Monday, 29 December 2008


Yesterday morning at 7.00 we were in the Alps, looking up at the clear sky as the sun slowly came up, trying desperately to de-ice the inside of the car windows and pack our things.

The mountain air is challenging. It bites into your lungs, sears your skin, turns your hair and nails dry and brittle but if you can survive it you feel the benefits to your system over time, so despite the fact that I have ached, fallen over, bruised myself and generally felt exhausted I feel calmer, less stressed and now, after a week, much fitter. Interestingly my normal joint pains have almost disappeared.

We drove down the mountain in the dawn and by 11.30 we were passed Dijon and heading up towards Calais and England. We got back to London at 9.30 pm UK time and I felt a strange sense of unreality. How could we be in the Alps in the morning and then back in the city a few hours later? I felt quite unsettled! I have had this experience before when travelling and was telling a colleague who said it is when your spiritual self and your physical self have not quite caught up with each other.

Meanwhile, our physical selves were subjected to a dreadful lunch in a French motorway service station. As we were not in a hurry we decided to join the French in their exodus off the motorway in search of lunch. If I was ever under the illusion that the French were fussy about food and that all French food was better than English food it was well and truly put to rest yesterday. The queues were long, the food cold and oily and I ended up taking it back. The second attempt was not much better! We vowed never to do this again no matter how hungry we were!

To replenish our spiritual selves on the journey Ian tried to find an open D.I.Y. shop. However, as it was a Sunday they were all closed, so we stopped off in Reims and visited the Cathedral!


Simon said...

I've come to the conclusion that French fast food is as bad as English fast food. But café food is generally much better than English pub food. I think the reason is that the French seem invariably to start from fresh ingredients, whereas most pub food starts from a packet which is then microwaved . . . . .

When travelling, I think the best indicator of good food is a car park full of large lorries! :-)

Lovely's Blot said...

Yes, I don't think we did ourselves any favours in our choice of stopping place! I think on the whole I agree, however worringly our campsite man from the summer used to run a restaurant and said that he got most of the food frozen and preprepared so I hope this isn't an indication of a changing French cafe culture!