July 17-29, 2021
Basel – Geneva – Saint-Ferréol
With Covid still lurking in the shadows – and sometimes not even lurking – the thought of traveling for a holiday had been pretty far from my mind. I should rephrase that: traveling was very much in the forefront of my mind, but tempered with the thought that it wouldn’t happen any time soon. Plus, Dan’s work is busy and he cautioned me that the next likely time off wouldn’t be until September. So when he came home on Monday and said “If you want to take a holiday before September, it should be next week” I was excited; last-minute holiday planning is my favorite! I immediately made arrangements with work and for cat care and smiled at the thought of hitting the road.
Dan mentioned that he’d like to go to Provence. This is never a problem when he proposes a destination because I want to go everywhere. Provence had actually been on My List for a few years, but the lavender fields I wanted to see were always in the middle of summer and we usually travel in the shoulder seasons. And now I recall why: it was hot. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s get back to planning!
Our cat sitters had taken an overnight bus from their home in Belgium and arrived extremely early on Saturday. This meant a relaxing morning of introductions and instructions. Once that had been taken care of, we could leave anytime after that. We had already packed up our bags and just had to throw a couple of things in before we left the apartment (and the kitties!) in the very capable hands of the sitters.
I would like to take this opportunity for a little promotion of Trusted House Sitters. I’ve used this site for years now and am very happy with how the service works. I’ve had some tremendous sitters, met some amazing people, and the cats are super spoiled with having their own personal live-in caretakers. And full disclosure: if anyone joins via the link provided here, I get a free month and you get 25% off. Ok, back to the story…
Our motorcycles were ready for the trip and we were on the road by 9 am. As usual, we hit the motorway to get out of town as quickly as possible. We zipped down to Geneva and then crossed into France and immediately took the side roads. No French toll roads would be taken on this trip!
We stopped at a grocery store and did our usual lunch provisioning: ham, cheese and a baguette. And a chocolate bar and cherries, just for fun. After eating we continued our way south, skirting north of Annecy and its busy city streets. It is a beautiful place, but this was not the trip to re-visit places we’ve already been.
Pont de la Caille (1839)
The town of Thônes was a pleasant surprise. Before seeing it for myself, I had no idea how beautiful it was. So beautiful, in fact, that I’d say that it deserves a visit on a return ride through this area. And if I had known during the planning stage, I would have arranged our first night’s stop to be in this historic place. Instead, we wove our way through some delightful curvy roads to the town of Saint-Ferréol, just a quick 20 minutes further on. We knew so little of the area that we had reserved something online based only on map locations and “nice photos on the internet”.
Our hotel, the Hotel Florimont, was in the middle of nowhere. Really. Since it was still rather early in the day, we walked around the “neighborhood” and there were some houses and a couple of small businesses, but nothing that anyone visiting the region would be interested in. The restaurant on the premises was closed that evening and the nearest was just a five minute drive away. But at this point we didn’t want to drive anywhere. So we relaxed in our room, read our books and ate what was left over from our lunch stop.
A farmer was cutting hay in a field nearby which smelled wonderful and perfumed the air in our room all night.
The room was small but comfortable and it was a quiet evening.