We finally landed in the Alps. Well... not quite. The 7-hour transatlantic flight brought us into Lyon, the nearest French city with an international airport. We now had to pick up a car and drive 255 kilometers to our chalet in the mountains.
About 200 kilometers out of the city, the smooth and speedy highway ended as we hit the mountains. The drive so far took us through a valley, countryside and small villages along the way, surrounded on both sides by forests and mountains. Snowy peaks were visible in the distance. Before the heavy clouds and rain rolled in that is. Eventually, it came time to leave the valley and start climbing up into the mountains. As we got to the base, the highway turned into a narrow and steep winding road. We had to slow way down from our cruising speed of well above 100 km/h; the turns were frequent and sharp with a cliff just to our right, often without a barrier.
The rain turned into snow as we climbed above 800 meters altitude; our chalet was sitting at about 1,850 m. The snow was pouring; falling heavy and fast.
The winter tires on our SUV only brought us so far up... I took this photo as we pulled over to put chains on our front wheels to keep traction on the steep and icy slope.
We were driving through what we knew had to be incredible high mountain scenery but all that was visible at the time was this. Rock and snow to the left, silhouettes of trees and avalanche warning signs appearing every so often. And to the right - the edge of the road and a cliff dropping down into thick fog...