As I mentioned previously, I had a friend over from England for four nights. We met in Peru four years ago and had remained in touch.Steve had even been out to visit me once previously when he was on business in Zurich. Turns out he is still just as much fun as I remember and we had a wonderful time. On top of that, the weather cooperated 100% - though not for the skiers of course, but for we lesser mortals it was just fantastic.
On the morning of 31st we headed out to Lavey-les-Bains which is a hot springs about two hours from here. We took the "scenic route" (although to be honest around here all routes are "scenic", following Lake Geneva on the north side in order to arrive high up above Vevey, Montreux and the Château de Chillon. Again we lucked out as it started out foggy but as we got to the highest point on the motorway the fog started to lift!
|Château de Chillon - image by Incotrade|
After about three hours we headed off back home via Evian, which is on the south side of Lake Geneva. I knew the "Festival des Flottins" was on but didn't really know much about it, although I knew that Steve would like Evian anyway. Well what a lovely surprise "Les Flottins" was! And here, for your greater delight is their story!
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"Listen, listen! And you will hear. And if you want to believe, you will believe! Wherever you are... sprinkle a little pixie dust around you and tune in to the sound of fairy bells!
Every winter, Flottins flock to their village, built entirely from pieces of driftwood washed up by the river. In their bright, cheerful world, these joyful travellers lead a peaceful existence. But one November evening, as Santa Claus set out on a practice flight over Lake Geneva, a squabble between the leading reindeer forced the sleigh into an emergency landing on the water. Panic stations! The inhabitants of the village immediately swam out into the lake to save them and, that very night, they set about building a magnificent cabin from driftwood for their marooned visitors. Since then, Santa Claus pays a visit to his Flottin friends once a year before setting out on his big trip...
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These magical creatures were all over Evian and kids were allowed to climb and play anywhere they wanted.
The whole town was filled with these things and the nearer you got to the casino (which of course was beautifully lit up) the more there were. It was just stunning and I can't even say it was that crowded. After a couple of hours and a few hot drinks in Evian we headed off home to spend New Year's Eve in front of the TV watching comedy shows, eating smoked salmon blinis with a bottle of champagne. As I say, some days are just diamonds!