Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Road to Barcelona: London - Fontainebleau - Geneva

After weeks, months, if not years of talking about it, Djanira and I are finally moving to Barcelona! We have trusty old Pleb (the VW Passat) back to ferry us there, so we thought instead of driving there direct, we'd take our time and wander down leisurely.

First stop was Fontainebleau to do some bouldering, a familiar place as we've been there several times in the past. The difference this time was that we decided to stay in a different campsite; usually we stay in La Musadiere near Milly la Foret, but we'd heard that a different site may be nicer, so we'd thought we'd check it out. The new place is called Camping Les Pres, and it's to the south of the forest. Our official verdict is that the advantages of being able to have an open fire do not outweigh the disadvantage of location - it's an extra 20 mins drive to most of the bouldering, and we do really like Milly la Foret. Also, in this day and age there's no excuse for having sqaut toilets - yuck!

Anyway, we spent a couple of very pleasant days milling around the forest. My climbing highlight was a return to Franchard Isatis and the famous problem Le Statique, which I had battled with greatly three years ago (and failed), but this time ticked on my second try. Chuffed. Unfortunately I had no such luck with another classic problem, this time at 91.1, called Le Flipper. Hopefully I'll do it next time.

We left Font and drove down to the old Volcanoes near Clermont Ferrand, with the intention of climbing the Dent du Rancune (google it, it's quite impressive) but we left the area after only one night. The fine weather finally broke and the towns up there are a dive, they remind me a bit of Matlock Bath, all geared up for tacky summer tourists. Not recommended.

So we bailed after a wet night and drove East to Geneva, where we are staying with some of Djanira's Brazilian family who emigrated here many years ago. We had a roof over our head and comfy bed for the first night in a while, and have just eaten a huge raclet, yum! Our current plans are to stay one more night here and then head for the Med. The weather is closing in for prolonged rain in mainland France so there's no point staying inland. Maybe we'll take the Mont Blanc tunnel through Italy, hit the Med, then drive along the coast to Barca. We'll see. Hasta luego!

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