“It stinks in here!”

Since we left the UK, Mabel’s observational skills have come along nicely, though her timing and use of language to express such could do with a little tempering. Out of the mouths of babes, eh?

Of course, she’s not wrong, it does stink. It stinks so bad that you can not only smell it, but taste it when you breathe through your mouth.

We are of course in France, and the source of the stink I write about today, is our fridge. It’s laden with several types of cheese, fresh salad ingredients, wine, and garlicy cured meats. It’s no secret, I love France. I am a foodie, who loves drinking, and mountains, why would I want to look anywhere else? Except Italy perhaps…..

We had a slightly disappointing time travelling down through the Black Forest. The roads can be very steep, the van’s oil leak had got to the point where it needed attention again, and our overnights (based on not really being able to travel around freely) left us wanting. I was keen to leave Germany, and cross the border into France, partly because I can speak a tiny bit of french, and partly because I have spent some time in France holidaying in the past. I guess ultimately, after 4+months of exploring, I craved a bit of familiarity.

The girls had a scheduled stop in the UK, so I was home alone for ten days, and so after dropping them at Basel airport, I headed back north to find a garage to fix the van. Easier said than done. But, after a day of head shakes, and looking anywhere but at our van, I found a place to take it on, and not only that, they could do it the next morning. The details are dull, but a few hundred euros, and a simple parts swap later, the van hasn’t leaked since, and with a few more improvements I’ve subsequently made, its running better than ever.

Once fixed, I hopped in the van in the blazing sun, and drove over to the Alsace region in France, where I took some much needed time for myself.

Nice simple food, a bottle of something chilled, relaxing in the sunshine, is how many people like to relax.

Bagging eight cols….. and the brutal planche des belles filles over four days, maybe not so much……but it certainly helped me to unwind, and regroup ahead of the return of the two women in my life.

Having had such a nice few days, I was keen to show Liz the sights I had seen, and so we pottered down from there after I collected them, south through the Jura mountains to where we stand now, just west of chambery perched on the edge of the hottest lake in France with the alps before us. The views are (in my opinion) the best weve had since Norway, and genuinely breathtaking, The climate is favourable, and we’ve treated ourselves to a couple of nights at a campsite so we can all unwind, and enjoy the feeling of a bit more space.

I bloody love France!