From Belgium to Switzerland (ATTENTION: EXTREMELY LONG POST AHEAD)

Have I ever mentioned that I love hills? Big rolling hills swathed in emerald cloaks reminiscent of a sea of Green Riders racing across the land with messages of the utmost importance. Ha ha ha. Ok. I try to be all poetic and it just comes out pathetic. The green riders is a reference to a book with the same name by Kristen Britain. Her 4th book of the series comes out this summer I believe…this was all for VG – she introduced the books to me. ^_^ In France we saw a lot of hills like this, dotted with farms and trees, but mostly just a sea of green. It was overcast and grey for the entire day, with a little bit of rain, but that was ok. When we finally did get to Verbier, the trip up the mountain was a bit difficult because it was getting dark and very foggy. Let me back up a bit…

I’ve included a link with our route. We drove through Belgium and into Luxembourg – through France and finally Switzerland. After we stopped for an early lunch in Luxembourg I got behind the wheel. I wasn’t driving more than 10 minutes (maybe closer to 5) when we reached the Luxembourg/France border. I drove for about 2.5 hours, through Strasbourg when we stopped again and Adeline took over. (I just thought that lion in front of us looked funny so I took a picture of it. That’s all, nothing special.)

We would have switched again, but that would’ve meant me driving the last leg of our journey and seeing as how I’ve never driven in mountains before that would have been tricky. After doing it last night I can safely say you would not want to get stuck behind me if I had to drive up on my own. Lots of very sharp turns. We did get passed by someone gunning it pretty fast. You can tell who lives here and who doesn’t! The closest thing I’ve come to the trip up was when my family went out East a few years back. We drove the Cabot Trail and that’s a pretty big hill and can get a little steep. Just looking over the edge from the car freaked me out. Maybe it was my Dad’s driving ;P.

While in France we drove through the Alsace region. My ancestors are from the Alsace-Lorraine area (some from both sides of my family I believe) and when Lisa and my parents come this summer there’s a homestead we want to go to. One thing I noticed about all the little villages in France that we passed was that most of the roofs were orange…. For the most part the driving was easy, with little traffic. There were a few areas the got a little hectic, but I made it through with no problems. There was one time when I pressed on the break a little hard *sorry*. There was also a time when we were sort of close to getting side swiped because this little white car cut in front of me to get around a truck…without using their turn signal!!! It only surprised me a little, I was actually kind of expecting it to do something like that based on the way it came off the on ramp. One thing that bugged me was that every time I would want to go in the left lane to make room for people coming onto the highway there was always someone in that lane slowly making their way past me…they just never did it fast enough for me to move over (or I just didn’t get over soon enough). And I couldn’t cut in front of them without making them angry because I wouldn’t have been able to speed up fast enough to get out of their way! I tried to be observant and considerate, but some people just made it difficult for me. 😛 So now I’ve driven in 3 European countries. I don’t know if I’ll drive a bit in Switzerland or not…Maybe until the border…than Adeline can take over to get us across, :P.

The boys did well. Although poor Sylvain was sick of his seat by the end. He didn’t eat well during the day either. Every time we would stop and try to feed him he wouldn’t eat very much. Once we were here though he guzzled his bottle right down! Bastien didn’t even scream that much in the car. There were a couple of times, but it wasn’t that bad. We stopped at this car park area with picnic tables (in France) for Adeline and I to switch and to stretch and stuff and Bastien was able to run around. At this point it was colder and windy, so the boys had their jackets on (and Sylvain was also wrapped in his blanket). I chased Bastien around for a while, and he chased me. He has this great screech/laugh going on when he’s really excited. It’s nice when we’re outside and he can be as loud as he wants.

It’s the France/Switzerland border!  Freddie and me parked just               across the border in Switzerland.

As we got closer to Verbier we passed a lot of places on the mountain side that grow grapes for wine. It looks really interesting when an entire hillside is dotted with these orchards (right now it just looks like big sticks in the ground). I tried to get some pictures, but I’m not sure how they turned out. We drove passed a really big lake as well and the sun came out for a bit over it. I got a couple of pictures of that, and one turned out really nice.

These are just some random landscape pictures.

It was raining off and on in Switzerland and I remember thinking ‘wouldn’t it be neat if it was snowing when we got up there?’. Well, it was. Just a little, but as we drove higher we saw a few flakes. The view on the way up of the town at the bottom was magnificent, I don’t think I was able to do it justice. It was getting dark so there were all these lights on and except for the fact that there was no snow down there it sort of looked like a Christmas card. I wasn’t able to use the flash because of the car window, so a bunch of the picture are blurry. Everyone was walking around in their snow suits with skis and bags. It was crazy because it was so foggy and there were so many people walking around, I couldn’t really tell where we were going. I was especially glad then that I wasn’t driving.

This is not our chalet.

The chalet/condo conveniently has a garage so we didn’t even have to put our jackets on to transfer everything from the car to inside. Nice. I went to take a picture of the fireplace when we got inside and wouldn’t you know it, my camera was dead. Convenient timing.

I did take a bunch of pictures today, inside, and on the walk we took down to the town center. We got boots for Bastien, sunglass and a snow suit for Clémence and a winter jacket for Adeline. Keeping up with those two (the children) inside sports stores is quite the job. In the first store they ended up going up all the stairs; I’m pretty sure the top floor was just storage and we weren’t supposed to be up there – there was a rope to block it off, but it was down. I quickly did what I could to make them descend. In the next store they hid under coat racks. At one point Clémence accidentally knocked some snow pants off their hanger and then they were going to other parts of the store where the potential for damage was high, but I managed to get them back to their mothers without incident.

It says ‘Canada Goose™ Arctic Program’ I thought that was neat.

I had on my winter jacket, scarf, and mitts and I was so warm! The sun is so bright today, completely different from yesterday. A perfect day for a walk. Of course being inside the stores didn’t help and on the way back there were no mitts, and my jacket and scarf were open. I wanted to buy a hoodie in the first store (it says Verbier on it), but it was 119 francs (I think…it was up there anyway). I’m not sure I want to spend that much on a hoodie. 1 Euro=1.2 Francs, so either way it was expensive! That was in a sports store so maybe somewhere else it won’t be so bad.

*********A few hours later*********

After lunch Sybille and I put the kids down for their nap. Aurore, Jeff, and Adeline went to a concert. I would have went with them, but their friend only gave them 3 passes. That was totally fine because I knew this post would take a while. By the way; the past couple days Verbier has been host to the Freeride World Tour 2011. This is extreme free-style skiing and snowboarding and this is not the first time the finale has been held here. Something about a 500 foot jagged edged rock drop or something. I might have that wrong. I read it in the pamphlet upstairs, but now I’m not sure! Anyway, yesterday was the last day of competition and there are some evening events going on until Wednesday…movie nights and such. So, I came down to where I’m staying (in the Chalet, Sybille owns 2 apartments – one is being rented out this week – and her brother has one right below hers. I’m staying in her brother’s with Aurore, Jeff, and Maëline) and started on this post. She came down to get me after a bit because all the kids were up and the babies were both crying….very loudly! So, we got them settled down eventually. That was around 2:30 when she called me up; it’s 12:15am Monday now.

After supper we sang through some choral music. Well, they all sang and I listened. I chimed in if I knew it, but they were singing from memory and I didn’t know most of the music! It was really cool, with harmony and everything. I came down here around, hmmmm, 9:30/9:45? I took a bath and it was so nice I stayed in there for a while! Was that too much information? Sorry :P. So now I’m finishing up with this post which is so long it might as well be a short story!!!!

Hope you enjoyed all the pictures! I know some of them are too small and far away to really see, but I hope you like them anyway.

This is the chalet.

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4 Comments

  1. Adeline

     /  March 22, 2011

    SOOOOORRRYYYY
    My mistake. In Strasbourg it’s not the economic capital of europe (and I dont think there existe a financial one). but there is the European parlement, the “conseil européen, the “Cour Européenne des droits de l’homme” and a lot of other European stufs out there.
    A lot of other ones are in Bruxelles. but that’s an other story.

    Reply
  2. vg

     /  March 22, 2011

    OMG Hollly those pics are awsome! the 4th book did come out you can borrow it if you ever get back to Canada lol and FYI she is working on book number 5 so excited! hope your having an awsome time!

    Reply
    • Awesome! I totally thought it was coming out this summer, but you messaged me and said it was already out didn’t you? And I forgot because I forget everything. 😦 Glad you liked the pics!

      Reply

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