After our magical week in Switzerland, we headed just over the border into the French Alps. First stop, Chamonix.
Chamonix is, as I am sure many of you already know, a popular ski resort and despite it not being ski season, it was a hive of activity. We arrived early afternoon and walked a sweaty 30 minutes to our cool hostel just outside the main town. As we were starving, we returned into town for an early dinner.
Chamonix is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. There is every single possible outdoor shop available and fit people milling around everywhere. We can only imagine what it would be like in winter and are kicking ourselves for not paying it a visit whilst we were living in London. We accidentally coincided our visit with the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. The UTMB consists of 5 races, with the main one being the 168 km solo run which has numerous sections of high altitude (>2500m). The winner usually completes it in around 20 hours. Crazy people or what!?
We were quite excited to get out and explore on the following day however Mother Nature had other plans for us. She decided to literally rain on our parade...and rain...and rain...and rain. It rained from when we woke up (8am) until around 6pm that night, and as a result, we did not leave the hostel. Instead we read our books, watched a movie and played scrabble (where I continued my reign but beating Tom convincingly again. Lucy 2. Tom 0). However we did go a little stir crazy and when it finally stopped raining, ran into town to buy supplies for DIY raclette.
If you have not had raclette, you need to get it in your life. It is a traditional Swiss dish whereby you have a plate of steamed potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions and you smother it with melted raclette cheese. Many restaurants were advertising it for around €20+ pp but we simply bought the ingredients and did it ourselves. The result was a huge cheesy feast costing €10 and giving us both belly aches the next morning.
After Chamonix, we left for a small town called Saint-Pierre d'Albigny where we met our friends, Cath and Ross. These crazy cats were competing in another ultra-marathon called L'echappee belle. There are two races - 85 km or 145km, both which cross the Belledonne mountains. As they are pretty hardcore, both Ross and Cath are doing the 145km race. The current record is around 31 hours.
Tom and I were a welcome distraction for Cath and Ross and we took our distraction task serious. We mainly did this through drinking lots of red wine, eating loads of crisps, going for a 2 hour walk directly up a hill and then back down after realising there were zero views to be seen, completing an ice bucket challenge and encouraging their carbo loading efforts by paying a visit to the local McDonalds. It was fantastic to see them both and very inspiring to see them prepare for this insane race.
We saw them off at 2am this morning (The race starts at 6am but they had to catch a bus to the start line) and are eagerly checking the website to see their progress.
And now Tom and I head off to Annecy to enjoy our last couple of days in France eating baguettes, cheese and generally any white carbohydrate available.