•• if you are in Chamonix want really excellent food, like the Swedish accent and don't mind some pretty heavy beats then you could do a lot worse than the Hotel Gustavia.
Returning to the skiing - I am not a natural. I am dyspraxic (a long blog post to follow about this at some point) and instinctively very cautious, but I love the mountains, the feeling of complete solitude and oneness with your surroundings and the physical exertion that skiing offers. I have therefore put quite a lot of effort into mastering the basics of skiing. I ended last years holiday competently (but slowly) skiing red runs.
My skiing this holiday had its ups and downs. On day one I was very shaky and nervous but after a few hours with a very lovely (and terrifyingly young) French ski instructor (Luc) I had my ski-legs back. Sam and I spent the rest of the holiday skiing together and were comfortably skiing red runs (and even one black run!!!) by the end of the holiday. Despite a few falls, I even sped up a little and grew considerably more confident, thanks to my husband's unending patience.
For me the highlights of the trip were threefold:
- Le Tour - Chamonix is a ski-resort made up of several smaller resorts, Le Tour was my favourite of these. It has lovely wide runs, gorgeous views and was drenched in glorious sunshine the day we went.
- Verbier - Sam and I purchased 'Mont Blanc Unlimited' ski passes and these give you a day's access to beautiful Verbier (an hour and a half from Chamonix, over the Swiss border). I had injured my knee in a fall the day before and was a little nervous about Verbier but I shouldn't have been. It is as close to heaven as a ski resort comes: beautiful crisp pistes, an incredible network of lifts, great snow and the best tartiflette I have ever tasted, accessed by a whimsical winding little run. The Tombses will be back!!
- Valentines Day - the last day of our ski trip was Valentines day and we had already returned our skis to the hire company. We made the very most of our last few hours in Chamonix though with lunch at Hameau Albert 1er, a 2 Michelin Star restaurant. It was the perfect contrast to a week of meals at the Hotel Gustavia. I have never been to a really 'fancy' French restaurant in France before and I could certainly get used to it. The service was impeccable - in spite of the fact we were only there for their very reasonably priced set lunch, they made us feel very special. - and the food was delightful: perfectly cooked rich little morsels including a delicious lobster terrine And the cheese trolley - oh, the cheese trolley ... A perfect end to a very happy week of sun and snow.