Geocaching in France and Switzerland…
We’ve recently returned from a snowboarding trip to Avoriaz where you’ll be pleased to know we got to do a little bit of Geocaching. 😉
Avoriaz is a very pretty resort located on the far Eastern side of France, bordering Switzerland it sits around 1100m above sea level and is the perfect place for learning to ski/board/monoski or whatever the cool kids are doing these days.
For twenty years, between 1973 and 1993, Avoriaz was home to the ‘Festival international du film fantastique d’Avoriaz’ and Steven Spielberg’s debut film ‘Duel’ won first prize there. Those who know me will know I’m really into films and I was quite interested to learn that so I thought I’d share it with you. 🙂
Our rep on the way into resort also explained that Avoriaz is architecturally quite unique. It was designed by Jacques Labro, Jean-Jacques Orzoni and Jean-Marc Roques, and based loosely on styles by Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris; one of the pioneers of modern architecture. The high-rise buildings throughout the resort were built to match in with the mountainous backdrop and are visually quite stunning, or at least I thought so. 🙂
Some interesting trivia but absolutely nothing to do with Geocaching eh?!
So, onto the trip, for our first day on the slopes we opted to take it easy and cruise on some of the local blue runs to get our ski legs back. We had a really great day, the snow was a little icy in places, but overall it was pretty good, which was a bonus.
It hadn’t taken me long to start dropping hints about the Geocaches over the border in Switzerland though and so the next day we looked at route options to get over there. Having the full Portes du Soleil ski pass meant that we weren’t going to get stuck anywhere if we ventured further afield, and so with the decision made we set off early that morning, for Champery in Switzerland, to look for Croix de Culet 1963m.
We’d taken a chairlift to a spot where the Croix (Cross) was just visible on the top of a small peak, but we couldn’t really get to it from that direction so we had to board down to another lift that brought us in closer to the cross. From there we took our boards off and hiked up the small peak to where we thought GZ was. After a fruitless search at the cross it soon became apparent that GZ was actually completely out of reach further down the peak along a snow covered ledge. It was too precarious for the conditions, and with sheer drops on all four sides we weren’t about to put our lives at risk for the sake of a cache. The last person had DNF’d the cache for the same reason and perhaps it just wasn’t really a suitable cache for snowy conditions which was a shame. With the clouds coming in and a fair distance to get back we decided to leave the other Swiss caches for another day and make our way back to base with heavy hearts!
A couple of days and a few wrong turns later we were back in Switzerland to attempt Chapelle de Champoussin which was a damn sight easier to find!
Champoussin is actually a really nice, but very small, place which we definitely recommend checking out if you’re holidaying anywhere around there.
So finding our first Swiss cache was the successful part of the day, the bad part came when I careered into the side of the mountain straight into some hard packed ice spraining my knee and putting me out of action, on the boarding front, for the rest of the holiday. I think we were just about back in France by that point so I guess the term is c’est la vie! To be fair I’m pretty used to something happening to me when I’m snowboarding, I’ve cracked my ribs, permanently damaged my neck and shoulder, landed in a scorpion and messed up my lower back and now I can add a sprained knee to the collection. I think I might have to lay off the boarding for a while or at least get some more lessons before I attempt anymore!
For the rest of the holiday MrBizkitz checked out a few of the other caches for me whilst I stayed in, with some pommes rissolées on my knee and, intermittently, BBC1 to keep me company. He was a little unlucky not to find any more though, but the holiday wasn’t over and there was still time for some potential airport caching…
As is the case with travelling by air there is always a lot of time to kill at the airport but, Geocaching has thankfully replaced that boredom, or at least it did for us at Geneva.
With a two hour wait before our boarding call we snuck out from the crowded airport and within minutes our first cache was in hand, Parking 51. With my recently acquired barrage of spare time back in the apartment I’d already read through the previous finders’ comments which made it a quick find at GZ.
Then we had a slightly trickier find with Tintin en Suisse 1 – Aéroport de Genève, a nicely hidden cache located pretty much right outside the terminal building, not something, I imagine, that would happen in the UK!
For our last cache of the holiday we made our way across the road to FOOTBRIDGE which was a TravelBug (TB) hotel. It proved to be quite elusive for a while as there were a lot of misleading cachers trails but eventually I spotted something which looked a little out of place and hey presto we had the cache.
We’d picked up a TB a while back and it was just the right size for the cache container so we took a picture of it, left it inside, and headed back to the airport with only twenty minutes left to kill. By the time I’d used the free internet to log the caches it was time to board the plane which nicely concluded our holiday.
I think the strangest part of the trip was the fact that we were holidaying in France but we didn’t find any French caches, but as we’ve already got that ticked off on the map it didn’t matter too much! Our main plan had been to find one in Switzerland so I’m glad that we succeeded in our mission because it’s nice to have a new souvenir to add to our collection!
Happy caching! 🙂