Wengen was very hard to leave. I really felt we had peaked. That there could be no better place on earth. That we should be staying, setting up shop and putting the kids into a local school!
Thankfully Morzine delivered in spades. In fact, in Archie’s words, “we should live here and go on holidays in Wengen”. He also said, reading over my shoulder, that he “didn’t see any spades in Morzine” 😉
Morzine is an amazing summer family holiday. It is one enormous playground. We could have spent weeks here. We swam in pools, we swam in lakes and slid down slides, we biked down rivers and biked down mountains, we climbed on rope courses, zoomed down zip wires, we hiked across and down ski fields, we picnicked in ‘sound of music’ territory, we explored mountain restaurants, we camped – all six of us in one tent – for two nights, we rode in a french ambulance and had x-rays in medical centres, raced down summer luges… breathe…
And, we saw the Tour de France fly by. In fact, we had planned this whole trip around being in Morzine for the Tour. And it didn’t disappoint. Despite the fact that the heavens opened for two days, and we got completely soaked, it was a great experience and quite a spectacle. Morzine itself has a wonderful atmosphere. It is big enough to have a little buzz about it – indeed the whole town turned out in red polka dots weeks before the tour arrived in preparation for the riders. But it is small enough to feel like a cosy little mountain ski town. I started coming here 35 years ago, when it was much less built up, but they have done a great job to keep the small town feel despite the growth.
And the Tour de France also brings a great atmosphere. Busy without being crazy and inconvenient. A great crowd that self regulates, spreads itself across a few kilometres, and are all there for a good time. We found a spot at the bottom of the riders last decent into Morzine, where the crowd was relatively thin, where we could see them fly down the hill, and where we would get the best chance of the sponsors'”Caravans”hitting us with a load of goodies. We stayed next to a small chalet and sheltered under the eves. And within 10 minutes the load travellers next door who were on an all day drinking session, spotted us and brought us a bench to sit on! Nice touch, and made me really love the positive power of sport to bring people together when the crowd has the right energy.
The Caravans… classic. From my point of view, having been in event management and sports sponsorship all my life, it was great to see the Tour roll in and out. Incredibly there was absolutely no infrastructure set up when we went to bed (6 man tent!) on the Friday night, incidentally with Harry vomiting regularly throughout the evening. But we heard the trucks roll in from 10.30pm onwards. And by the time I went to the patisserie at 7am the next morning, everything was in place… from roadside barriers and signage, to the finish line, all the sponsors hospitality and a huge number of team buses and trucks.
And great to see ALL the sponsors embrace the procession that precedes the riders. All the vehicles are innovative. Most blare out music, and throw out goodies to the crowd. Some are more creative than others, some more strategic in their freebies. But the kids loved it – they collected a HUGE heap of give aways – and it whips up a great buzz before the riders arrive. The excitement as the Cornetto caravan appeared around the corner resulted in the biggest cheer all day from the kids… balanced out by the disappointment as they threw out branded frisbies and not ice creams! But the next truck was Haribo throwing sweets so Cornetto was soon forgotten, and the damage to the brand minimal 😉
The riders themselves… well they really did fly down. The leaders were pushing hard at the front and Froome came past soon after protected by his Team Sky, just wanting to reach the end without injury. Morzine being the last stage before Paris, this effectively gave him the Tour de France win (his third). And it was still throwing it down.
Our Morzine trip coincided with my little bro Charlie’s holiday with his fam and in-laws. It was awesome to mess around with Charlie and Claire, and spend time with their kids. As ever, the cousins just get on like siblings, despite a limited amount of face time. Poppy and Jemima are two peas in a pod. A little competitive at times, but good buddies and lots of hugs. Tommy and Harry are almost twins. Hilarious their similarities. And enjoyed playing together and discovering the rope courses. Arch and Barn are a little older but Barney loved setting games and races for everyone.
So, Morzine was ANOTHER very sad place to leave. For me possibly the hardest to leave so far. It was great that it exceeded expectations as the kids, and probably adults, couldn’t imagine a ski resort being anywhere near as fun in the summer as the winter. But… we were proven wrong thankfully.
Now for SCOTLAND!