No pictures today.
I have a big screen so now I can write long drawn out descriptions of places based on what I find out on Wikipedia and other people's travel blogs. Without pictures I can also imply that my children are impeccably dressed and groomed in the French style, and did not, on our outing, develop headaches and complain about the heat after 3 minutes in it, and then when told not to complain did not flop and scowl and look pained and ask to go home while carefully avoiding doing actual complaints about the weather. Nor did they need to go to the toilet at a very awkward moment and nor did we rush from place to place asking in terrible French or in desperate English where the toilets were and were sent in eighteen different directions. No no, not us, not my children. And I can happily report, they are now, of course, speaking fluent French and chatting happily to locals with their little plastic brains sucking it all up. They are definitely not saying what does du pain mean, or Bonj....????!! Also, with the big screen I will never make a typo in French or English again. That was all due to screen size. Yup. (This is like those getting to know you games where only one of the 18 things I say is true).
So yesterday was nice. No really. Wanting some fresh vegetables we went to the Moûtiers market and it reminded me of the Willis street market except more mushrooms and cheese and salami and seafood. And we bought fresh things and so what if we ended up with kiwifruit rather than nectarines. Then we went to a Creperie and Saladarie in a shady alleyway and the children ate crepes with lemon and sugar and I ate salad and Joe ate something he didn't expect to and we drank our first cafe coffees. We said oui a lot, without understanding what the waiter had said because we know the word oui.
And then we went to the Cathedral which was first built in the 5th Century on a Roman Forum and then built over and over as it got ruined at various times. I liked the leaflet, it was badly photocopied and the one diagram had that lovely over inked too black look. I would have stayed longer and looked at all of it but one of the kid's DID have a headache and kept asking to leave. But what I saw was the reminder of how every inch of places like it had beautiful details. It was so carefully done and so thoroughly. Every inch saturated with colour or coolness or detail. There were statues and paintings, and stained glass and I think if I had stayed and looked then the leaflet told you which things were from which century. There were lit candles and candles available to light, 1 Euro for small ones and 3 Euro for much much bigger ones, and a heap of rocks in front of the statue of Jesus, and folded up prayers on paper, scattered on to them.
The stained glass windows behind the altar had St Paul on one side, St Peter (the Cathedral is called Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Moûtiers) on the other, and Mary with baby Jesus with a grown up face in the middle. I tried to explain to Lily why there was so much Mary imagery and why they often show baby Jesus as not-a-baby-Jesus. One of the most intriguing cool things was a ceiling with a group of birds with halos. Can someone tell me, why birds with halos, are they the 12 Saints? That ceiling was exquisite.
We went up to the place in the mountains Col de Petit Saint Bernard where you cross from France to Italy. The place was full of mountain bikers and motorcyclists. We went to an Italian cafe just over the border with about 50 Swiss Harley Davidson bikers. They all looked really hip amd wealthy with gleaming new bikes. We went up a chairlift and it was mind dazzlingly beautiful. Joe could hardly look at Mount Blanc because it was so big. We were so high. Mountains everywhere. I felt very happy.
Joe liked the fibreglass customs officer at the border, The kids liked the St Bernard dog models. There was a neolithic stone circle. There is evidence of human occupation for 5000 years at the crossing. Here are many inadequate photos including pictures of Lily doing yoga moves (thanks Cosmic kids) and Abbie on the border stone.
My laptop did a bunk so I not writing much and can't edit these easily but here are various pics from walks and of the village and house and a garden that makes me think how much my friend Helen L would love it here. She is queen of pretty and functional and abundance and harvesting. All the houses around here have nasturtiums and hollyhocks and the dregs of sunflowers.
Joe spotted a sign for La Falconnaire and we attempted to walk there. It was tough going though and we didn't make it all the way. It was above La Mirroir, another village seconds away from La Masure (a mirror of La Masure perhaps).
In some of the photos we are looking across to La Masure under the peaks. You can see the house we are staying in towards the left of the frame with a white car parked next to it.
I really can't tell if these photos are good because of tiny screen but just skip the boring repititive ones.
Technology problems so no laptop and doing all this on my phone. I have cheese though and bread, and we get to walk in the mountains every day. The sheep have bells and in the house we are staying in there is a clock that sounds like a dripping tap and a hot water sytem that sounds like a dryer. I can't look at these photos properly because no big screen but here are some possibly choice ones.
La Masure is a satellite village to a ski resort town Ste Foy Tarantaise and is full of l'hotels. I have to kick myself that this isn't a tacky recreation of a swiss mountain village but an actual mountain village with a chapel from 17something and communal watertubs and a dairy farmer who goes up into the hills each day at early morning in some blimmin Heidi-esque eternal daily reenactment. Did I mention every direction you turn it is beautiful? Did I mention our neighbour told me how much further down the snow that never melts used to reach even 10 years ago?
Here are photos Joe and Abbie took on a wander round the village. It is high summer, and the school holidays, so the village is empty of snowboarders and of children. who all leave for the month of their holidays. Abbie liked the Narnia lampposts. Today Abbie and Joe took our food waste to the village compost bin. Our first mountain thunderstorm.
Our family has left the country for three months. I am therefore legally obliged (National Parenting Rules 2008 (Social Media Amendment 66 (3.4)) to document it online. First up some photos mostly by the kids. including some where Abbie insisted we must act terrified and then appified us to turn green).
It was night time or the blinds were closed for most of the flights but some things I'll remember from the journey over: seeing the lights of fishing boats as we got close to Hong Kong, the Hong Kong glass towers lit up like one of those magic in the future cities, big airports so large there were buses and trains and golf carts zipping about, the sun rising at our Frankfurt stopover. Glimpses of layers and layers of mountains in the far window of the plane as we flew into Geneva.
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