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james_emma’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 07 Apr 2007

Location: Les Allues, France

MapGlaciers and Bonfires

The snow has left us… and I don’t think it’s coming back!

As seems to be the tradition of the French Alps this year, we have had another three weeks of glorious blue sky days since our last fall of snow. It is astounding how quickly this lot has disappeared. I guess the million pommie kids racing in Meribel hasn’t really helped (we had the British Championships – they practice on grassy hills before coming out here…)
We have had a really gorgeous couple staying with us while their son was racing – Aussie bloke from Brisbane in fact! Their son, who’s 10, has just had 3 months at a ski training camp in Austria… how lucky is that! Mum and Dad sent me to Armidale for “training camp” when I was about the same age – just doesn’t sound quite as good really!

So what have we been doing with these beautiful days – well a couple of weeks ago we climbed a mountain! I have put some photos on the website to show just how bloody high it was! The boys and I decided to climb up one of the glaciers in Meribel, as we were leaving this bloke told me that he didn’t know anyone who had done it without snow shoes – well we proved it could be done! So two hours slog in the snow with board/skis on our backs – well to be honest my snowboard wouldn’t sit properly so James did some impressive “boyfriend” stuff and carried my board for half the time. Two of the boys who were about 20 minutes in front of us have video footage of this (so I can’t deny it) with Kent saying in the background “this really is love!” Anyway it was a bloody long way to go for ten minutes of great skiing on the way back down. But, truly, we had a great day and it was some of the best and most rewarding skiing we’ve had this season.

So… then we got lazy!

We haven’t been up the hill very much this week, James has buggered his legs again so has been seeing the physio trying to fix them up, he is feeling heaps better now though, and will feel even better if our insurance actually pays for it! The last two days I babysat twin 4 year old boys for some instructors here, they were little shits and if they want me again I’ll ask for double the bloody money! But at least we got a bit of extra cash for our trip around Europe and I realized how well behaved Elks, Soph, Lach, Alice, Jo-Jo and Matty are – god I have wonderful nieces and nephews (and Timmy, I assume Mikaela is just as well behaved)!

Everyone has been arranging their homeward bound trips and we can’t quite believe the season is nearly over, there are more and more requests for us to do a season at Charlottes Pass – where Mick & Ang and Kent & Yvette are heading next, but I think we will leave the ski fields to their own devices for a while after this – I think my brain might need a challenge soon before it shrivels up into a prune.

I don’t know if you all know but boys seem to love fire – this is especially so for James – caveman instinct I guess! Hence, last night we had a bonfire in the same spot as new years – up the hill from the village of Les Allues. This time however we took chairs, food, a van, so had music, and lots of wood aswell. Well we had a fabulous time up the hill and the good thing is it is quite a big walk home so no one could escape from the session (don’t really know if that is a good thing, thinking about it today). Anyway to get there in a car you have to drive up to another village and back around to the hill via a dodgy dirt track, so when we saw a car approaching at about 1am we all held our breath and pretended to be invisible. A kangoo (half van half car) with three robust French police pulled up alongside our impressive bonfire… They jumped out, realized no one spoke French, no doubt thought bloody Poms, then realized we were all drinking the cheapest beers you can find in the whole of France, clicked that we were probably just poor Australian chalet workers, told us to turn Bloody Billy Joel off and that if one more person sang the whole of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” again we would all be arrested, they then all piled back into the Kangoo, like a Benny Hill show, and zoomed off in a cloud of dust. So our experience with the French authorities I must say has been nothing but positive! I wish we’d got some video footage…

Anyway James is just about to get back which means that I have to syke myself up for 3-7 hours of rugby – yes he really needs his fix and as a special treat for Easter Saturday they are playing 60 games back to back – Woohoo, I can’t wait!!!! Hope all is well with everyone we will keep you posted as to what our plans are.

Lots of love Em and James xx