A wonderful trip - not a holiday!
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
When the rain came, the storm rolled in and the group pulled together - friendships were built, hot chocolate and cakes consumed in large quantities, and ultimately we were rewarded with wonderful views and a great sense of achievement coming to the final miles of the trip. All worth the mud and endless wardrobe changes at the top of the cols...
What did you think of your group leader?
Our leader was measured and thoughtful - he adapted our route to keep us safe in all weathers, and respected the fact that a lot of us were pretty fit and liked to stretch out a bit. One of our group had to drop out due to injury on the first rest day - he did his best to make sure her needs were taken care of, but mindful that he had a job to do keeping the rest of the group on track for the tour, and safe in the mountains.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If you are not fit enough, are a smoker, do not do the complete tour. It’s just that simple. Check the average age group on the trip you are thinking of and consider if that’s the right group for your own fitness level. Some 60 plus year olds are fitter than a lot of 30 year olds, evident on the tour as we went around. Some aren’t, as was the case on our trip. Be honest with yourself and you will enjoy your holiday a lot more. There are shorter versions where highlights can be enjoyed, hotels and chalet options may suit those less disposed to sleeping under canvas for two weeks. Communal bathroom facilities are not to my taste, but that’s European camping and there are ways to cope - like getting up earlier to avoid the masses. The spa at Pre St Didier is fabulous for a lovely chance to get really clean! Boots, not shoes. Trekking poles are great for down hills, even just one for a bit of support. Good waterproofs and a set of thermals for cold nights. A decent sleeping bag and thermarest. Antiseptic wipes and alcohol gel an absolute must. Flip flops for showers. A change of shoes for evenings in camp.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
One review of this trip is scathing, but an account of one individual's experience. The walking was fantastic, the food at camp was incredible (we were so very lucky to have a top chef caring for us) but you are expected to muck in with supported camping, and yes, you can have a hot drink when you get up before your tent is down, and yes, you are expected to be an adult and help de-camp, and take care of yourself on your free days. Leaders need time off too as they work incredibly hard week on week.