4th August 2009.
My, I had a frustrating day with emails yesterday! But first, I will cover the good bits. Or rather, the good bit. And that good bit was one of the best good bits I have ever come across.
I'll start at the start. I left you with a picture of some horses, and a flower, at my camp site. I settled in to make dinner - a pork chop. Then I heard a distant thundering, it became louder and louder then 3 or 4 horses galloped past my van. This episode was repeated, at irregular internals, until there were about 30 more horses down below. I didn't mention before, but the first lot of horses were corralled, they were riding horses, presumably from a company offering excursions on horseback. But the new arrivals were living wild on the mountain, seems they came each night to this spot to meet up. Of course, they are all owned by someone. Eventually it all calmed down, and, now snug in my sleeping bag, I had a warmer night.
Just when leaving my camp site I riffled through the local brochures I had and noticed one for 'le petit train'. It said it was the highest train in Europe. I looked up the address and by chance it was close, only a few miles away, back down my route. I went to investigate and since I was there I bought a ticket. I'm so very pleased I did. I was more than a bit doubtful at first because there was very low cloud and heavy mist on the ground, it didn't seem a really brilliant idea to be taking a high train trip. But the posted forecast said, low cloud clearing during the morning.
First there was a small cable car ride, about 10 minutes, climbing about 2000 ft, to the train station. I could hardly see a thing.
At the top, the mist cleared, but there was still plenty of low cloud.
The railway, apparently, had been constructed in the process of building a dam. I got on the train, we went into a long tunnel and I thought this is just a great big con, a train ride through a tunnel.
But no. The little train went on, and on, and on. In all, 10 km, all at 6,500 ft. It was superb. We were up amongst the peaks, above the clouds moving about 10 km/hr (7 mph) on average. It really was like being in a balloon, although of course a whole lot cheaper! The whole excursion cost about 20€, say $30, for 20 minutes on the cable car and around 2 hours on the train, there and back. I've paid that much just for a cable car trip.
Of course, you would not have been very happy in a balloon with all that cloud there down below.....
It was wonderful, just gently moving along the side of the mountain, sitting there in the train. At the other end they even let us climb further up the mountain
so that we would get to see the lake.
This is the train. It was full, in spite of the mist.
It was mostly single track, so given the length of the trip and the number of trains we had to pass quite a lot of trains going the other way. Well, 4 on the trip back.
It did give the marmots a chance to come along and beg for food.
The cloud had cleared on the way back but I didn't think much about photos.
When we got back to the cable car it was actually possible to see the lake down below. This of course is another lake, not the one high up.
I pottered on, then wasted a lot of time on, or often not on, the internet. I mentioned last year that my Internet provider had devised a system so that any subscriber could connect to the internet through any other subscribers wifi, using their regular sign on and password. It's brilliant! It means that I have around 200,000 hotspots available in France over and above the normal open hotspots.
But there are a couple of snags. No problem to most people, but for me, with a somewhat convoluted emailing system, very frustrating. At each hotspot I can use the internet, just great, no problems. But I don't generally want to use the internet when travelling, just to receive and send emails.
And these hotspots will only send or receive emails from neuf - that's my ISP - accounts. So my regular email accounts, @club.fr, work great since that's part of the neuf group. My accounts @ gmail or @ hotmail don't work. So what, you say. Just use your @ club.fr accounts.
But I can only send from these accounts when I am connected to a neuf hotspot. And there aren't any neuf hotspots in Spain, or Australia, or any other country except France. So when I am elsewhere I have to use gmail, or hotmail. I kept an account running for years at earthlink, because I could send and receive those emails anywhere. I run every one of my accounts through an emailing program, most people use Outlook Express, I use a program called ThunderBird. Sure, some people also use web based email. But I use ThunderBird, and I get on with it.
When I am at home, all my addresses work fine. No problems. It's just when I am accessing through one of these 200,000 neuf hotspots!
There's another snag with my @ club addresses. There is is a limit on the number of addresses you can send to. Gmail has a limit of 100 addresses, I I know that, I am currently sending to 98, so that's fine.
Is anybody still reading this? Are you with me?
Yesterday I landed on a Neuf hotspot. So I couldn't send my update out through gmail. Oh I could have written it all out on line through the internet, but it takes hours to write this stuff. Just think how long it takes you to read it! I don't have that time during the day, I'm travelling, looking at stuff. I need to write it off line.
So I had to send through my @ club address. (Because gmail doesn't work on a neuf hotspot) Oops. Too may addressees. So I roughly split my address list, which is a messy operation, I have not done it before. So the first batch went. The second did not. So I split it again. Now it went.
I'm getting very frustrated. It was taking ages. I'm thinking I'll never write another ****** update again.
Now I had to get my mail. Now my last update went from gmail, so replies to that update went to my gmail address which of course won't work. I have to access them on line. I don't have time to deal with them on line. So I need to forward them to my @ club address. And I can't find the way to forward stuff from web based gmail, I have never used it before. Grrr!
Luckily, while all his was happening, I was parked in a good spot. Luckily also when I drove into town, I saw a sign to a library, and since I had just told a correspondent I hadn't seen a library on this trip I followed the sign. I didn't find the library but I did find a whole lot of camping cars after a sign that said 'free overnight camping for camping cars'. So I thought it would be a shame to spurn such a generous offer.
I parked, walked around the van a couple of times grinding teeth, and then started to make dinner. Lamb chops. Fried potatoes. Red wine. Cheese and baguette. Melon. Followed by my regular plonk, brandy and water.
Continue on....... Get me outa here!