Day 1 Departure and Travel Having spent the best part of that Friday driving to and from the Midlands collecting the remnants of my daughter’s stuff from Uni, J and I departed at just before 5pm and headed to Dover for our ferry crossing. In total there were nine of us going five of whom were from the same area. In addition, there were two from Cambridge one from South Wales and one from Surrey. Travel arrangements were disparate. Two went the day before and overnighted in Bourg en Bresse. Three were in one car which had come up from Wales via the Thames Valley sharing driving duties and a further two were flying to Lyon on the Saturday morning and picking up a hire car there for the last part of the journey to Bourg d’Oisans. I was in my neighbour’s car pretty much in convoy with the other car leaving from the Thames Valley. We’d not really discussed driving arrangements at any length and it quickly transpired that I was probably a better passenger and that J preferred to drive all the way. A slightly delayed ferry and it was gone midnight by the time we hit French soil. Five hours, a few ‘Aire’ stops later, plenty of Coke Zero’s and sarnies and Saturday had dawned. We were well into Beaujolais territory. I’d been awake for the duration and by the time we stopped in an anonymous service station on the A46 around Lyon and necked a couple of coffees the excitement of being that close to the Alps kept us going. An hour or so later the motorway driving was over and after a brief stretch along the N85, Route Napoleon we were turning on to the D1091 and the midst of the biggest mountains I think I’ve seen. As we clocked up 900km on French soil we turned onto the road to Bourg d’Oisans. Instead of heading straight into town we turned off up Alpe d’Huez and went as far as La Garde before turning off along the balcony road. Now I have no real head for heights and I’d often wondered if I would hold my nerve along such a road. In truth it wasn’t as bad as I feared, but regrettably the road was closed for the duration of our time there. A few minutes later and we were parked up in the centre of Bourg d’Oisans with coffee and paninis in the Café de 2 Mondes with the Lions doing their best to contrive turnovers at almost every contact with an All Black.