A couple of weeks ago we flew to Geneva on a surprise mission. Our daughter Emily is currently working in the French Alps as a chalet host and having the time of her life. She kept on asking us to go visit her but for one reason or another we just couldn't do it. I won't bore you with the details but things changed, we booked our flights and off we went. We decided not to tell Emily and just turn up. We'd spoken to Matt, the owner of the chalet where she was working and arranged to stay there and he sorted our transfers from Geneva, which is about 90 minutes, on a good day. We arrived at the chalet around 6pm and the look on her face was priceless. Shocked but so pleased and excited.
Now, we've never been to a ski resort before or seen that much snow in years, so we were beyond excited and ready for Emily to show us around.
It was rainy, grey and miserable on our first day but we didn't let that stop us. Our visit was a short one so we had to cram in as much as we could. Matt took us in the mini bus from their village and dropped us in the town of Chatel. Emily had her ski gear and so we headed up our first mountain in the bubble lift. Mr C and I had already decided that we were not even going to attempt to ski, firstly because time was short (and some sort of lessons would be needed) and secondly because the trip was costing a small fortune we couldn't afford the added expense! It was the experience, the snow, the mountains and the views we were there for, and of course Emily :) I'd even borrowed snow boots and a ski jacket off friends and family as I wasn't about to buy any.
Emily went off for a little ski, it wasn't the best conditions but she wanted to show us how well she was doing. She's only been skiing once before when she went to Austria on holiday with her friend a few years back.
We headed in to the bar to get out of the rain and ordered some drinks to warm the cockles. I had a Baileys hot chocolate and nearly choked on it when I realised it cost 7 euros 50!!! Cheap it is not.
It got even more expensive when we went back down into the town for lunch but it was lovely and we sat for a while chatting and catching up with Em, and her telling us about her friends and what she'd been getting up to.
Day 2 was a totally different story with the sun out and the clouds gone. Everywhere looked so different. So pretty. This time we headed to the slopes at Pré la joux. We had to take 2 buses, which we thought was great as we'd never done the journey before and it was lovely just sitting there and taking in the spectacular scenery. Poor Emily has to lug all her ski gear if she goes there on the bus but luckily dad was on had to help with the carrying. Mr C wanted to carry her skis over his shoulder to make him look like he was a skier and part of the in crowd!
This time we had to get on a proper chair lift and I was a little nervous. I had visions of me not getting on properly and being left behind or dangling off it upside down as we headed up the mountain. Vivid imagination?
Happy to report all three of us got on safe and sound and it was amazing. It was breathtaking. To the regular skier folk, it's nothing, I guess you just get used to it, but to Mr C and I it was incredible, so peaceful, bloody cold, but peaceful, being whisked up high into the blue sky to look down on the world below.
Being non-skier folk we were only allowed to the first platform, see I don't even know the proper terminology, only those with skis strapped to their feet were allowed on the next chair lift to the very top but it mattered none because we were blown away with the place where we jumped off although every step you took you were nearly mowed down by a skier, it was THAT busy! There weren't many people on foot, as you'd imagine really, but there was a old woman up there taking her dog for a walk! I guess taking your dog for a walk at the top of a mountain beats taking him for a walk around your local village.
Naturally, we went in search of a beverage, or two.
The atmosphere was magical up there, full of excitement and trepidation. Some adults taking it slow, others whizzing by, and the kids speeding along without an ounce of fear. I can see why people love it, and why they would pick this over a sunshine holiday. The adrenaline, the buzz, and everyone is so friendly, we chatted to lots of lovely people whilst just sitting having drinks.
How can you top having drinks whilst sitting in a deckchair on top of a mountain? We sat there for quite a while just watching the skiers do their thing, and several times I found myself staring open mouthed at the snow capped mountains surrounding us. The beauty of it all took my breath away.
An outdoor bar, loud music, laughter and people generally getting off their face!
We met some more of Emily's friends and they are the nicest people, a bit wild on occasion but then I think that's what it's all about when you're young and working away from home. I dread to think what they REALLY get up to! Emily did tell us they all loved us too, but then what's not to love?! :D
Emily is the youngest there, most are in their mid to late twenties, some even older, yet she fits in so well and they all look out for each other. We are ridiculously proud of our baby girl, she was unsure at first, not because she was missing home, because she's fiercely independent that's for sure, it was just because of other things going on, but now she has found her feet and loving it. She's been skiing, knows her way around her village and the town, she's conquered her fear of trying to speak the language and she's having the time of her life, with some hard work thrown in.
I love the photo below because she looks so happy and full of life and every time I look at it it feels like my heart is going to burst.