Going back a few weeks. Or maybe even 2014. I haven’t had the chance yet to write about our new year’s week. As you might have read in my December posts, my boyfriend and I went to the French Alps for a week of skiing. We left with a French association, l’UCPA, and I can certainly say that we had an amazing week!
But an amazing week always starts with a very hectic leave. Leaving from the Netherlands on the day that it snows is pretty much stressful. We were suppose to take one train that would bring us to Brussels, from where we would catch a coach to Les Arcs. Unfortunately, our train was cancelled and we already had to take a coach from Rotterdam to Antwerpen. From there we took a train to Brussels and arrived right on time at the meeting point. We had several stops along the way in order to pick people up, and refuel the bus before arriving in Chambery. Chambery is the meeting point of all of the coaches arriving from different parts of France. There other coaches were waiting for us in order to dispatch us to the different skiing stations. Our Brussels bus arrived an hour late, at 08:00. When we arrived our Chambery bus that would bring us to Les Arcs was not there. So my boyfriend and I waited. Outside. Patiently. A group of four girls were waiting for the same coach, and one of them decided to ask the information point whether they had any info. I over heard what she said to her friends. The info point had no info, only that the bus was on its way. 15 to 20 minutes later I went back, and was given the same reply. I shared the info with the girls and from there on we decided to take refuge at the airport. This is also how we got to know each other and spent the entire week with them as well as other people that we met along our week. Yes, because the coaches’ meeting point was Chambery’s airport. The airport was packed, but we managed to find a cozy corner and settled. After two and half hours, the coach finally arrived and off we were. We left at 11:30 and arrived shortly after two. We knew that we would not be able to ski for the afternoon as many things had to be done: eating lunch, getting our room, getting our skiing material and most importantly shower!!! We then gathered at the bar where the UCPA team gave us some information about the week. That night we had dinner with our new friends and took part in the evening activity – a musical game. We had a pretty great team as we won two bottles of cider, shared with the loosing teams of course!
Our holiday week was extremely busy. It’s certainly not what you’d call a typical holiday. It was intense. We would wake up early every morning, and either start with our skiing ‘lessons’ at 09:30 or just go skiing / snowboarding the two of us or with our Belgian friends. Our lessons were very intense for me. There are five main groups, and we were in the one below the expert group. I was the only girl, which made the level of our group quite high. On Monday I would always be last no matter when and where we stopped. That’s also because I was always the last one to leave, so the following days I opted for a different strategy. When the instructor would leave, I would go to. Less pressure! I did have a lot of fun during our skiing lessons and especially loved Tuesday morning (and I generally preferred morning lessons than afternoon ones). We went through the woods on big boulevards with very few people. But most of the time we were on red slopes. Red slopes with lots of bumps. So I can assure you that at the end of the day my legs were on fire. I must say that we didn’t ski from 9 to 5 without stopping. We always came back to the UCPA centre for lunch. We would stay an hour before going back on the ski slopes.
My boyfriend would ski when we had lessons, and then snowboard during our free time. We had booked a snowboard in the village, as he could not do both at the UCPA centre. The first and last time he snowboard was back in 2010 when we went skiing with some friends. He snowboarded for three days and immediately enjoyed it. At les Arcs he picked up the pace pretty well. I do have to stay he can do any sports. He has a whole list of sports that he has tried so I doesn’t surprise me that he’s a natural in snowboard. The first day was a little challenging for him but after that he was snowboarding like crazy!
So what would you do after a day of skiing? For us the answer is clear. We would all gather at the bar. Yes, at the centre there was a bar and this is where we met some amazing people. We had a drink or two, talked, participated in the daily afternoon quiz and talked some more. When you meet new people there is so much to talk about. Who you are, what you do, what you did during the day but the first two questions we would all ask each other was (1) are you skiing or snowboarding and (2) in which group are you in. A great conversation starter when meeting new people. We would often eat all together before participating in the evening activity. You see our day was non stop. The only moment you get to rest is when you’re going to bed. I must say the activities aren’t compulsory. You don’t have to participate, you don’t have to go to the bar but it’s just the best way to meet new people. There’s no point of staying in our tiny bedroom when you can meet awesome people. So that was pretty much our day. I would usually pass out at around eleven, if not earlier. And that we would do the next day, and the following. Five days in a row!
You’re probably asking yourself what about internet? Well there was internet in only one location. So when you have thirty or more people that are trying to connect well internet is almost inexistant. Therefore, with my boyfriend we decided to disconnect for a whole week. BEST DECISION EVER! It felt good. It felt amazing. We just hung out with people for a whole week, without even worrying about internet. It hardly ever crossed my mine and I’d always have my phone in the bedroom so the temptation was not even there. I would definitely encourage any of you to disconnect for a week. No stress, no pressure. It felt amazing!
And we couldn’t end our week without a little fondue and raclette. If you love cheese and charcuterie you will love these savoyard dishes. We went there with our Belgian friends and wow it was delicious. Even before we left I told my boyfriend that we had to eat either raclette or fondue when we’re in the Alps.
We also went to the highest point, l’Aiguille Rouge. My skiing group had gone one afternoon where I decided I did not want to go with. But my boyfriend really wanted to show me the view, and I am very glad we went. A clear and blue sky and sunshine made the view magnificent. Going back down wasn’t too much fun but the view was breathtaking (see below).
We shall definitely go back. Hopefully soon. Very soon.