Day 25 (the end) | San Remo – Port – Grimaud (104 miles)

 We set off on what was meant to be our second to last day. San Remo to Cannes. We had a delicious pain au chocolate in the main square and set off heading to France.    The coastal road was very beautiful and we made good progress despite the heat which we have now become mildly accustomed to.    We arrived in Cannes at 16:00 after slowly making our way through Monaco as we gazed in awe at the preponderance of supercars. Over a chocolate milkshake, Sasha and I decided that we wanted to push on to France and arrive a day early to surprise Thomas for his 18th birthday.    We rode as fast as we could for the next 25 miles since we had to arrive in port Grimaud by 20:30 before the boat left to La Moute ( where Thomas was). It was our last day and we were extremely tired after a few tough hilly days. A 100 mile day was not our original plan but knowing it would make Thomas extremely happy was the perfect motivation.    After 104 miles, we eventually arrived, just in time for the boat after having to stop for a sandwich and sweets to boost our depleted energy levels which dropped to zero. The last push was very difficult but we did it, and as we rode into port Grimaud we were overcome with joy and pride after a very long and tough trip. I couldn’t believe we had in fact done it, however, there was no time for reminiscing as we jumped in the shower and on the boat to surprise Thomas.    We hid in the back of the boat and as we approached the beach he still had no idea. We jumped off the boat and his happiness had made the day totally worth it. He had tears in his eyes and it was the best end to the best trip.   Cycling is a truly special way to travel and in 25 days we managed to cross 6 countries. Being on the bike all day and witnessing the countryside, people and language change in an instant is quite amazing and there is a part of me that wants to carry on cycling and exploring new landscapes, people and languages.    We have been cycling over the course of the four weeks sponsoring an incredible organisation: Uthando. We are so so thankful to everyone who has donated to our just giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/toby-fox2 and it is immensely appreciated by Sahsa and I but also by James and Xolani in South Africa.We cannot thank you all enough!

From Snow to Rain – England bound

Heading home

In less than two weeks I will be back in England. 3 months in the mountains have passed a lot quicker than I thought they would even in a job where time stands still. Unfortunately the snow this season arrived far later than usual and I also haven’t skied nearly as much as I would have liked to. But, when I have skied it has been great. I have also met some cool people in Chamonix and met my fair share of French xenophobes who resent foreigners trespassing on their mountains. But all in all the people that come here (especially the seasonaires) just want to have a good time and enjoy what snow there is.
I do look forward to coming home however. To having a bedroom facing a field rather than a nightclub, to having a bed not in the kitchen, to having more than one pot for cooking etc. Anyway I am looking forward to being back home, even if it is sodden.
I have learnt a couple of things since being here. Not things about myself (too cliche) but of the french way of life.
1. French politics is currently backwards and the French love to over complicate things. For example, In Chamonix, a town of 10 000 people, almost 500 work in the town hall. 1/20th of the population! Surely in a place where you can practically see the start and end of the town there is no need for so many people.

2. I learnt very quickly that if you want to earn a living, do so where there are no surrounding mountains. The wages are low and the cost of living extortionate. But, at the end of the day there are mountains. And as stupid as it sounds you can’t ski where there aren’t mountains.

I still want to relive the alpine life and will definitely return to do another ski season in the future. But, when I do, I will go to a place free from overflowing buses and 10 euro drinks and to a resort with more than three rusty chairlifts that remain open even if the employees ┬ádon’t feel like working.
I rant about the French people’s incessant complaining, lack of work and the limited skiing available however Chamonix is a great town and it’s not everywhere in the world you can ski on glaciers and climb the Mont Blanc.

Goodbye snow, hello rain.