Thursday, July 31, 2008


We went on our annual village rando last weekend - a hike from the village up through the forest to the top of the col (1188 m) - which is normally followed by lunch at the mountain chalet of one of the villagers.

The hike was due to start at 08.00 from the salle des fêtes but when I went two years ago there was a lot of faffing around before we set off so we decided to get there for 08.30 - by which time everyone had already left.

Nainbo appeared at his gate opposite with Mini-B's uncle Rouquin, and beckoned us in for a coup de blanc, after which BB and I set off with Rouquin to try and catch up with the others. Rouquin is 65 and knows the mountains round here like the back of his hand because he's spent his whole life working and hunting in them. He pointed out the ruined chalet where his mother brought him and his sisters to hide in 1944 when the Germans arrived in the village and burned down many of the houses. Before the forest was planted it was just meadows where Rouquin would spend summers cutting hay (and carrying it on his back down to the village) and looking after the goats and cows. Along the way we gathered wild chanterelle mushrooms and fraises des bois (tiny wild strawberries).

Due to the forecast of rain, it was decided that the lunch would be back in the village in the salle des fêtes - which meant that when we reached the col we had to walk straight back down again. Two years ago we all sat outside at tressle tables covered with white tablecloths with stunning views of Mont Blanc in the distance - so it wasn't quite the same.

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