroad, never travelled. I feel overwhelmed every time I set foot in a new country because once upon a time, I truly believed that I never would.
Now I have seen some beautiful places, but this one was in the book that used to live under my pillow when I was a little girl. I think Phill and Beth were too busy taking in the stunning surroundings to realise that I had a few tears in my eyes 🙂
It seems to get dark so quickly in the mountains so we began to head back towards Switzerland where we planned to check in at Hotel number two, only to discover that the road to the Hotel had vanished under a blanket of snow, several feet deep.
As the hotel was now accessible only by snow mobile and we had only a lowly Land Rover, we decided to head back to hotel number one, where we were grateful to be upgraded to an amazingly retro room!
Sadly the snow was ‘too powdery’ to build a snow man, but the next morning, we found a perfect spot for sledging. I know this hill looks pretty tame, but we were in a fairly crazy place and didn’t want to risk falling through thin ice or off a cliff!! We may like to go on adventures but we like to come back from them in one piece!
After a quick Pepsi break (best served cold lol) we headed to our destination for New Year’s Eve, Geneva.
I’ve got some pretty cute videos to share from this adventure and I’ll be posting the next instalment very soon, so come back 🙂