Monday, 6 October 2008

A weekend Road Trip

The kids with Nanna and Granddad at our first snow stop.

We hired a 9-seater van to take us all comfortably away for the weekend. Roger was the driver, and did a very good job (we got all the bond money back from the hire company!) We set off on Saturday morning, with our picnic packed and some warm clothes because we could see that new snow had fallen on the mountains overnight. We planned our route to take us into Italy via the tunnel under Mont Blanc (at ~4,808 metres the highest peak in Europe) and then to spend Saturday night at Aosta before returning over the Alps the next day.
Nanna was a bit nervous about going through the eleven-kilometre tunnel, but after experiencing the mountain roads on the way back she thought maybe the tunnel was not that bad. That was before she had heard about the 1999 disaster that claimed dozens of lives in an inferno in the tunnel.
Everyone was excited when we saw the first snow. First we saw snow on cars that were coming down the mountain, and it was a challenge to be the first one to see snow right at the edge of the road. But higher up there was snow everywhere.

Nanna and Granddad preparing their picnic.
Note the trendy picnic basket!

We stopped for lunch at an information bay and once again we were reminded of the lack of public toilets in France. (It is not uncommon to see travellers squatting at the side of the road, or for parents to supervise their children doing their business in gardens or car parks.)

Although the snow was quickly melting, children soon got into the spirit of winter and made a little "bonhomme de neige", even pinching one of the carrots and some cucumber from the picnic to decorate it. Nanna thought that it was too cold for her, and Hugh got very wet in the snow.

Odette with the little snowman that the girls made.

Sophie aiming a snowball...

I guess she hit the target!

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