And we have-us to Switzerland. A temporary bolt to Geneva to catch up with family as we see out January.
We, as we travel through on our journey are leaving more and more of the UK behind- our fresh supplies from our last UK shop have now more or less diminished- bacon, sausages, ham, burgers,(homemade from site in Chichester-very nice), potatoes, butter, oranges so we are now having to shop and buy that foreign muck -mainly in France as way cheaper than Switzerland, so we are having to buy fruit and veg that actually taste and look like what they should, fresh bread daily, saucissons, lovely French cheese etc and all so much cheaper than what we pay in the UK. I expect we’ll survive, other than of course what France and so many future to visit countries don’t do at all well-bacon and we have eaten our last rasher of that this week, but we did savour it!
Along with Brexit on the 31st more importantly was the end of dry January and well done to all those of you fellow abstainers, it was hard but at least it’s done for another year.
Our first major stop as we dragged ourselves out of the champagne region fully loaded was Dijon. I was chased into Dijon by a French juggernaut who at times was so close I thought he was coming in for a cuppa, but I didn’t give in to his bullying tactics as he lost power and distance on hills and through villages. I then did what I thought was an amazing job dicing with the Dijon rush hour traffic and parking up as we then made the 20-25 minute walk into the town centre. As you might imagine there is a lot of tourist tat centred around the magic mustard. After quite a few champagne tastings, a mustard tasting sounded quite extreme, and as a lot of shall we say more mature people or those of our age might remember mustard was often used a threat back in the day to stop nail biting or thumb sucking-both in my case! That said after entering the Maille mustard shop- the temple of mustard as we were told by the enthusiastic store assistant that’s exactly what we did-tasted about 10 different flavoured mustards. As ever, David being more of the shopper than me I had to rein him back in to buying only 2 flavours, given we already have a jar of the said mustard on board already. Still they should see us through this trip and beyond and I can always put a jar in my bag and threaten unsuspecting young children who have their hands in their mouths.
Another thing to remember on being outside champagne area is don’t order a glass of it as in previous regional bars- cost for a small glass in a Dijon city bar €9- ouch should have stuck to my cheap €2 pastis.
Beyond the excitement of visiting new places are the simple pleasures that motorhoming gives to you- no housework for one. Now a quick shake of the rugs and a brush through and you’re done. Another pleasure is doing your washing-just as the wash bag was growing and we were debating whether to drop it all onto cousin Steve in Geneva we found an outside washing utility (quite the thing in Spain and France) by a local Spar, €8 for a fair size load and €4 all our washing was done, dry and back in the wardrobe giving us a real feeling of satisfaction.
As we aim south and for warmer climates to get to Geneva we had to pass over the mountains, which started as a lovely drive and then of course became more windy, steep and as we got to the top of the pass, snowy. Not my favourite thing at all and least of all to drive in. However, on reflection even with the huge drops and twisting roads I think I still prefer this than to my memory of the plane bouncing and shaking as we have arrived on previous visits to Geneva, given my phobia of flying.
What can you say about Switzerland, one of the plus points -the Swiss flag (joke, as on the Tony Blackburn birthday tribute) For us Geneva means family and has every time we have visited. This time is no different as we rode into town to see David’s cousin and his wife. Since we arrived on Thursday we have had nothing but exceptional hospitality, generosity, fun and laughter. Said cousin is the son of David’s Auntie in Spain where we have also spent much time and received the same outstanding care and left with many a doggie bag when we were on our travels in Spain and when we leave Monday it will be no different, with Buster loaded up with goodies to keep us going and remind us of our wonderful weekend.
One of the last treats we tasted on the Sunday whilst fast forwarding the rugby was a very local and tasty cheese dish from Luins called Malakoff stemming from the time of Napoleon, local villagers and Fort Malakoff. At the end of the war Napoleon demanded that his devoted, local troops be fed and his chef took some cheese, bread and deep fried it in lard and thus Malakoffs where born and have been devoured ever since by the Swiss people of this area with many coming out from Geneva to sample the dish. We had three each with a simple green salad and mustard, but you can eat them as and how you want but usually just as a snack or pre-dinner opener. The record in the local Auberge we went to was 18 in one sitting and given the cheese content that’s quite amazing. David wasn’t that hungry by that time in the evening so the record remained safe for now!
The area we are in is also renowned for its local wine and again is really is quite acceptable, fairly light and refreshing. One of the more unusual mixes we had, again completely local was a mix of cider and the local wine grape chasselas. It was slightly fizzy, very light only 7.5 % alcohol and would really be lovely on a hot Swiss summer afternoon in the garden. It was still perfectly acceptable on a very wet winter afternoon as well.
Unlike England, we head back into Europe, making our way through the Mont Blanc tunnel and into Italy- not loved by us on our previous motorhome travels and attempt to get out by ferry on one route or another into Greece and dare we say some sun- all could and will be interesting so stay with us and Buster for another week.
Top Tips of The Week
Make sure you don’t miss the last step in the Geneva Spa swimming pool and fall head under looking very uncool.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water-or rather the china tea mug when trying to discreetly get rid of tea slops.
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