Our Winter Getaway to the Mountains – no skiing included
Our Winter Getaway to the Mountains – no skiing included
How we managed to get our winter getaway to the mountains. I knew from the start, that due to the DCPM in Italy, there was no skiing included in this trip for sure.
As I also knew that the UK was going to become a third country to the EU, I really wanted to go back to Morgex. The EU allows its country-members to travel with no restrictions within the bloc. Thanks to Brexit, now we are out of the bloc, so we have the travel restrictions. The UK is now like the US. US could not go from March onwards into Europe, and they still cannot travel.
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I have been looking at all the rules in the UK, France and Italy. It started getting very technical. This showed that how determined I was. So when we were about to go, France was not asking any Covid test. Italy changed its recommendation to make the test BEFORE arriving into Italy. And this test needed be 48 hours before. That makes things tricky. I’ve found a great company (Randox), that mailed the tests to your home. It is an extra expenditure you are not counting in your normal travel. I’ve thought, as there was not going to be skiing, I used my lift tickets money on that. Also, it was good I’ve bought the tests in advance, as the mail started to be a bit slow before Christmas.
Taking the Covid tests. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
I had my two boys at home as their schools closed with Covid cases, so it was easy to do at midday our tests on the Friday. We then drove to drop the tests to DX. DX is one of the two couriers that work with Randox and allow you to deliver these kind of tests. Not all couriers would deliver them.
The travel out of London. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
We set up the alarm clock at 2.30 AM on the Saturday. It was me the one getting up, preparing the thermos, the sandwiches and our car fridge. This car fridge is the best thing we’ve bought on Amazon for our trip. It saves us from stopping at any shop to eat. Now in the pandemic, we want to travel safe. I also have my TravelJanes for using if needed. But the classic opening of two doors and weeing squatting works fine! Having been born and bred in Argentina, I am used to long trips with no petrol stations on the way. How many times we’ve heard a lorry honking at us, but they cannot see your face!
We went on the M20. The queue of lorries stuck in line was impressive. I’ve felt very bad for them, it seemed it was going to be very slow for them. For us it was fine, we had a delay of one hour, but we’ve stayed in the car. Finally we got across and we’ve started driving off Calais towards the south.
Our pit stop in Chaumont. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
We knew that there was going to be a curfew, so we took Ozzy for a walk down the road from Chaumont to a beautiful field. From there, we went up back into town.
France has its restaurants and bars closed until 20th January, so we arranged food in our room. We had great stakes and frites, with a nice glass of wine for my husband and me.
Then off to sleep, as we were very tired. We’ve heard that London has gone into Tier 4, and even with so many preparations, had we come one day later, we would have been stuck! Still, we could not come later! You could only come into Italy without quarantining if you arrive by 20th December.
I was counting the hours since we’ve made the tests until we’ve get the results. That afternoon I’ve got the negative results of my eldest and my husband, and that night, came the others. We were all clear to get into Italy.
The Second Day on the Road. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
The next day we woke up, pick up the breakfast to have in the room, and we left. We always put fuel in an unattended station getting out of Chaumont, and we do a bit of Route Nationale. It is a nice way to start the day. Then we join, before Langres, the A31 and went on the motorway all the way. Weather was foul, but the roads were empty! We did it in great time to Geneva and then to the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
Finally we made it into Italy. Nobody asked us anything, they even gave us a beanie before crossing the Mont Blanc Tunnel! As soon as we turned left to go through Entrèves into Courmayeur, we’ve heard on the radio that Italy was cancelling flights from the UK! We’ve heard that morning that some countries already banned flights, so it was not surprising. More after Hancock said they had the virus out of control and we had a new Mutant Virus!
So we made it into our home in Morgex, and it took me a while until I could write to the ASL in Aosta. I needed to send them some forms required by them, plus the negative Covid tests.
There was also some information on taking a second Covid test. I have called them many times but my mobile was not working with an 800 number. I’ve thought that at least they have received my forms three times, and they know where we were. We were not going to be meeting anyone, we wanted to play it safe.
Our days in Morgex
It was beautiful as always Morgex. But it was very empty. All shops closed. The bars closed and the Cafe de l’Archet seized trading. So many DCPMs made them not being able to afford it any longer. Which was a pity.
At least the Cafe Artari where I buy most of the food was there. Also La Bonta del Grano, the bakery, and the other little places are still open.
We had a very quiet holiday. Soon we had a routine. Wake up, I was going out to get the bread every morning. We had breakfast, we went out for a walk with the dog. The walks on the side of Morgex are more snowy, as they are on the shady side. The ones on the side of Villair towards La Salle were without snow.
This until it started snowing. The area had lots of snowfall, it looked lovely. I cannot believe that they are having a great snow season, but the resorts cannot open. And now I’ve read that the resorts will not open until the 18th January (if the levels of Covid are down)…. So nobody knows what will happen.
Some days we had some lunch, some days we waited until dinner. We cooked every day, but two, when we’ve bought pizza from La Locanda.
Then we played some board games, did a fire and enjoyed a quiet evening, before going to sleep.
Orange and Red Days. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
There were some days when the region was arancione and some days considered red. The red days you could not get out of your commune, and you need to carry an autocertificazione.
You could only go out for going to buy food, to the doctor or pharmacy or exercise. You can take the dog out. So we did pretty much the same each day. We could have gone to Arpy to do some cross country skiing, but we’ve been very lazy.
We did a good long walk every day, and a shorter one in the afternoon. We went to Tiritel, Chabodey, Ruillard, La Salle and around all the little hamlets outside of Morgex.
Only one day we drove to Courmayeur. It was empty. Around 4 PM shops started opening and then we’ve seen more people starting to get into Via Roma. At that time we left, but at least we had some crepes and ice-cream and managed to buy a throw for my home.
Why did we not stay? Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
We’ve heard while we were there, that schools were not re-opening for now. We could have stayed. And I would have loved so…. But I was the only one that took my computer as I needed to work a bit while away. We did not have my husband, nor my kids computers….. so we needed to come back home.
Our Way Back- out of Italy into France. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
We left on the 2nd from Morgex. This was a Red Day. When we appear in the Mont Blanc Tunnel, the carabinieri looked at us like we were from another planet. Italians were not allowed to travel, but we were allowed to leave. This was the first time the carabinieri stopped us and asked our passports. Welcome to the new normal! Being Argentine, I am very used to showing passports. They were very cordial the same. We left and crossed to the French side. The weather was much worst with a low cloud, and we had snow all the way to Bourg-en-Bresse. But the roads were clean so it was fine. A bit of traffic around the Autoroute Blanche but then it disappeared.
Reims. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
We’ve went to the Holiday Inn in Reims Centre for the night. I was looking forward to have a room dinner from the restaurant, but unfortunately was not open, due to Covid. That day the rules changed in France, and region (Grand Est) was having a curfew at 6 PM. We left with the dog to find some food and it was all pretty empty. Finally we found a fast-food burrito shop, and we’ ve bought some to take to our room. It was nothing great, but it filled our tummies.
In the morning we’ve received a bag with breakfast outside our room door. It was pretty complete with cheese, pastries, orange, fruit salad, orange juice, marmalade, butter, madelaines and cups for coffee or tea.
With that, we went out for a quick walk with the dog. Reims looked so different without people. It was very clean too, so it was a nice
Back in the Eurotunnel. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
Going into the Eurotunnel, we went through the Pet area and all was working as before. Then they had a weird way to go into the terminal and then going in a roundabout. It looked like a queue on Disneyworld! It was a bit slow, as you get more checked in the UK side. I had to show my passenger locator form to the guard. It was good that I’ve saved it on Dropbox so I could find it quickly… if not we would still be there.
Quarantine in the UK. Our Winter Gate-away to the Mountains – no skiing included
Now back in the UK, we have to quarantine for 10 days. The weather is so grim and cold and damp, that I don’t mind. I only feel bad for my dog. At least we have a garden….lots of poo pick ups… even my dog was not feeling to go out today with the weather.
At least we had a great stop and time off before coming back into a lockdown again. And I can dream of the mountains and see back at my pictures and get happy.
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