Passing over the Petit st. Bernard and having Les Arcs, Mont Bellecote, and Bourg st. Maurice come into view brought on the feelings of nostalgia. Having spent a winter working in this region of France and also having a couple opportunities to come visit since has made this place feel like a home away from home. This was my first chance to visit over the summer and I couldn't have been happier with our time spent with good friends. I was looking forward to having a relaxing place to stay for a couple of days and give the body some time off of biking. A couple days turned into 24 hours. Oh well.
We met up with Ben and Nelly that afternoon at the local bar for a beer and some catching up. In our conversations we learned that they had made an offer on a new house in a village just above town named Vulmix. They had an appointment to meet another patroller later that evening to check out the foundation before they signed any paper work sealing the deal. We joined them and were instantly jealous in seeing what they had to make their own. The house was basically four walls and a roof but was located in a beautiful part of the valley with views for miles. It'll be exciting to see how they us their own creativity to maximize the house's awesome potential. Good Luck you two!
Back in town we cheered on riders taking part in a sort of "fun ride" through the city streets. The 1km route was set up with obstacles of all sorts, climbing, running, even some urban downhill. The goal was to complete as many laps as possible in one hour with your partner. It looked like a great time but also a bought with the pain cage. Heidi and I almost signed up, I'm glad we didn't. We had our own pain cage coming the next day.
Ben offered to take us on a tour on Saturday and a tour it was. We climbed, hiked, traversed, and pushed our bikes for a couple of hours until we reached the high point of the ride. Photo above. At the top I think Heidi and I decided that this was going to officially be our last ride of the trip. From there we had some sweet freeriding (no trails, just grass and rock) down to a single track that ran trough the forest with some areas that even felt like we were in a rainforest.
That evening we had been invited by Nelly to come up to Montfort and enjoy the evening with her family. We don't say no to these opportunities. Montfort is small village about 40 minutes from Bourg st. Maurice that consists of only a few family houses and couple small farms. We had even eaten some cheese from one of the farms that afternoon on our ride. Nelly is a wonderful person and we knew that meeting her family was going to be a pleasure.
After meeting the entire family and each side doing their best to speak both french and english the food and vine hit the table. Everything was either from a local source within the valley or within the region of Savoie. The bread was baked right here at Uncles Jackie's house or in the community oven at the center of town. Who has a community oven to keep it's people fed? It was amazing. We ate meats, cheeses, fruit, crepes, blood sausage, pork, potatoes, squash and drank an endless glass of wine. Uncle Jackie made sure we had a true taste of the local wines. Jackie also has bees to provide honey for the family. He gave us a quick look at the process and even secretly gave us a jar to have.
Heidi and I were blown away. Nelly's family were so kind and sharing with us. We laughed at each other, had meaningful conversations, and learned a lot about one another. Nelly said multiple time how her family loves meeting new people and showing them this tiny slice of heaven in the French Alps. Her statement proved true throughout the night. Being in a foreign country surrounded by such a kind, caring family never felt so warm as this night did. Nelly's family truly made us feel welcome and like we were part of the family. Thank you!