Day four in Morzine and it looked like being a perfect day for a trip to a beautiful lake and a couple of spectacular waterfalls.
Not that the day started particularly well. I woke up several times in the early hours listening to the rain falling and with a crashing headache thanks to mixing vodka, wine, beer and a strange liquor the restaurant staff insisted we try.
Courtesy of the blessed people at Nurofen, that headache soon passed. And the rain did too. So we jumped in the car and drove to Montriond, a village just outside Morzine, and more specifically the lake that bears its name.
The clouds still lurked around the mountain tops but the sun was breaking through as we parked the Ford.
The lake is a spectacular sight, bordered by mountains, steep cliffs and forests of pine.
The reflections were irresistible, a wet dream for photographers, and the water was a deep, still green. There were plenty of people out enjoying the day after yesterday’s awful weather, plus a few anglers and kayakers. It was chilly but bearable.
At the far end of the lake we broke away into the woods to the hamlet of Les Albertans – a tiny collection of old and new properties situated by the river that feeds the lake. Some of the buildings are coated with bright yellow lichen, testament to the dampness of the air in this marshy place.
I wondered why anyone would want to live there, not just because of the boggy landscape but also because of the threat of giant boulders tumbling from the monumental cliffs that dominate the valley. They’re scattered about the valley floor, some as big as small houses.
We climbed up through the trees, dripping with the recent rain, the sound of the river always with us even if we couldn’t see it. And we eventually arrived at the Ardent waterfall, thundering and majestic, boosted by all the recent downpours. We wondered what it must be like in the spring, fed by the snow melt.
Hot and bothered by the climb, it came as a relief to walk back down to the lake. We grabbed a reviving coffee and then dined on trout in the open air at one of the lake-side restaurants. Children played at the water’s edge in the sunshine.
After lunch we jumped in the car and drove to the outskirts of Morzine, and the Telepherique de Nyon. It’s closed in summer but we were there to visit another waterfall, the Cascade de Nyon. A climb up the hill, it delivered just as much as the Ardent and is popular with canyoners.
In the trees around us, a Go Ape-type canopy adventure was underway but we resisted the temptation.
Instead we walked on into the woods and meadows, on narrow and slippery paths that were sometimes treacherous and difficult to negotiate. One slip and we’d have been tumbling down the hills with several broken bones to our name.
Ultimately we came back down to the valley and joined the gentler Chemin de Reynard path, having survived the assault course, and then hurried back to the hotel for a two-beer reward. Nice…
In the evening we ate at Le Grillon, after traipsing round looking for a recommended restaurant and not finding it. We had a meaty kebab thing and then walked to our usual bar for drinks, Le Coup de Coeur.
It was Sunday night and quiet…