2019 Day 35 – Parc National des Ecrins

Oh thank goodness, we’re finally back on road – the heat has broken. It’s still in the early thirties, but that’s much better than it’s been. And besides, we have a secret weapon… mountains! Always good for knocking off several degrees from temperatures on the plains.

We bid adieu to our riverside spot and our froggy friends: it’s been lovely, but it’s time to go.

We’re heading northeast, still in France, towards Italy and Switzerland. Having traveled so far south, our path is a little fluid from here. The only thing that’s firm is that we can’t encroach on Germany – our 90 days EU stay can be extended in both Germany and the Netherlands, so they need to be saved until the end of our journey. If we enter within the 90 EU days we’ll stay, it voids the additional 90 days (each) we can access. Himself has researched this extensively, writing to various embassies for confirmation. If exits and entries are planned carefully, we can take advantage of the additional, individually negotiated visa agreements Australia has internationally. One can clock up a surprising amount of time in the UK, EU, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe – well in excess of the usual 90 EU days. With good timing, you could country hop, easily, for well over a year and not breach any rules. He is incredibly useful sometimes… Now just to convince him to buy a chateau! That one below, atop the village would do nicely…thanks šŸ˜‰

Our route takes us up the mountains, through the Parc National des Ecrins, across the Dauphine Alps.

It’s breathtaking scenery: turquoise waters, snow capped mountains, ski chalets old and new and endless forests.

My two favourite landscapes are mountains and water – where these coincide is where I’m at my happiest. Needless to say, I spend much of the day hanging out of the window, trying to take it all in. No matter how many times we explore France, she always has something new to show us.

We end the day in the ski fields at an altitude of 1655 metres. Snow capped mountains sparkle in the distance – it’s an utterly glorious spot with views that take our breath away.

Above us is a ski village mixing old (wooden chalets) and new (rows of apartments).

In winter, this would be a wonderland. It’s well equipped too, with restaurants, a boulangerie, a cinema and two supermarkets.

In summer, it’s blanketed with wildflowers, plump bumbles buzzing along and the trill of bird song.

Best of all, being so high up, we have all of the sunshine and little of the heat. I’m calling that a win.