We have just come back from a very last minute trip out to France to paddle with friends and then off for some sightseeing in Switzerland.
We booked our ferry on Tuesday evening and on Friday afternoon Lou picked me up from work, and in just over an hour we were on the ferry. Our first destination was midway between Lyon and Geneva a small French village called Sault Brenaz, where we spent 4 days kayaking at Isle de la Serre, with friends from Whitewater Action Medway (WAM). Then down to St Pierre du Beouf for another day kayaking at a different location.
After our day at St Pierre de Beouf we headed cross country towards Switzerland, as we drove over the corner of the alps we were treated to a fantastic lightning show, fortunately the rain held off until we had parked up for the night.
The following day we continued our drive visiting and taking in the sights as we drove around the south side of Lake Geneva finally ending in Montreux. we spent a couple of days in the area visiting the sights, taking a tram ride up into the mountains and a boat ride around Lake Geneva.
One of the final things we wanted to do was visit the Maison Cailler chocolate factory in Broc, Gruyère, this comprised of a tour on the history of chocolate and Caller, then you were able to view a production line making chocolates and finally the chance to taste every chocolate they make on site (Lou’s favorite part).
One last thing we managed to squeeze in, was a boat ride along the River Doubs to see the 27 meter high waterfall Saut du Doubs and the fantastic scenery of the Swiss and French borders before setting off on our dive home.
It was Lou’s Birthday on Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast we headed to Brighton for the day. We left the car at the park and ride car park, and jumped on the bus into the town, after a pleasant walk to the seafront and along the pier we had a look around the Brighton sea life center with perfect timing to watch the turtles feeding.
After the sea life center we had fish and chips on the beach followed by a wander around the lanes and market stalls, then we made our way up to the marina then took the Volks electric railway back to the town.
We decide to go to North Wales for Easter week this year with the plan of doing some mountain biking, touristy things and some paddling. With it being an early Easter we took the decision not to spend the whole week in the van and risk not being able to get our kit dry easily so booked a cottage in Ffestiniog to the Saturday then stay in the van over the Easter weekend.
Due to heavy snow forecast in the Midlands we delayed our journey up until the Sunday and I’m really glad we did, as we drove along the A5 between Llangolen and Corwen the snow was up to 3ft deep and the road closed due to fallen trees due to the weight of snow.
We started the week of with some walking and biking at Coed-Y-Brenin.
We did try and ride the Marin Trail at Betws-y-coed but due to the snow this became impossible to ride up the fire trails the higher we got the deeper the snow became even though there was no hint of it in the car park.
Later in the week we visited Llechwedd Slate Caverns at Ffestiniog, these were really cool and I would recommend the deep mine tour to everyone. Just around the corner is Antur Stiniog A dedicated down hill mountain bike centre where you can book an uplift and let gravity take you back down the purpose build tracks.
Finally we headed towards Bala where I paddled on the Tryweryn.