White mountain

DSC00771We recently journeyed to a sleepy little ski town known to few outside of France.  While this time of year often leaves us desperately searching for warmth on a tropical island, instead we decided to embrace winter and all it has to offer.

A bus (following a 3.5 hour train ride) was our only option.  It is in lieu of the former train line that carried people to the little mountain towns.  It is a harrowing hour and 45 minute ride that steadily climbs up cliff sides and winds around mountain passes.  As you drive higher and higher, the snow gradually piles up while the temperature reader on the bus marquee gradually counts down from 6 degrees celsius.  When you finally reach the summit, you are met with sweeping views of this volcanic region which includes craters and rocky crags.  By the time we pulled into the town, the bus said it was one degree celsius outside and it was bright and sunny.

Despite the beauty with which we were surrounded, we worried we had a made a mistake.  We didn’t really understand what was going on in this town and we went into three or four restaurants only to be turned away for some unknown reason.  Not, “would you like to wait for a table?” but instead, “No we’re full.”  But everything (or nothing) happens for a reason and we ended up at a charming little pizzeria where we were seated next to the only other English speaking couple in town.  “How did you know about this place?!” asked a cool, ski-bum-esque couple from Nottingham.  When we explained we were only here because Andrew is playing at the Jazz Festival, they seemed a bit relieved.  They went on to explain that they have come  to this area for the past three years because it is cheap and largely unknown.  “The first time we came here, I saw a guy skiing down the mountain in all denim with a cigarette in his ear.” Yes, typical France.

We basically went cross country skiing, hiking, and walking to three beautiful waterfalls, all pictured in the following photos.  The blistering cold, the shimmery frost, and the sometimes powdery snow left us worshipping the White Witch.  Bring on the Winter!