During the middle of this year my wife and I along with our youngest daughter went for a 6 week trip through France, Switzerland and Italy – avoiding the worst of a very cold winter here in New Zealand and enjoying one of Europe’s hottest summers in a many decades. I could go on forever about how amazing it was – the food, the scenery, the people… truly a blessed time and a real privilege to enjoy this special trip. The highlights included our stay with dear friends Pieter and Marina with their children Maela and Silouane in Switzerland – in fact they were the reason for making the trip in the first place. Our time with them was truly memorable and their warmth, hospitality and friendship something we will never forget.
Another of the incredible experiences we enjoyed was something of a dream come true for me – two days of following the Tour de France up close in the French Alps. Fantastique! Magnifique! Ever since my teens when I first got involved in competitive cycling, the Tour de France has always been considered the pinnacle of the sport. And, despite years of drug scandals and denials, the mystique about this event is as strong as ever.
I was fortunate enough to have the use of a bike thanks to Pieter’s very kind neighbour in Switzerland which allowed me the freedom to ride some of the route of this year’s tour including the Col de la Croix de Fer and the mythical L’Alpe d’Huez. I had heard stories of these alpine climbs that last for 20 – 30 or more kilometers and to have actually ridden them was something I will never forget. To say nothing of the exhilarating ride down! Below are a couple of images from my time getting amongst it and pretending I was a teenager again.
And now that we have been and know what it’s like… we’ll be back.