There are 5 national holidays in France during the month of May. In theory, that means lots of long weekends and days to explore. However, most of our days are still spent going about normal life, gardening and fixing things around the house.

Last weekend we had an absolutely gorgeous day, so we decided to take a day and drive to the Italian Alps, only 2 hours away.

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On our way there, we noticed signs indicating that many of the mountain passes we would need to take were closed.

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Since it was the middle of May and nearly 80 degrees out, we just drove on and decided to see how far we could get.

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And with views like this, why not enjoy the ride?

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Even the dandelions are beautiful here.

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Finally we reached the Col du Petit St. Bernard. Yes, like the dog. And the monk.

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8 kilometers from the Italian border.

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…And then the road was closed. To cars.

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So like the good Von Trapp family that we are, we strapped on our packs and decided to walk over the border.

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One small problem. We were wearing sandals. Not fun in the snow. David looked like a mountain goat hopping around in the snow.

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We crossed a few snowy patches with great confidence that we could still reach the border. Then we got to a point where the road was too snowy and the hillside was too steep to pass without wading knee-deep in snow (in sandals) and risking setting off an avalanche. (Not really kidding).

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So, sorry Italy. We’ll catch you next time.

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We made it 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the border.

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But we had a great little picnic with panoramic views of the Haute Savoie range in the French alps and we could see the Italian border.

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Then on the way home, we found some really cool towns.

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Including a ski area that is accessible by funicular. What, what?

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Moutiers, kind of like a mini Grenoble.

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At one point we were stopped in traffic for a while. David joked that it probably had to do with a cow. Maybe a cow rolled down a hill and hit a car? Then we realized that the guy directing traffic was in fact using a plastic fence post to direct traffic. And then we heard the clip-clop of hooves on the pavement as heard of cows approached us. Yup.

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Up they came, directed by a faithful herding dog, back home to this gorgeous spot below a glacier. Lucky cows!

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