It's been a busy week since our last detailed blog entry, but certainly not a quiet one:
1.Jo and I ate a horse
2.We were accused of theft at a petrol station
3.We entered Switzerland somewhat illegally (I think....)
4.We stayed at a Hotel that had a restaurant and a Tattoo parlour
5.We both got lost in a maze
If that sounds intriguing, then read on........
Our last stop in France was Chamonix, right on the border.Two of our friends are going here within the next few weeks, so it was a place we had to see for ourselves.As a bit of treat we picked the biggest hotel right as you enter the town with great views of Mont Blanc and the glacier (see other blogs), and will be absolutely divine in season covered in snow.Our room was in about three sections and it was tempting to stay in and use their gym etc, but that doesn't get the sights seen!
The following day we headed over to Switzerland, and got to border control, passports at the ready, biggest smiles etc, but it was shut.Hard to believe but it seems that on Friday mornings travel between Euro countries is completely open to anyone that wants to pop along. Only later did we find out this was actually quite normal, but we nearly handed ourselves over to the local police.....
The first few hours were a little scary as the currency here is the Swiss Franc and not the Euro, so we had no money and weren't sure what the exchange rates were.There also seem to be a major absence of any signage to tell you what speed you're supposed to be going so we needed to get sorted and work out what things should be costing.As we'd been to France before this wasn't an initial thing we'd had to deal with at the start of the trip, so it was a bit of an intense hour or so.The changes between countries were also noticeable in terms of the lack of hotels and supermarkets that are available along the driving routes in France.We drove for a while looking for somewhere decent to stay (that had the pre-requisites of Parking, restaurants etc), and ended up at a place that to this day I'm not sure where it is (It's not on the maps that we have, and we have three of them, and our friends here haven't heard of it either!)It was a hybrid restaurant/hotel/tattoo parlour, which is a new combination that we'd not seen, and the menu turned out to be limited to a few dishes.We opted for the steaks as part of a three course combo, which we thought were a bargain for the small sum of the equivalent of £15.We didn't initially notice but the steak was Cheval which a quick search told us was Horse.Oh well, it was a bargain, and quite nice actually.
The next day we headed for Lausanne and to stay with Jo's cousin Katy and her husband Simon.They'd graciously opened their flat to us to base at, and were able to provide large amounts of local knowledge as to the secrets of the area.A hidden gem was the Olympic museum.I don't really watch the Olympics, but went in with an open mind and it turned out to be one of the most interesting exhibitions that we've been to.They have an exhaustive collection of the past Olympic torches dating back to the thirties which are really cool, loads of medals, associated memorabilia, and costumes donated by the athletes.Watching their 'Successful Olympic Moments' film was really inspirational, and made us want to get out there and do some exercise.Instead, we had Crepes.We've also visited the cheese factory in Gruyere and tried a few different maturities of cheese.I had visions of putting a white coat and hat on and being able to wander around, but it's all done behind glass these days.We've visited the HR Giger museum, where you got to see his early work, his film works (He designed Alien and the numerous spin off films, Species, and Poltergeist II) and his sculptures.The best thing for me though was the adjoining Cafe bar which was all designed and decked out like part of a spaceship or something with huge ornate organic style chairs - Great!We also paid a visit to the Labyrinth Adventure at Evionnaz - the world's largest maze structure apparently.I think it was slightly aimed at children, but we completed the puzzle and got our 10 map landmarks stamped, and that's the main thing........
We spent yesterday avoiding the daily afternoon showers by seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (or 'et la Royame du crane du Cristal' as I'm now used to) for the second time.We accidentally saw it in French the first time, but this time it was in English.Personally I think it's bought us closer to the underlying storyline.....
We've now said goodbye and Thanks to Katy and Simon and are heading off to Bern to continue our visit to Switzerland, so will write again soon.
See you soon
Darren & Jo