Our holiday was almost a non-starter due to all the flight cancellations. We met up with some of the group, obvious by the Rambler labels on their suitcases, as we stood in a queue for over 4 1/2 hours to rebook our flights. Debbie, our leader, was able to get us out the next day by suggesting different airports, otherwise it was to be 2 days later, in which case many would have given up and gone home.
There had been a new snowfall, so the next day when we set out for our first snowshoeing walk it was like a magical winter wonderland, with tree branches bowing under the weight of their heavy white duvets, causing us to dip and bend as we followed our guide Jean Louis in the virgin deep snow through the forest and slowly up the mountain. I learned, not soon enough, that it is easier to be at the rear of the ‘conga line’ where the snow has been trampled by several ahead than to be near the front. We all found it quite exhausting, with snow-topped layers over and under our feet that first day. I enjoyed the snowshoeing very much but found I couldn’t do it every day; the rhythm is different from walking and I found my feet slipping in the boots that had covered at least 150 miles.
Our guide, Jean Louis, took much pride informing us of the historical background, the customs and festivities, the local flora and fauna of his home area; treating us to his special herbal tea one day and a herbal liqueur another; taking us to visit the church with the Black Madonna in Odeillo – above and beyond guiding!! And mind you, I missed some days!!
With superb blue skies, war