Déjà vu… back to Araches, Haute Savoie

Well I’m not saying that we over-indulged….but… well ….the bottle “body count” from last night was….impressive for just 3 people [or disgraceful depending on which side of the “AA” fence you sit].   A bottle of white, followed by a magnum of red and then I vaguely recall another bottle of granache being opened to take us through to midnight.

It would explain why we both slept like sloths until 10am and awoke with throbbing headaches and absolutely no interest in food whatsoever.    We had planned to do some yoga in Georgie’s fabulous studio that morning, but there was no way we could do a “downward dog” without our heads completely exploding.   So much for the health plan!   Poor Georgie had to be on the phone to NZ for work at 7am and did not thank us for our lack of restraint.   Fortunately we had planned to catch up with our old crew from Araches, Rick & Liz and Gavin and Sue for dinner tonight. We could leave Georgie in peace to re-hydrate, finish her work in peace and get a decent night sleep with us away for the night.

On the way back to the “old stomping ground” in the Haute Savoie we popped into the Plum [“pronounced Plume”] factory near Cluses.   It was absolutely freezing – with the temperature a steady bone -chilling   -3°C!!.   Hoar frost covered the ground and the trees with no sun under the dense inversion fog we’d seen from the top of the Jura yesterday with Georgie.

Inversion cold cold fog - YUK
Inversion cold cold fog – YUK!!

Plum make light weight technical randonee bindings in competition to the Dynafit brand.   We visited with them back in 2012 when they first started and we were treated to a tour of the factory.   It was great to see that they have continued to grow.  They now make specialist touring bindings for splitboards and even have their own range of Plum branded skis and splitboards.

As we found on our last visit, the guys at Plum are a really friendly bunch.  Graeme was wanting to buy a specific crampon attachment for his telemark skis.   The telemark binding can make the fitting of a crampon quite tricky.   But Plum manufacture the piece he needed and the delightful ski technician at the company agreed to fit it free of charge to Graeme’s skis.   He took a great deal of care and did a superb job.

Back on the main road, after we got to Cluses, we didn’t need “Gina the GPS” – we knew our way up the mountain to our old address in Araches. The mountain road seems a lot wider than we remembered.   I guess that we’ve started to get used to the much narrower mountain roads in Arabba.  We were pleased to see that while the village has grown, it looked tidy and a little smarter than when we lived there for the season in 2008/9.   But…in contrast to that year….no snow at all other than a few northerly facing slopes with the remaining scraps from their last big dump in November.   The ski resorts of Grand Massif are traditionally open around the middle of December  – but sadly not this year.   Even Flaine which is the highest resort in the Grand Massif will have a limited opening.

Driving past our old little apartment at the Teste family “Le Refuge”, we could see that their infamous little Fiat Panda has been replaced by a smart Landrover and the garden was very neat and tidy.  Hubert & Marie have a permanent tenant in the flat but they still escape to their mountain house every chance they get.

Well!  We all just have more wrinkles!  R&L look just the same.   It was like we’d never been away. But arriving at R&L’s chalet we were treated to the wonder of their new renovation.   Rick is an extremely good builder but together with Liz they add an “X-factor” with their decorative skills and creative touches.   We couldn’t believe the changes they’d made. Have a look at the photos of their “newly renovated” chalet in Araches to see what I mean. Absolutely stunning.  Leanne & Mike will remember what R&L’s chalet was like when they visited with us in March 2009. Unfortunately with “Brexit”, selling their perfect mountain chalet is proving pretty tricky.

Gavin & Sue met us for a pre-dinner drink and we headed up the road to a quirky farmhouse restaurant called Les Campanules, run by an old french couple, Sylvie and Denis.   Serving traditional Haute Savoie fare, you are literally dining with them on a big table in their house.  Denis & Slyvie offer a very traditional style of cooking called the Cloche – which is almost literally cooking meat on a “cow bell” over a hot flame like a fondue.  Unfortunately we forgot our camera this night, so Sue had to take photos on her i-phone.  Big apologies for the poor quality and more importantly we missed out on a photo of Gavin, Sue’s husband!!   Hopefully Gav will post a self-portrait in reply.

Given our lack of restraint the evening before with Georgie, we were secretly relieved that all the team had a busy day planned for tomorrow.   Liz is also is undergoing an horrendous dental operation at noon tomorrow.   As is always the way, instead of comforting Liz, over pre-dinner drinks we all shared our “horror dentist stories”.   Finger crossed all goes well.  She is pretty “over” going to the dentist.

Tucked up in our cute little raised bed, we had a great sleep, ready to head back to Georgie’s house tomorrow, to give her hand with some work she needs to do on the farm.

Our cute little bed at R&L's
Our cute little bed at R&L’s
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