Farewelling summer on a high
It’s the official end of summer and last week we thought it had gone for good. We had a few rainy days where it rained all day and the temperature barely made it to double digits. Those are the days when you happily clean the house.
Anyway Friday the blue skies returned and with the girls now at school through the week, Rob and I decided to make the most of the morning. We did the walk from Talloires up through a little old village to reach the Eglise St Germain (Church of St Germain).
I may have already mentioned St Germain before but if not his story was pretty interesting. Basically he was a monk way back in the 11th century who was summoned to Talloires to build a priory there which later became L’Abbaye de Talloires (where we stayed last year). After he completed the picturesque abbey (perfectly situated on the edge of the lake) he decided he wanted to live the life of a devout recluse. So he climbed up the hillside behind Talloires and found a little cave where he then lived for nearly 40 years until he died in his 90s. Aah men! Who can figure them out?? It's really taking the euphamism of 'going into his cave' to the extreme.
The tiny village of St Germain has restored its church which was damaged during the French Revolution in the late 1700s and now it is a very quaint Benedictine church with an amazing view over the lake. A few of the nuns were out taking their morning stroll along with us.
After our hike we took the girls out of school for a special Friday lunch to celebrate their first week back at school and went to the restaurant at the port of Menthon St Bernard. It was a bit of an effort to get Bronte to agree to return to school at 1.30pm for the afternoon shift, but we eventually managed it. Which is why I’m glad they go to la cantina for lunch Mon, Tues and Thurs. Besides they get a fabulous three course meal and a big play time – when we ask how their school day was, all they seem to recall is the gourmet extravaganza they’ve had for lunch - salad, chicken with rice, sandwiches, cheeses, yoghurt and chocolate icecream etc.
On Saturday we took the girls up to the Foret d’Adventure above Talloires. It’s the high ropes course which they did a couple of months ago. This time Rob and I did the Grand Foret parcours while the girls did le Petite Foret. We thought it would be a breeze but it was a full on two hour workout. Rope ladders, tarzan vines, swinging logs…. Real Indiana Jones stuff.
We had worked up an appetite in the forest so headed further uphill to Col de la Forclaz where we dined against a backdrop of hundreds of parapentes spinning and spiralling through the sky. If that wasn’t dramatic enough, right in front of us was a short runway out over the forest and during our lunch two tandem handgliders ran down it and swooped up into the sky. They were brave souls because they looked like they were headed straight for the trees.
Today, Sunday, we headed for the hills again. This time on the opposite side of the lake. Near Duingt (pronounced ‘Dwa’) we turned west and headed up through an ancient valley to the village of Entrevernes at the top of a cliff. We had seen the village from the top of Col de la Forclaz and it looked enticingly remote and dramatic. We travelled through to Membert where the road ended and followed our trekking map to join up with the track of the Tour du Lake Annecy. There we split up, Juls and I decided to do the ’50 minute hike’ down to Lathuile, while Rob and Bronte returned to the car and drove down to meet us there at 3pm (50 minutes hence).
The guys who signpost these hikes are obviously ultramarathon runners in their spare time – way fitter than Juls and I. We happily roamed along, she picking flowers and wild blackberries, me just enjoying the sunshine and the serenity. About 20 minutes later we reached the next signpost which indicated Lathuile was still 45 mins away. So we canned the berry picking and started motoring down the mountainside – even going cross country to shortcut down a couple of the switchbacks.
We passed a disused mine and about halfway down Juls decided she was sick of walking and asked if I could carry her. Anyway full credit to her, she made it all the way on her own despite being busting to go to the toilet. (No mum, I couldn’t convince her to squat behind a tree!). It took us about 1hr 20mins which I thought was alright.
Then this evening we were taken on a lovely boat journey on the lake by a friend of Rob’s, Daniel, his wife Anne and sister in law Odile. It was just superb. The girls jumped off the boat into perfectly clear water (so clear that Juliette spotted and retrieved a 2 euro coin from the bottom of lake below us!). A swan befriended us and we were kept company by a huge fish. The highlight of the day for the girls was them both taking turns at driving us all home in the boat.
So the early indications are that September is set to be a wonderful month. A good thing too because we’re looking forward to welcoming Brendan and Tamara next week, then Auntie Di and also my friend Kerry and her daughter Indiana later in the month.
Au revoir for now. Enjoy the new photos! Love, S,R,B & J