Monday, 30 April 2012


Notes from a wee journey 2012

Firstly the choice of blog name was not mine. However I settled on it rather than the only other options for this ‘joint’ diary i.e. gland slam tour or the wooden spoon trip…
So here we are a chance of a life time.
We have decided to take unpaid leave and set out in our CCC, (compact comfortable campervan) to Europe.
Our plans changed around three weeks to go as our beautiful collie decided that enough was enough and went to Rainbow Bridge.
So a change of plan was rather last minute and gathering the information was a bit of a faff and the last few weeks were a real blur of work, packing and information gathering, but we set out to with a rough plan of-
Skiing till we’re sick or the snow disappears
Cycling the Raid Pyrenees route west to east
Walking the GR10 or some variation
Climbing and via ferrata in the Dolomites
And running swimming and cycling in our spare time….
Oh yes and eating lots of French bread, croissants, cheese and drinking enough red wine to numb any pains we may have.
Due to the lack of commitment from one half of this blog and the lack of internet access, this will be a bit random and may be a bit biased, however that’s just how it is going to be.
So it all started on 3rd April 2012
I finished shift and we left Scotland in an unbelievable storm after a week of 25degrees weather.
We made good time to the ferry and even stopped at Ikea to get Lawr some fish and chips.
Highs – start of trip,
Lows – leaky van window
Ferry king seaways –Kobenhavn – HUGE!!
Ferry like a hotel. We made our way to our cabin, considered an upgrade but 15euros wouldn’t cover it. As we set sail from the Harbour at North Shields we entered the turbulent sea.
As the boat pitched and yawed the captain announced a change to the scheduled cinema programme, from gentle films of Free Willy and Finding Nemo to Titanic and the Perfect Storm which reflected most of the crossing.
We sat braced at our table watching the waves outside from our three story advantage point as the water still hit the windows. I didn’t realised a boat could move so much without capsizing.
Exhausted by trying to follow the horizon and the growing number of paper bag yielding children we decided to head to the cabin.
We passed by the previously loud and alcohol fuelled weegies who were now pasty faced and quiet.
Walking back to the cabin was entertaining and there there was a great deal of mattress action, with Lawr in the top bunk and me in the bottom.  Sleep didn’t come easily as the ship’s bow smacked into the troughs. Thrown back and forward, left and right in some kind of rhythmical motion we wondered how our wee camper would be doing parked up next to the articulated lorries carrying oil pipes..!
oil pipes

April 4th 2012
At about 7am when the sea calmed we managed a couple of hours sleep before setting of to see the camper. There had been damage to vehicles on the upper decks but our wee camper was fine.
Squeezing off the boat and onto the convoluted roads, we started our holiday song – Drive on the right, drive on the right…
Blooming Garmin, It lost the plot and sent us the wrong way. Flipping satnavs.
Parked up at Metz and went for a wander along the canal, feeling pretty tired but the thought of travelling the next day we really need some exercise.  
keep fit
A very compact van at tea time. Note the very useful washing line.

 
Highs – travelling further south, don’t think I have forgotten anything
Lows – Satnav

April 5th
Fed the ducks the flapjack that Lawr claims made him ill, hope the ducks have strong stomachs... on the road and heading to Annecy. Sun is coming out. Where the factor 50 to protect my fair Celtic skin.
Bloody satnav, another detour, had to have a stern word with it. So far we have seen some quant areas of France.
A wee bit further we spot our first proper thick snow and Lawr v.v.v excited. The roads becoming tight and twisty and the temp dropping.  Also our first croissant and baguette.
Highs – snow spotted, cheese bought
Lows – Garmin, cheese lost

April 6th
It has been a long drive and we stopped in a strange place. An aire at le Lechere – thermal spa, pharmacy specialising in incontinence pads, a library, cinema and outdoor condom machine. Figure that one. Anyway a good night’s sleep and a wee run in the morning and the temperature are soaring!
Repacked and headed to Courchevel, la praz. I stayed her in Jan and showed Lawr the sights. Much less snow but still lots. Parked at Jean Blanc car park Flot Blue available 3 euros.  Maybe one week here then Val Thoren.
Nice to be stopped. Van filled up with water and ready for living in.
In the evening of the 6th we bought our ski passes and bought a 3valley ticket – 6days. Snow still good and there is some amateur event happening so no doubt we’ll stand out!

Was told about some lovely meringues when here in Jan by SH and had to sample. YUM. Better ski it off tomorrow. More motorhomes arriving.
Highs – snow, cycle route to sauna worked out
Lows – no croissant for breakfast
Note - Lawr put on my hat and glasses on today, better watch the rest of my clothes.

April 7th


1st day of skiing.  A few running repairs. Not a bad day, some mist and sun. Snow very good at the tops a little heavy at the bottom. Lawr got me worried saying he was short of breath then immediately set off down the off piste leaving me in his wake, no need to worry then!
Explored Corchevel 1850, 1650 and Meribel. Meribel had some lovely skiing. We got a 15min break at the top for lunch, then back on the slopes. Just a warm-up day, apparently. A break you in gently day, so we only skied 915-430pm. Now I know what I forgot to pack – my ski legs.
Neither of us up for a cycle so washed read walk and repacked for tomorrow.

Highs - fab on and off piste skiing in morning, sun shined, ‘lunch stop’ scenic, van still in car park on return
Lows – heavy afternoon snow - technique pants (?)
note - interesting diamond encrusted gear and are white sallopettes really a good idea! Not judging by the brown stains on the bum of the ones we saw today!
Got some new neighbours, there motorhome rivals our house. Almost can ski to the van, it’s just in the car park.







 


April 8th
Rained throughout the night, but woke to snow, however temperature quite warm. Went to lift via patisserie. Mistake, there was a group of foreigners in their ordering there breakfast. 15mins later I eventually got my baguette.

So on to the lifts, quite quiet.  At the top the lift operator accosted Lawr. He smiled and Lawr smiled back and tried to get past, but the lift operator was quick and cut Lawr off at the exit, still smiling, then handed Lawr some Easter eggs!! Of course it’s Easter Sunday…free chocolate, woo hoo.

Out on the piste fresh snow and quite a bit, woohoo
So off we went, however it forgot to stop snowing and in the visibility it was tough going. But the break in the snow and the sun coming out meant it was pretty fab anyway.
Les Menuires resulted in a free coffee due to an impromptu meeting with an acquaintance of Lawr’s. Woo hoo.
Refreshed from the short break we headed up to the bouquetin and the cloud lifted a little more.
Lawr, having been here before, took great delight in ‘guiding’ me around the slopes.
Conversation from the slopes –
L - Over here Wend
W - Where are we going?
L - A lovely route
W - What colour are the poles over there Lawr?
No answer
W - Lawr?!
L - It’s a bit bumpy to start, but then it’s lovely
5mins of leg killing later
W - When does it get less bumpy? He was too far away to answer.
Moto – if it doesn’t kill me it’ll make me stronger!



Having survived the black bumps I was a bit cocky and going down the blue, misjudged a small ramp and performed an ariel display Eddie the Eagle would have been proud of.
We had our usual lunch stop looking down on les menuires. Not much to report as when the clouds lifted the skiing was fab.
Towards the end of the day I found Lawr lying in the snow said he was inspecting the dendrites… yeah right!
Back at the van after a great day, bikes off and up to the hammam at 1650. Was full so decided we would cycle up to 1850 for a look. The temperature plummeted and the ride back to the sauna was freezing.
Have just been told that I have to undergo a test for my off piste before we go down a v.v.black. Am I not on holiday??
Easter Monday tomorrow slopes will be busy. And for the record at the egg are eaten J
Highs - more snow, free chocolate, free coffee, sauna, no queues
Lows – it forgot to stop snowing while we were skiing, chilly in the van
Note  – Lawr in Lycra caused quite a stir at 1650 as he was accosted by some females whistling at him as they did a check out drive by as we cycled up! Suppose they are only human.

April 9th
An icy start but the skies were blue. Ski lift, via Mrs Artisan for bread and Florentines for the hill. Busy today so no plan of action.
As it was my test day we went high and seeked out some off piste. The crowds grew but the area is so vast it was easy to escape the masses. We had some tough runs and some fab snow. Down low again it was heavy but up top it was fab.                       
Decided that we would head to Val Thoren. Up and down through the valleys. It was here just before lunch that I tried some face skiing (on piste), not to be recommended and by the look of concern on the guys face who collected my ski it was not a particularly aesthetically pleasing spectator sport either.  Shaken but not stirred Lawr lined up some off piste. Determined to pass my test I sheepishly followed. The chief examiner was not impressed by my sideslips, somersaults and squeals. Oh well back to the piste for me and down to the lift and I watched in awe as the chief instructor stylishly side slipped, somersaulted and squealed his way down the rest of the off piste.
A stop for lunch at 2800m, perfect situation for a Florentine. Only they were not up to the Kirby Longsdale standard I have become used to. (KW would understand.) Never the less I devoured it without complaint.
The rest of the day was a blur of lifts and runs. I was pretty knackered at the end and in the soft snow managed and inside edge assisted 360’.
Back a van and on with washing, cheese, grapes and coffee, relaxing in the sunshine J
Highs– sun shined, off piste (L), Florentine (W)
Lows – face skiing, 3rd day fatigue
Note – re. Test – apparently I require further training, possibly that’s a fail.

April 10th
Another sunny morning and found radio Meribel that has an English section with the weather so now we don’t have to guess!! Had to break out the ibrufen as my neck is killing me from yesterday. Lawr said he is still skiing like a demon, maybe I’ll have to film him (last time someone did that he gave up snowboarding)
Started day with what turned out the icy black. Not a good start. Then by stark contrast we took a long blue from the top of Meribel to St Martin Belvelle. This was a lovely wee village and just enough snow to get to it that day.
Up and over to les menuires for some lunch and info gathering, then up to the Bouquetin on la masse. Weather starting to look ominous.  Lawr heads down an off piste gully and I head down a fabulous red. Meeting at the bottom Lawr tells me how well he did in the powder, sharp turns, balance and grace. This seems like the story of Lawr’s fishing trip to Strathconnon where a huge fish escapes as he reels it in – no witnesses.
Down through the slush, legs knackered then a ski from the top to 20m from the van; first to the van puts on the kettle. And so I held back.
Ran out of water so into village, quite chilly now, with bottles to fill from the every flowing fountains of youth? :)
Watched the history of Wales all about the last King of Wales and it had to be King Howell the good! How long do I have to listen to his welshness…?
Good night you highness
Highs - sunny (this is a bit repetitive), fab off piste by Bode Miller of Merthyr, another good day of exercise
Lows - slush and ice, knackered after another day of exercise
Note - Lawr’s beard starting to resemble a hedgehog’s arse. (His words not mine)

April 11th
We woke to 20cm of snow. Really low cloud and Lawr decides a later start might be better. So we head off at a tardy 10am. It really is pea soup, cannot even see the end of my ski’s. Loads of fresh snow which I struggle through and after an hour I am knackered and even the ski king is tiring quickly. We head back to the van for a cuppy and hope that the weather clears. We can now ski to within metre of the van due to the mount of snow that has fallen!
We set off again refuelled and ready for action, Lawr on the off piste and me on the reds. It is tough going, but the light is a bit better.
Snow is really heavy on the lower slopes as the day progresses.  Lawr thinks we may have skied the wax off the skis! We split as the day wears on and I head down the red and sneak into the back of a lesson to get down a rather torturous red.  Don’t understand a word of the lesson but it was quite nice anyway.
At base camp meet Mike from Krakow and he offers us a generator. Also invites us to stay on our return journey! J They run a motorhome rental business.
Highs – loan of generator.
Lows – generator lasted 10mins (ran out of fuel), soft sloppy moguls in afternoon.
Note – must brush up Polish

April 12th
After another night at our stop in le lechere, we head in to Albertville. Found loads of information including a duathlon that we will try to enter.
Tourist information place great and a book shop that was fantastic to help us with our map needs for later in the trip. Kourt the manager had visited Durness and spoke great English, phew. So we have ordered our maps of the Pyrenees about £100 worth!
As usual we come during the lunchtime, so off to a bar to use the internet. Nice lady tried to help us with so translation, but things were getting confusing so we drink our very strong coffee and leave.
Off to get some supplies at decathlon and supermarket. Loads for sheep cheese bought J can feel cholesterol rising already.
Found nice pool at Gilly outside Albertville. Seems like we put an ex-Olympic athlete out by using his lane!! Oh well, we swam well despite the pressure.
Back to le lechere in the rain L
Highs – train tickets bought for cycle and walk, maps ordered, good swim, clean, more cheese (Gromit)
Lows – rain, burnt nose
Note – Lawr manage to negotiate a self-cleaning loo without getting cleaned himself this time.

April 13th (Happens to be Friday the 13th.)
Lazy morning. Off to Moutiers but as usual we arrive at lunchtime, so have to go to pub/café.
End up having wild goose chase for GLP, so we head to village of Carey to change to lycra kit for the assault on the 17km route. So Pantani took 42mins, we should be finished before dark.
Here we go – st bon, la praz, 1650, mist, 1850, snow, tunnel, wind and snow, Altiport, blooming freezing. Quick pics then down we go
.
It was freezing but we had to get a picture at the bike.
Was passed by mad French rider who over took me 50m from a hairpin, I am sure he never touch the brakes and swept round the corner, poetry in motion. But he never caught Lawr who was by now back at the van putting the heating on for me. Brrr
Just to show how varied our journey is demonstrated in the next picture.


Highs – great cycle, more cheese, clean clothes
Lows – Lawr almost sick from eating crab sticks; very cold descent. Today all public loos were horrid
Note – a women’s work is never done. (by the women according to Lawr!)

April 14th
So a quiet night at le lechere. (Beginning to feel at home here)
After some pressing I persuaded Lawr that it really shouldn’t be a rest day and that a run was required. So off we went and ran together for 25mins before I set off on what turned out to be a lovely run to a waterfall.
Back at the van I found Lawr counselling the cassette loo. Obviously it was a more successful subject than counselling me. Less issues but more s__t, telling Lawr all about its crap life.
The bikes got titivated and then we went off to find some GPL. It was hard to find garages in the area and Lawr read the cylinder gauge and thought we should get some more. So I got sent me into explain our needs, surrender my passport and eventually we managed to fill up and Lawr sent me back to pay for the 1.57euro of gas that he managed to ‘squeeze’ into the obviously quite full cylinder. Think he may require glasses.
Back into Moutiers and met Marc at the betting shop and got some coffee. On with some more homework we discovered that a mix up in dates with Parcar (where the van is holidaying while we walked) meant that we had to change our train tickets! Bugger. Anyway the lovely lady at SNCF took 30mins to change our tickets and then gave us 20euros back J so we went off to the supermarket to spend the excess cash.
We then retired to our ‘home’ and back at Le lechere the buses were stacking up around the camping cars. Lawr gets out to try to help.
Conversation –
L- bonjour monsieur
Driver – bonsoir
L – j’movie le camping car?
Driver – it’s ok I’m fine here
L – Camping car, here (pointing to be helpful) ici
Driver – I’m only here for3 hours I’m fine goodnight.

Highs- lovely run, relaxing day, tickets changed, money back
Lows- weather not looking good for skiing, referred to van as going back home
Note – Lawr can now communicate in pigeon English and French.
April 15th
So, in morning we went for a walk round le lechere and managed not to buy any tat at the car boot sale. Although the oldie worldly saddle was tempting. Then off up the long road to Val Thoren. Some of the road is really marred as the sky scrapers of the ski resort poke out of the hills sides. We had some trouble finding somewhere to park at VT and it obviously holds some massive secret as we couldn’t get information and when we did it wasn’t true. i.e. places to park and the costs – 25euros a night to parking in a barrier car park next to nothing with no facilities. So we headed down a couple of hairpins and parked in a very fine car park with the lifts 200m away!
So, beer, chocolate and a movie to sooth the frustration of the day.
Highs – lots and lots and lots of snow
Lows – had to empty water tank due to plummeting temperatures
Note – no car park is ever flat and Lawr has a spirit level with him.
April 16th
Cold cold night. More snow with low cloud so we could be anywhere, maybe Russia with the common language in the telecabin this morning. Made an appointment to get health certificate (should have got this from home) as we need it to get into the French sports events! Lawr better get his butt in gear and win his age group due to the hassle this duathlon is causing and costing.
So with a slow ski day and a touch of cabin fever from yesterday’s travelling I gave Law a choice 1. Run to the pool at les menuires, swim, run back. 2. Ski to pool, swim and skin back.
So we had a nice ski down a swim in a heated pool outside then a lovely 50min skin back to the van.
More snow after tea and cannot see 10m from van
Highs – top of lifts
Lows – bottom of lifts
Note – Lawr teaching a wee French kid to put his skis on in the middle of a steep piste, a true international teaching ability (heard a lot of his favourite word and action – ici and pointing)
April 17th
Well woke to sunshine but the mist was rolling in from the valley below us. Tried to get out as quite as possible to get some skiing in the sun, but as my burnt nose will testify the sun stayed out and we skied 9 – 515pm, almost got thrown off the pistes.
Not much more to say – ski, sun, sweat kind of day
Highs – the day
Lows – end of the day
Note – read instructions on the super intelligent, auto setting camera with sweep panoramic otherwise your photos may not be the best they could be.
April 18th
Didn’t look good this am, so had a sleep in and during breakfast the sun came out, so it became a rather rushed meal and we hit the slopes.

Full sun and lots of fresh snow. Lawr was feeling adventurous so he went off the top of the three valley summit, completely ignoring the crevasse warnings. (Wonder where I put the insurance documents this could become a long sabbatical) He was pretty gee’d up when I met him and shot off down another off piste section. I followed and did enjoy the powdery stuff, but as Lawr watched he commented that he had never seen someone snow plough so effectively in powder.
As the day ended we were chased off the piste by the pisty bashers coming out of there sheds like a plague of locust. So I followed one down the slopes and enjoyed a freshly groomed slope.
Back at the van we did a quick change and went for a jogett to Les Menuiers and back, just to prove that we would still be able to run this weekend. Then a quick skin to val thoren for a shower, then back to the van in the dark.
Highs - glorious sunning day, Lawr’s survived his of piste adventure, tackled off piste, van chaud just before last ski down, great run (W) enjoyable run (L).
Lows – lack of oxygen, cramp, coldest night even in van
Note – my husband told me I am ‘easily spotted on the slopes due to my wide base’


April 19th
Snowflakes the size of old 50p was a good sign this morning, but we couldn’t see the car next to us so another cuppy then out on the slopes. The sun came out again.  Fresh snow thickly laid over everthing and no one out there. Legs were a little tired after yesterday’s run, but we had a couple of hours of quite slopes until the post lunch crowds showed up.
Again Lawr went for it and I tried to follow. I definitely have the hand of leaning back. The clouds rolled in again and Law said it was just a wee inversion and we should rise above them. SO off up to 3100m and the sun was out. We had a good ski down. Again, again shouted Lawr and off we went back up. This time the clouds didn’t clear and with visibility down to 5m I should have stayed on the piste, but no, and within 10m I was conducting my first ski search in the power. Excited by the amount of untouched snow Law was undeterred, and as I dragged myself knackered back onto the piste he continued his adventure neatly negotiating two rocks, which turned out to be three. (Update - He is still outside repair the damage). Both fatigued, but happy, back at the van.
Highs - snow, snow snow, found ski in powder, waffles
Lows – wet gloves from falls, rocks, lawr’s lack of input into diary
Note – when taking sparkling water from 1800m to 3100m be careful when opening it.

April 20th
Weather started good about 7am then quickly went pants, so we took the morning for some walking homework in the café. No sooner than we had sat down and started to chat and enjoy the coffee the sun came out so Law packed us up and raced back to the van to change. I joined him for a few hours then admitted defeat about 4pm and headed back for a cuppy in the van. The last I saw of Lawr he was heading past a – Danger Crevasse sign. I sat in the sun reading and wondering if I would manage to explain, in French, the last sighting of my hubby and what he was wearing. Pardon Ms, mawn marie….. But he did make it back much later and my French wasn’t tested (on this occasion). Off to the pool and due to much larking about at the end of the swim, the lady attendant told us in a friendly fashion that the pool was shutting in 5min. The result was I was outside with soaking wet hair that was slowly freezing. Twit.
Back to le lechere.
Highs – warm at le lechere, good snow, emptied loo
Lows – Wend is not applying for downhill ski team, had fire in campervan
Note – went parking to eat and set table ensure van is level as even a small camber can have a devastating effect on a glass jar.

April21st
We think le lechere has been renovated since our last visit and we now have 6 camping car neighbours – none as compact as ours though.
So, off to Albertville to collect maps, guide book for walk. It is all quite exciting and the maps are great.  Visited the patisserie..
Saw the duathlon advertised on the towns info boards. So went off to try to find the animation that was  happening. 

Because Lawr couldn’t just wait back and see what was happening he had to push forward and find himself on centre stage with the mic! And the end result.. see picture.
So he became an international athlete Monsieur Pays de Galles. The organiser took great pleasure in telling us all about the large selection of international athletes who took part last year resulting in some fabulous times. We were really feeling at easy.
So after that we went for a wee look at the cycle. Hmm this duathlon is becoming a bad idea. The roads were very greasy and some wonderful hairpin bends to negotiate.
Daisy, Ermatrude and friends test out the cycle route

Highs – recognition in the fun duathlon
Lows – rain, freaked by cycle section of duathlon
Note - don’t enter an event if you don’t fully understand the standard of athletes and joining instructions.


April 22nd
So it was our big day, duathlon day.
The super sprint that consisted very good athletes was under way at 10am then the kiddes were out and they were very serious.
We wandered over to the registration and tried to understand the instructions given. Met Claire from wales and Simon from England, so we had a truly international field J and Lawr still had a chance of first Welshman.
Long story short, the run was flat and I got dragged along too fast, panting  into transition the cycle was on dry roads, so that was good, but it didn’t allow for a rhythm to be set into and trying to remember to stay on the right side was quite tough. Spent the next run trying to catch Claire, but just didn’t have enough. Lawr had a fast start and had a good cycle on the hills, had cramp in the final run but finished strong up the stairs at the end. I was a bit of a surprise to find out I came 3rd female! And Lawr 3rd vet we think.
Just reaching for some more ibrufen.
The election fever had hit le lechere as we left and they were just packing up as we arrived back.
Highs – race finished, tri suits fits, great organisers at races, got to kiss lots of fit Frenchmen, hot shower
Lows – finish was 1km up hill, trainers smell, Lawr missed the under 2hours by 40secs (should have packed his lacky laces)
Note – due to Lawr wearing his welsh cycle top everyone knew his nationality, even I go labelled as a leek lover..
April 23rd
A bit sore this morning, but it was lovely and sunny so a stretch off walk round le lechere. There was a market on so while I got the veg things, Lawr go side tracked with the saucisson and bought a rather large slice of cheese which he was baffled into buying by a cheeky stall owner. Luckily it was very nice.
Back for brunch and wandered into Albertville. We had a leisurely walk round the finish of yesterday’s race round the historic village of Conflans; on the stairs discussing where the cramp had set in.
We collected the skis from the guy whose shop had tendencies towards a museum. I am sure he must have been an Olympian at one time, but I only had enough French skills to pay the guy and say thanks.
We wondered to the outdoor shop to spend the 50euros from yesterday. Should have been easy but I wanted to share it with Lawr, so after a long look round and so careful calculations we settled on some walking socks and energy bars. And somehow we ended up with 10euros to spare. Had enough shopping so left with the voucher.
Of course a visit to the patisserie and some honey and almond slice.. Washing done, meal cooked and film watched. Almost a normal day.
Highs – relaxing day, 3 weeks (504hours) with Lawr, met friendly dog
Lows – achy, not being able to spend 50euros in outdoor shop.
Note – have been talked into another triathlon (should have used those earplugs)
April 24th
Think it has rained for 40hours now. So fortunate it was dry on Sunday. Back and forward to day get ourselves set for the pistes again.
Stopped on the way up at les menuires to have a swim in the outdoor pool. It was snowing today which really made your arm stroke quicken.
Cleaned and refreshed we have to rush to make the car park before the barrier shuts. An awful lot of snow has fallen the last couple of days  and we struggle to get the van level. Law breaks out his spirit level and we tour the car park in attempt to get on an even keel. It’s not the only things that’s off kilter around here.
Highs – loads of new snow, French new potatoes
Lows – loo seat won’t stay up due to bad van levelling!
Note – Law asked me to reach back to get something to eat from the shopping bags, so I did coming back with chocolate. I don’t fancy chocolate said Law, well it’s the only thing I could reach after I pushed the apples and banana’s out of the way.
AND If you are going to put a sticker in a crèche area make sure you understand the translation – ‘my other ride is your mum’
April 25th
So it was a very cold night and forgot to put up silver screens. Sunny again so put the solar panel back on the roof. It should pump out a hefty 1amp in it stays sunny all day. (it does seem to keep the battery topped up)
The slopes are smothered in snow and no one is out. I feel my legs have been stolen and after a few hours Lawr admits the same. Go back to van for pep up coffee and looks like good timing as two of the chairs have stopped working and the queues have built up.
Lawr eyeing up the off piste
Back on the slopes and the sun is still shining but the wind has picked up and is providing a through face exfoliation. We kept going and I had a long wait at one lift as Millar of Merthyr crashed, landed on his skis then crashed again as his view was obscured by snow in his goggles. A very blowy end to a sunny day.

Highs – snow and plenty of it, sunny, fireworks display seen for van
Lows – stinging face, saw someone rescued on piste
Note – have new gloves with bold gold stitching, elastic for attaching to wrist to prevent losing gloves and a fine wee suede bit to wipe my nose on.
April 26th
The van rocked last night due to very high winds. It was like being on the ferry all over again. On the slopes it was like being in an 80’s disco as the spindrift was whipped up round our feet, like an over active smoke machine.
We sought out some sheltered runs, but the run over to Orelle was spindrift piles and mogul central. What a nightmare. Lawr patiently coaxed me down the minefield and then finished by saying I was not very balanced..(Didn’t ask if that was mental of physical).
To end the day we went for the ski, swim, skin and it was a beautiful journey back up, although Lawr’s squeaky boots detracted a little from the ambiance.
Highs –sun, snow. Outdoor swim
Lows - windy

Note – most holidays with Lawr seem to involve thermals in bed.
SO last day on the skis and Law is a misery guts. I am sure he would ski for the 4 months. We spent then morning doing a tour on th lifts and slopes. The temperature was really warm and so were the winds, even at 2600m. The snow was quite sticky and downhill as my skis stuck and unstuck  I am sure I resembled a scene from a Charlie Chaplin movie. Law went back out and worshipped the high off piste and black runs – the more windswept and steep the better. Apparently the music of choice for any ski god is ‘the bare naked ladies’ ‘if I had a million dollars, I’d ski all year round’, a lesser known version of one of their greatest hits. Back at the van at 6pm, Lawr thrown off the slopes and me back from a run down and up the hill (suppose it could have gone up and down instead)
Dinner by gifted torchlight
Packed up in the hope of getting a short skin tomorrow.
Highs – sunny, warm wind, quiet slopes, entered triathlon, lovely tea made by Lawr
Lows – entered triathlon, last day on slopes
Notes – we seem to be suffering from katabatic wind
April 28th
After another night of ridiculous wind we decided we were lucky still to be in the car park and packed up and headed on the road to Perpinan, via le lechere of course. The weather was heating up quickly and from a cool 7’c at Val Thoren it was now a sweltering 29’c. OMG we were roasting alive. The route we took down the national roads was lovely and we tootled along like proper tourists. We eventually made it to Avignon, no thanks to the satnav. The aire was busy and we had to squeeze our CCC inbetween to mobile houses. Still in shorts and tshirt at 10pm.

Highs – not cold, on second part of trip
Lows – too hot, no final skin/ski
Note – when playing with setting super intelligent camera try not to wipe off all holiday pictures (oops, sorry Lawr)
 
April 29th
So a morning Avignon, a walled city. Very nice, posh and loads of tourists so everything is open even on a Sunday.