What a great day! After a steady paced drive down to Heathrow on Thursday evening (was that only last night?!) we arrived at our pre-booked JustPark driveway (a bit like Airbnb but without the room) we then set about trying to work out Uber. Now for all you young bucks out there Uber is almost a way of life. To Mike & I it had only ever been used in the context of something being [uber] cool or [uber] sexy… & even then neither of us have been convinced we’ve been using it properly. But this was a first.
All confident, we had downloaded the app & pre-registered, & sat amazed in my kitchen as we watched little ‘Ubers’ driving nearby, just awaiting our beckoning. So we had left it at that, thinking the next stage – the actual ‘booking of an Uber’ – would be very simple. However, as we stood on this street corner, on the outskirts of Heathrow, huddled round my iPhone, we realised (a) we would probably not be safe for long, & (b) we hadn’t got a scooby do how to progress on to the next stage of the app.
Somehow – & we know not how – we managed to book a Josef with an Audi A4. We watched with delight (little things & all that) as Josef got nearer… then further… then nearer… then further… then nearer! Then he arrived! It was great. He spoke very little English but had a very nice smelling car. I shared with him how excited I was that this was out first Uber, but he just grinned at me. I tried another couple of things before I reverted to the standard lines “have you been busy” & “what time do you finish” (thanks Peter Kay) at which he came alive. So the journey wasn’t complete silence.
After trying to drop us in the middle of an industrial estate, convinced it was the Ibis Heathrow (good old sat nav), we managed to find the actual hotel & disembarked.
A bowl of hearty tomato soup, a pizza & a glass of wine later & we were ready for an early night, ready for the off in the morning.
The journey was pretty straightforward, apart from the fact that I messed up a bit through security. Not being sure of the etiquette I (foolishly) walked through the body scanning thing before being told to… so, eager to please, I then stepped back through it. Which resulted in lots of alarms going off. And me being [virtually] strip searched as punishment. Fortunately no rubber gloves were injured during the episode, so I was dismissed & (shame faced) collected a very patient Mike who had been waiting for me.
Shortly after this an Indian gentleman asked me if I could direct him to India. I tried to help him, but when I looked at his ticket which said ‘Terminal 3’, & we were in Terminal 5, I felt unable to help further. He’s probably still there… somewhere. Sorry. #tomhanks
We boarded, flew, landed, collected bags. Then tried to find the shuttle bus… which we realised we had NO instructions for. Mike went up & down the row of people holding name boards a few times, with me wheeling the trolley behind him, before we realised we weren’t there amongst the names. So we ventured outside to the ‘bus area’… but nobody knew who we were. So I went to the help desk… who were no help at all. I had dropped the trolley off on the way, thinking we probably didn’t need it any longer. So we called the Agent in the UK & she told us to head to the Swiss side of the airport & look for the ‘Mountain Drop’ desk (not the best name they could have thought of I’d say)… so we went & got the trolley again & went in search of the Swiss side of the airport.
We managed to find signs for the French side of the airport & after wandering around aimlessly for a while realised that we were actually already in the Swiss side… & actually were standing right next to the Mountain Drop desk! And sure enough, there we were on the list! Hoorah!
We unloaded the trolley ready, but were then told we had a bit of a walk to the bus, so we loaded the trolley back up again & headed off to the bus. Arriving at the bus we unloaded the trolley again & I bid farewell to it hoping it would be the last time I would ever see it…!
A long bus journey brought us to our hotel for the evening – Les Campanules Chalet Hotel in Les Houches (pronounced lezoochez, obvs, we’re from Lesta). A lovely little hotel on a steep winding road just outside the town.
After dropping out bags in the room we went to reconnoiter the area, ready for ‘the off’ in the morning. We stepped out of the front door of the hotel & the views were just breathtaking! The mountains are HUGE! They have snow on the tops & everything! And the clouds are BELOW the summits! And to think, we’re going up those!
I’ve inserted some pictures below just to show the scale – & just how beautiful they are. I can’t wait.
We traced the route to the ‘start’ ready for the morning & returned to the hotel for dinner.
Rucksacks now sit packed, ready for the off tomorrow. A steady 646m ascent tomorrow, followed by a 633m descent, covering around 16km, we should be done within about 6 hours easily. But the weather is very warm & we’ve yet to see the terrain, so we’re just going to take it steady for the first day.
No internet this evening, so this post will maybe arrive with tomorrow’s. Hopefully tomorrow will hold some amusing tales to share!
Meanwhile, enjoy & allow me to share our view with you…