Yesterday was a skiing day at Vallorcine. We went there by train and also came back that way, but the journey back took over an hour longer than timetabled because of problems with signalling. We had three “emergency stops” each followed by a prolonged period of sitting stationary in one of the stations. The conductrice came, now and again, to tell us that there was a problem “with the regulation” and it could be a 2 or a 10 minutes delay or even an hour! I guess, since the railway is single track for most of its length, there has to be a fail-safe system to avoid head-on collisions and in some way this had cut in, or out. The delay agitated many of the travellers. A ski bus follows more or less the same route as the train. Those that could had to decide whether to stay with the train or attempt to catch the ski bus. After much dithering, and getting off the train and then coming back, many chose to wait for the bus, including a trio of Brits sitting near us on the train. They decided, at Argentiere, to go for the bus. Jokingly, I said to them that as soon as they alighted, the train would start again – and it did!
On the way back, we had an excellent view of Le Petit Dru (3733m) less its rock fall of September 2011 which involved 12,000 cubic metres of rock. There are pictures of this fall on website http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=64068. The lighter grey area where the fall occurred is clear on this picture, courtesy of Mrs D.
The skiing was very good, and I had one notable off-piste run down to the Esserts chair lift, just over the Swiss border. There was a breeze blowing some powder snow and, on the steep descent, I was shifting more snow in mini-avalanche style. So the result was like skiing through knee-deep fog in soft snow – magic. The Domaine de Balme ski area was very quiet with just about perfect skiing conditions. Whilst there, I took the opportunity to snap the mountain Le Buet (3096m) centre of picture. This mountain is also known as ‘Ladies Mont Blanc’. The Mont Blanc bit of this name is probably because it has a similar shape to MB from some angles. I am not sure about the origin of the Ladies bit though.
Today was a rest-your-legs day. It was selected because the weather forecast a few days ago was not very good. But the forecast improved as days passed and this morning we were forecast 100% sun, which is what we’ve had. We had shopping and other chores to do and, as a well-deserved treat, we went to the Crescendo restaurant, part of the Carrefour complex in Sallanches. We like the rather chaotic, very French, atmosphere and the prices are very reasonable; our two lunches, me with salmon and a pudding, Mrs D with turkey curry and a salad cost 17 Euros. The vegetables are serve yourself. You can take as much as you like or can balance on your plate.
Some very sad news from the valley over the last few days: a young Russian couple who were holidaying in Servoz, our village, set out to climb Mont Blanc on 30th December without leaving any details of objective, route, timing etc with anyone locally. It was realised they were missing only when her brother failed to find them when he turned up to meet their flight home, at Moscow airport on the 6th January. On the 10th their bodies were found in their tent at Nid d’Aigle (2300m). They died of hypothermia.
Now some more flannel, Mrs D has made some disparaging remarks about this blog and flannel but I am pressing on. My further research on this subject has uncovered some (to me) interesting stuff listed in no particular order
- It is possible to buy an “expanding Darth Vader” flannel/washcloth; I guess to try and encourage boys to wash. It expands when it gets wet!
- In January 2010 the Haiti Appeal involved a “Knit a flannel/washcloth” campaign. Highly laudable, but I think, maybe, after an earthquake, other items might be more useful.
- According to Fodor, an American travel website, most travellers from the USA find a ‘wash cloth their most important item to pack’.
- The website http://www.redtedart.com/2010/08/06/how-to-make-a-cupcake-from-a-flannel-washcloth/ seems to be self-explanatory, although I don’t think the product is meant to be eaten!
- Finally. to return to bizarre products. there is a “boobie” flannel/washcloth on the market; according to one of the adverts, especially for washing your face!!
There are unlikely to be any more flannel/washcloth mentions in future logs.