2018 – 2019 Festive Catch-up

We have really enjoyed discovering this area and something high on our list of things to do was to visit the Rock of Solutré. It is a fascinating place with legends and myths involving horses being driven over the escarpment, borne out of the fact that the bones of thousands of horses, bison, cattle and mammoth were discovered at the base in 1866. There is still no accepted explanation for this strange phenomenon but the myth lives on. The rock itself is limestone, pushed up from the sea bed when the African and Eurasian tectonic plates “collided”. This collision has taken 160 million years to bring the landscape to its current form and is the same event that created the Alps.
201812 01 our first view of rock of solutré

The escarpment peak is over 200 meters from the base and a completely sheer drop from top to bottom – with absolutely no fences or boundaries to stop you walking straight over the edge. I’m not great with heights and the danger of it terrified me. Meanwhile, Frank did his usual trick of standing with his toes over the edge looking down, just for the thrill! It literally makes me feel sick when he does this, so I tend to look away and busy myself with looking after the dogs!

There are many tracks and farm field access lanes around here (around France, in fact) and most of our trips out into the countryside usually include a bit of gentle off-roading when the HiLux’s H4 mode needs to be deployed. Frank is like an excited child in a toy shop when this happens and even though he always asks if I want to have a go driving it seems a shame to take away his pleasure of driving through muck and puddles making “big truck” noises. Bless!!

201812 11 - off-road above les grottes de blanot

We had a lovely Christmas, just the two of us. We’d brought some Irish sausages back from the UK when we went over in November and put six packs into the freezer as soon as we were back on board. For Christmas I sacrificed some and stripped out the sausage meat to make sausage rolls. Nikki had given me a jar of Waitrose mincemeat so mince pies were also part of our Christmas fare, along with a Christmas Pud and Sherry (how else can you make sherry trifle!), all purchased on our trip home and all helped make our Christmas perfect! I also found out what icing sugar is in France so the mandatory Brandy Butter accompanied the mince pies and pud….wonderful!

We decked the boat out in Christmas lights and by pure fluke we realised the local, VERY noisy ducks didn’t like the naff laser lights we’d mounted on the flag mast and they have steered clear of Thirza ever since we switched them on. All other decorations have now been taken down and packed away, but the laser lights will remain in place until we leave!

New Year saw us join our Dutch friends Felix, Hedwig and Mark at Mark’s place near Bourbon Lancy and we had a really funny night playing Dutch monopoly, eating traditional Dutch fruit-filled donuts and drinking waaaaaayyyy too much! It was a lot of fun!

201812 31 - new year

We had decided to visit the Alps whilst in the area. We are literally a 2 hour drive from Chamonix, the French ski resort, and so booked into a dog-friendly hotel for 3 nights so we could experience the Alps, and more particularly Mont Blanc. What an incredibly beautiful place. It is breath taking and having had significant snow fall before we arrived we were able to tick a few boxes. 1) sledge down a snowy mountain….tick, tick and tick; 2) get as close to Mont Blanc as possible……tick; 3) visit as many countries in one day as possible (France, Switzerland and Italy)…..tick!

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So, that just about brings us up to date. We’ll post more when there is more to tell………à bientôt!

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