Let’s Explore … The Blog

My ‘Let’s Explore…’ videos are snapshot POV edits that I put together to give a taster of what I get up to when I’m not working! Below you will find edits from a few of my adventures from the last few years from exploring the Chilterns on our doorstep to venturing in the Swiss Alps. There will be more to come so watch this space, and if you have any ideas on where to go next leave me a comment!

Nepal was the big trip in 2017. We walked the Annapurna Region which is just spectacular. I am looking forward to going back and walking some more, harder routes!

Gryon is a beautiful little village in the Swiss Alps. I have been going now for about 5 years. I always stay with Merlin and Gemma in Chalet Martin, you can check out their website here: www.gryon.com

This is a little video from a road trip around Dorset. It isn’t just a walking edit, we get some cycling in there too.

‘Let’s Explore… Sardinia’ is another adventure using the Sony action cam. The underwater case makes it perfect to use on a holiday by the sea.

Croatia is a beautiful country. We have a lot more exploring to do so need to go back, but here is a taster of the scenic national parks and surrounding islands.

The Ridgeway is something a bit more unusual for myself, this was solely biking. This is a route that travels through ancient woodlands, valleys and has beautiful views pretty much throughout.

Ireland, mainly Northern Ireland in this edit, again we will have to go back and explore further West, it is on the cards!

Our first edit, strolling through the countryside that is on our doorstep, a beautiful Chiltern walk. Many more have been had an will create a new edit once I have collected more footage.

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Let’s Explore… Croatia

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Travelling has always been important, not just going to the places and the food, but meeting new people too. Croatia has been on my bucket list for a while now and finally I managed to bag a trip, albeit a short one.  Watch the video of the trip here.

14681915_10154622681794158_8725972837615300256_oMy partner and I hired a car and explored the Krka National Park, the waterfalls and surrounding canyons were beautiful. We could have stayed for much longer, however we had a ferry to catch to Hvar.

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Hvar was spectacular. It was a short drive to our Airbnb cottage, the heavens opened as we turned up but that didn’t matter as the view from our room made up for that. We spent the rest of our time exploring the islands around Hvar, and all I can say is that it was tranquil, I can imagine in the height of summer it is a different story…

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Watch the video of the trip here

Exploring Northern Norway Article

Tromsø in northern Norway is about 400km within the Arctic Circle and most definitely one of the most remarkable places that should be on everyone’s travel list. The lodgings vary from large, contemporary hotels to the rather small Sami tents.

Sami Tent
Sami Tent

The days are surprisingly bright even though the sun isn’t present for most of the year. The midnight, crystal clear winter sky does provide the most stunning scenery whether you are expecting the northern lights or not.

Crystal Clear Winter Sky
Crystal Clear Winter Sky

There are many activities that embrace the climate found in northern Norway, one not to miss is a dog sledding expedition. The dogs are specifically bred for the minus conditions and enjoy every minute they are running.

Arctic Dog Sledding
Arctic Dog Sledding

The dogs’ high protein, high fat diet is important as they start training around 8 months to maintain fitness up to the age of 13. The silence is broken as soon as they can sense they are about to get harnessed up.

Alaskan Husky
Alaskan Husky

There are many myths about the aurora borealis dating back from the very first arctic explorers who would have never seen or heard of anything like this before. Even though there are many photos available today, there is nothing like seeing them with the naked eye.

aurora borealis
aurora borealis

For many this will be a once in a lifetime experience and even though the temperature might not be above -21°c being cold shouldn’t be an excuse to go indoors when watching the aurora borealis.

aurora borealis over the sea
aurora borealis over the sea

There is nothing more magical than to be wrapped up in merino wool and down filled jackets, not forgetting a thickly knitted hat watching the silent movements of the northern lights.

.holly.

Winter at Chalet Martin Article

Winter this year has and still is, a white wonderland. There have been many opportunities for everyone staying at the Chalet to Ski, Snowboard and carry out many other activities. From neighbouring village Barboleuse, and local town Villars there are tele-cabins taking you up to a variety of pistes.

Skiing at Les Chaux  (1750m)
Skiing at Les Chaux (1750m)

The Christmas of 2013 was celebrated by decking the chalet with greenery and baubles throughout, and spending time with loved ones. It was a busy environment yet still cosy. The many stories from 35 people, both french and english, made their way around the dinner table as our three course dinner was in progress. The christmas tree this year has seen many guests in and out of the chalet, both long stays and the short. All taking away brand new stories to tell at their next dinner table.

Christmas at the Chalet
Christmas at the Chalet

The traditional Boxing day walk was replaced with an afternoon snowshoeing. Many others went Cross Country Skiing or sledging. We all made it back to the chalet where there was a thick hot chocolate waiting. The evening was spent all together playing a variety of games the chalet has in the living room in front of the fire.

Snowshoeing to Croix des Chaux (2020m)
Snowshoeing to Croix des Chaux (2020m)

For New Year Eve, some dressed up as field mice and some as polar bears and they gathered together and explored the lit up, musical town of Villars. Back at base camp, New Years was seen in singing old lang syne surrounding a glowing amber bonfire, watching the clear, starry sky being lit up with explosions of bright light. With our glasses full of local bubbly we were surely set for the New Year. 2014.

New Year Day Paragliding 2014
New Year Day Paragliding 2014

However, the first day of 2014 was spent up a local mountain piste, Roc d’Orsay (2000m). The cold air filled our mind as we took off paragliding. Slowing gliding over the surrounding mountains inhabited by mountain goats and skiers you sure do get a beautiful view. Bring on 2014… .holly.

Nuts About Mylk ? Article

I lazily walked down into the kitchen today to make a cup of lovely English tea, not only to find out that I have ran out of tea bags (big dilemma!), but I did find Andy working away with his scales and nuts creating a variety of concoctions for his new company, Nuts about Mylk. He has engaged Gemma into the process too as she was busily working away creating a logo. 

Gemma designing the logo
Gemma designing the logo

I have never tried pure nut milk before and actually I didn’t know what to expect. I watched how it was prepared, I have never seen so much precision in a kitchen, then again my cooking doesn’t involve scales and measurements.. 

Happy baby and Andy
Andy looking after baby whilst mum designs logo at Chalet Martin

The final bottled products were made from a selection of almonds and cashew nuts with cinnamon and vanilla added to the mix. 

Nuts About Mylk Photoshoot
Nuts About Mylk Photoshoot

We were then all due to test it, there were a variety of words that floated about and they were along the lines of full, flavoursome, light, organic, and once tried the cinnamon one warm the best quote was “ohhh yeaaaa, that’s christmas in a glass.”

Nut Mylk Ready to Test
Nut Mylk Ready to Test

They are all so light you could drink the whole bottle! I think my favourite was the chocolate one, it was the sweeter of the three. However, I am waiting for the Hazelnut and Vanilla Mylk to be created as I feel that will be my favourite. 

Nuts about Mylk Logo
Nuts about Mylk Logo

.holly.

 

Halloween at Chalet Martin Article

Well Halloween has been and gone. 


The pumpkins were sacrificed and gave their lives to Emma and Libby who thoroughly enjoyed carving faces whilst looking over the snow capped mountains at 2,000 meters. The whole day was Halloween themed from the music to the cookies. Later, once the fire was lit there was fancy dress, followed by apple bobbing and Harry Potter made an appearance.

Ghost Biscuits
Ghost Biscuits

That night, the guests arrived and were greeted in an unusual fashion at reception with worm and frog sweets arranged on the counter and were shown to their room for a good nights sleep by a glow in the dark skeleton. Even with a deathly theme, Chalet Martin still had a warm and inviting atmosphere and the hustle and bustle of people reaching for their pumpkin soup and socialising as much as you can with limited understanding, due to different languages.

Reception
Reception

The night was finished around the fire pit outdoors chatting about where we come from, where we’re going. Hours passed and the fairy lights turned off, as this happened it lit up our beautiful, clear sky. We starred in amazement as to how we hadn’t noticed it before. Many wishes were made upon the shooting stars and as the fire went down, we retired for the night with a rewarding cup of tea.

.holly.

Welcome to Chalet Martin, Switzerland. Article

Travelling back to Chalet Martin in the winter is well worth it, as it is beautiful in the summer but the winter holds a different sort of beauty. My arrival was welcomed with a variety of colours in the trees that cover the mountain sides and also the Chalet is now home to little, baby Willow.

Baby Willow
Baby Willow

After the journey up the hill the tram enters the old wooden station, where the Restaurant du Gare provides a warm refreshment on this occasion, but does a decent cold one too. At the end of October the temperature was around 16 degrees Celsius with the odd very hot, summers day. It provided great motivation to get some gardening done around the Chalet. The leaves had covered the pathways and the flowers were starting to die so a little spruce up was in order. After a full day out door the garden looked healthy and was waiting for the guests to enjoy it.

Chalet Martin Garden
Chalet Martin Garden

Tonight’s dinner will of course be a cheese fondue. The set can be hired from the Chalet and all you have to do is collect the cheese and variety of meat, bread and veg, as well as anything else you can think of.

Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue

There are a variety of dorm rooms provided at Chalet Martin, they can hold from 5 to 10 backpackers and in the attic there are lots of coves that provide a little more privacy. There are of course the private double rooms but tonight I will find myself alone in a 10 bed dorm.

Dorm Room
Dorm Room

.holly.

This is how we play.. in Switzerland. Article

Around Chalet Martin, there are many walks that the surrounding area offers. The Swiss transport system is very efficient and will take you to the start of your hike or pick you up at the very end of the valley. 

Solalex
Solalex

The half hour drive brings us to the beginning of our walk at the neighbouring valley. Here we start our ascent up the zigzagging path, over the fallen rocks and up to the peak where we ate our curried chicken sandwich and sugared treats. 

Walking Together
Walking Together

Via Ferrata’s are popular all around the Swiss Alps. Graded differently throughout the world, this route was my first and it was pretty hard work, at an Exposure grade of 2, out of 5 and Strength graded at 4, also out of 5. 

Via Ferrata
Via Ferrata

The route included wooden planks and bridges, metal bars and ladders, as well as rock face to traverse your way along.  

Enjoying a Via Ferrata
Enjoying a Via Ferrata

The hostel offers many choices of biking routes, be it road or trail. If exhaustion takes it’s toll then the trams operate from all main villages and are perfectly on time to get you home to the hostel for refreshments. 

Biking Opportunities
Biking Opportunities 

When it comes to climbing, the Sport climbs around the Bex/ Gryon area and numerous with a variety of grades available from 4c to 7a and more..

Merlin Leading
Merlin Leading

There are many opportunities for photographs to be taken to record your journey around the alps, from low ranging valleys to the very top of mountains.. 

Photography Inspiration
Photography Inspiration

Overall, the Swiss Alps have lots to offer, whatever your expedition entails. The end of an awesome climbing day found us walking along the wooded path back to our homely retreat, Chalet Martin.  

End of the Day
End of the Day

.holly.

Fancy an Adventure… Chalet Martin Perhaps? Article

I’ve taken myself and my camera out to the Swiss Alps this summer and have caught a variety of shots which tell the story quite well of my trip. On your way to Chalet Martin, this sign will greet you at the bottom of the hill, once at your future home you will be happy you took the effort to get the Train, then Cog-grail then the short walk up the steep hill. Promise.

Chalet Martin
Chalet Martin

The view from the attic bedrooms is spectacular as you get numerous skylight windows to peep through and being so high in the clouds, when it thunders, you most definitely will hear it loud and clear!

The Bedroom View
The Bedroom View

There is a variety of wildlife out in the Swiss Alps, from Bees to Wolves that have been re-released. Marmots and Mountain Goats join the list too. Every time you take a trip out, even if it’s to the BBQ you will always be greeted with something different, mainly the Lizards who love to bask in the sun.

Bee collecting Nectar
Bee collecting Nectar

The walks around the area can take you pretty much where ever you need to go, you can walk for a few hours to full on hikes in the mountains for days. Popular places to walk to from Gryon are to Solalex, down the far end of the Valley or up to Le Croix which requires you to walk past the bakery and grab a corn bread sandwich. That is a must!

Long Day Walking
Long Day Walking

The traditional Swiss food is a Fondue, be it chocolate or cheese. We had many fondue dinners where Raclette and Greyere were melted for our consumption. Mixed with a local white wine and freshly baked bread that day, accompanied with a salad picked from the garden and a homemade dressing.

Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue

The summer’s sun has helped the garden flourish, the flowers are picked as decor all around the hostel. The bright colour compliments the different shaded wood in the Chalet. The ummer spent here I feel will be different compared to the Winter, atmosphere and aesthetically, let’s hope I get the chance to photograph it then too. 

Flowers
Flowers

.holly.