Chamonix

Almost forgot to mention that we went skiing earlier this year in France, to the glorious Alps, back in March, for a week, and it was fabulous! I had a lot of fun with Maz and Ben and the whole crew, we hired a chalet and it was a blast, although having not been for a fair few years I had conveniently forgotten how painful snowboarding is! And just how physically demanding the whole holiday is, using one’s body in such an active way for hours on end, and day after day, without a break, is not what we’re used to these days, unfortunately. I usually spend at least 8 hours a day sat at a desk, and I can only imagine what harm it is doing to our bodies long term. It’s great to push oneself and this certainly does that, there is no better way to do so!

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Getting out on the slopes was a wonderful feeling and quite a change, so refreshing, to be in such stunning scenery and surrounding, spectacular views every way you looked. I was excited to wake up and fully appreciated not being in my flat back in London, with my usual commute to look forward to and endless work to face. Instead we had fresh mountain air, unspoilt natural beauty and we were lucky to have blue skies sun for pretty much every day we were there (but still with enough snow on the mountains to keep is entertained!) a perfect, if somewhat perplexing, combination.

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Maz and I snowboarded for 3 days and then skied for 3 days (something I hadn’t done since I was a young’un!), but it was wonderful doing it together, I definitely find the experience more challenging but rewarding when in a group. We were blessed with the presence of my brother and his girlfriend who popped along over from Bordeaux to join us for a weekend, and that was great, a second siblings holiday in less than a year, we’re on a roll – I hope we keep it up!

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Chamonix was beautiful, none of us had been there before but we’d most certainly go back. The valley was so picturesque, and provided a wide range of activites, if more often than not challenging, slopes and various areas to explore, each day you can go to a different part, the train down to Les Houches was particularly nice. And the town of Chamonix itself rather quaint and unspoilt, for such a well known/famous location it was a pleasant surprise.

Oh and here’s a compulsory reflection in googles shot!

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Also we couldn’t get over how quiet it was, normally you have to queue for a while to get on buses or lifts etc but all week we hardly had to wait. We did go towards the end of the season admittedly but for us it couldn’t have been better, for all the right reasons.

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And I have to mention the glacier here, it is most spectacular, the Mer de Glace is 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) long and 200 metres (660 ft) deep, it is the longest glacier in France. We made a special trip to see it, and to go inside the ice caves they carve into it every year. They have to re-carve them as the glacier moves so much over the year, around 90-120m, or 1cm an hour which sounds crazy.

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The ice was amazing, it might seem strange to say that it was almost easy to overlook the glacier from the view above, you don’t fully understand what lies beneath the surface, until you get to venture inside, see the ice extend into the depths and darkness, the ongoing solid, spectacular unstoppable force of nature, it was truly humbling.

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Chamonix

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