The first thing we noticed as we arrived back in Europe was how clean everything was…no rubbish to be seen anywhere and even though we arrived back on the French Riviera during the busy summer period we found it very quiet and peaceful. The relief of not hearing any honking of horns was wonderful.
As we had been traveling around we had plenty of time to reflect on our lives and where we were living and we had both noticed that we enjoyed our times in and around the mountains very much. Whether it was hiking in the warmer months or snowboarding in the colder ones. We also had very much enjoyed the changing of the seasons and had begun to think about making a move to be able to enjoy all of these aspects. We also felt it was going to be very difficult to stop experiencing new things and so with all this is kind we had identified an area near Lyon, France called Aix Les Bains which we felt might, on paper, tick a few boxes.
We spent a couple of weeks exploring the area and both soon fell in love with the place and while the idea of moving to a foreign country was occasionally an incredibly scary idea the thought of not ever giving it a go might create a feeling of regret in the future. It was certainly easy to accept the idea when eating all the fantastic food, hiking in the breathtaking scenery, soaking up the culture or realizing how close we would be to so many exciting and different countries.
So it’s off to French lessons for us.
In amongst all the baguettes, cheese and wine we also made a trip to Belfast to catch up with Gavin and Ben, two of my flat mates from my time at Edinburgh University. It was a fair few years since we had all seen each other and was an absolutely fantastic long weekend catching back up with the guys and meeting Karen too. Gavin and Karen did a wonderful job of hosting and showed us all the main sights of Belfast and the surrounding areas. While it wasn’t the sort of weather we were used to in the summer months the hikes we enjoyed in the bracing wind and the drizzle helped us recover from the Guinness drinking the nights before.
The main reason we were back in Europe was for my sister Kelly’s wedding and what an event it was. It was fantastic to catch up with my family and then meet Ben’s family too. We had various meals and parties every night from the Wednesday to the Sunday and it was an absolutely fabulous occasion. A lot of organisation must have gone into to such a huge event but I think everyone had a great time and I think they will have some excellent memories. T
Lyon, with not one but two rivers flowing through it. Such a beautiful city and we had a great week walking around discovering new areas.
Buying all the fresh produce from a market was a great experience and there were so many markets dotted around the city too!
Me enjoying a plat du jour at one of the many restaurants lining the streets.
A view of Aix Les Bains and The Lac du Bourget just a stunningly beautiful area.
The view back across the lake from the other side towards the Alps.
We enjoyed some fantastic walks in the mountains around the area.
Chambery town centre…a typical street.
A return to Alpe d’Huez was very exciting for both of us and the resort still looks as wonderful as it always did.
Beautiful wildflowers and butterflies accompanied us on our walks around th mountains.
The scenery here is just breathtaking.
A catch up with the crew from Edinburgh Uni days in Belfast! The weather was apparently typical for a Belfast summer…changeable!
Unique sights up at the Giant’s Causeway just north of Belfast.
The view from the top of one of our hikes was spectacular.
A typical summers day in Northern Ireland, yes we did dip our feet in the water, yes it was cold!