Entries in snow (7)

Wednesday
Mar302011

Postcard from La Clusaz 

Business travel is very often a monotonous tone of mundane drives to airports, queuing at security, waiting in terminals, flying and arriving in a familiar city...  Once you're there, it's a drive to a meeting, often a repeat of tired old words, on to a hotel, dinner (often alone) and another flight the next morning.  I do my share of these one-or-two-day trips to refineries and terminals around the Gulf, but this 'routine' is thankfully broken when I'm in France a few times a year, and a newly-added regular stop in Texas.  My entry today is different!  Our sales meeting earlier this month was held in the French Alps.  My journey there took me to another personal first, Geneva, which I shall cover in a separate post.  It was wonderful to see somewhere new.  It's what 'real' travel is all about!
 
 
 
 
 
I had no idea what to expect.  I did look at images online and read a little about the mountains and the main ski resorts, but with no benchmark I let my mind be free and enjoyed the scenery as I drove from Geneva.  The total journey took just over an hour, most of the second half was climbing the mountains.  The scenes were spectacular, and the colours almost shocking. Maybe because I wasn't expecting any colour, having assumed snow would cover everything.  The snowfall was low which provided a glimpse of what the area would look like in the spring and summer.  Light was fading and I reached when it got dark.  Very dark!
 
 
I made it just in time for our group dinner at a local restaurant.  We walked there and back which distance-wise was nothing but the walk back was uphill! I need to start working out again... The next day was filled with presentations and meetings from first thing in the morning until sundown.  My first real glimpse of La Clusaz was when I woke up in the morning.  I opened my curtains to see the view below.
 
 
Through the day, grey skies gave way to broken cloud and even a shy appearance of the majestic blue.  The view out of our meeting room was distracting and by late afternoon I was starting to plan what to do the next day.  Our program finished at lunchtime on day-two so I had a few hours spare.  The choices were skiing (no way), mountain walk with snowshoes and a tour of the town on a horse-drawn carriage.
 
 
The next day, I rented my snowshoes and was ready for the afternoon.  We were to go up the mountain, through the wooded area and find some fantastic views from up there.  Sounded perfect.  My camera and I were getting warmed up, but it wasn't looking good.  Foggy, rainy and the temerature started to drop.  By the time we were done with work, the walk-guide cancelled.  It's just as well really... I wouldn't have seen anything from up there on a day like this.
 
 
 
Some people still braved the weather and skiied all day.  You've got to admire the determination.  I suppose they're only here for a week maximum - so they should make the most of it. 
 
 
 
I still had a few hours before my taxi to Geneva.  I joined the group going on the town-tour to have a look around.  La Clusaz is tiny with a population of 2,000! This number swells up to 20,000 during the busy season.  The tourists are mostly French but you do get all nationalities.  I very much liked the atmosphere of the place and really enjoyed what little I saw.  I will definately try to come back again with my wife and kids.  
 
 
 
I was surprised at how strong a horse can be.  There were four of us in the carriage, plus our driver, and this beast pulled us uphill effortlessly! Below is one of the stops that this one-horse-power-machine took us to.  It was a local farm where I bought some excellent cheese.  I'll leave that too for another post.
 
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