Aime la Plagne, French Alps | Ski holiday

This is a trip we’ve been eager to go on since last year August, when we booked it.  We were a big group of friends who decided it would be fun to do a ski holiday together.  When the time came to book for the holiday it was down to four of us who could make it. So we booked, as we weren’t going to turn the opportunity down, and being based in Dubai meant we were fortunate enough to get to the slopes without too much travel time.

The 28th February 2016, 20:00, came quick enough, and we were on the next Emirates flight bound for Geneva, Switzerland.  We were expected to land an hour before Lindsay & AJ, where we would wait for them and get a cab together to the hotel.  But the hotel had already pre booked two separate cabs for us, so we didn’t complain and just got into our smart black ML, starting the second leg of our journey through the Swiss & then French countryside, towards our hotel on top of the French Alps.

The cab driver first dropped us off at the wrong club med hotel, which we were not impressed with at all.  As it was easily -10 outside, and coming from Dubai we obviously had not mentally prepared ourselves for such cold weather. When the workers at the club med 2000 realised we were booked in at their rivalry hotel, they were not very friendly, and didn’t even ask us to wait inside and keep warm, while they sorted out another taxi for us.  After what seemed like forever, a taxi arrived to take us a little further down the mountain towards our Club Med.  The hotel was very cosy and welcoming, the staff were great, even though their english was not great, they still made us feel very welcome.  The rooms were tiny, and very basic, but they were only to sleep in and had all the essentials.  The view from our room looked over the slopes, which was beautiful.

We were so excited to see Linds & Aj, as we miss them terribly living in Dubai.  It was if time had not passed and we picked up from where we left off.  We had unpacked and met up in the bar area for our first glasses of gluhwein.  All our meals were buffet style, made up of all kinds of delicious french cuisine, so we certainly made the most of it.  For families with young children, club med is definitely the way to go! Every day the resort had a different theme for the children, they would dress up accordingly, and even put on skits for the children every evening.  I bet the parents never saw their children until it was bed time.   Once we had drank our gluhwein we set off with Linds & AJ down the hill to the village to go and collect their ski gear.  They were hiring from a place in town and not from the resort. Luckily everything was payed for before the rand took a turn for the worst.  Once they had their ski’s, boots and helmets we made our way back up towards the hotel. Brad and I then got all our ski & snowboarding gear from the hotel and we were all ready for the next day.

On the first day we were put into different ski level groups, the boys went in group B, Snowboarding, and us girls in group 2b ski.  Linds had been skiing before, myself however, only two lessons in Ski Dubai, so I was hoping for the best.  The weather was terrible on our first day but we were very excited and headed out regardless.  I fell countless times, how no bones were broken I do not know! When a man eventually landed on my head, going down the last red slope for the day, I decided that i’d had enough and skiing was not for me.  Every morning we’d go out at 9am until 12pm, get back for a delicious lunch, and then head out again from 14:00 until 17:00.  So it was a long day of skiing.  By the end of day 1, my knees were blue from just twisting.  Brad told me that I’d better drop to the beginners group if I wanted to enjoy it, just to get my technique right.  The others also had a difficult day on the slopes, as it was almost a complete white out, meaning that there was thick mist, snow and wind.  Everything looked white, you could not see the person in front of you and had no perseption of speed or direction…  Never mind the chill factor!  So my first day on the slopes was not a successful one.   The evenings were great, spent at the bar catching up and enjoying each others company.  But by the time 9pm came around, we had hit walls and called it a night.

The next day we had an early breakfast and then kitted up for our second day of skiing.  I went into a smaller group, which was much better and a lot more fun!  Linds was too advanced for me, so she stayed in her group.  Most of the people visiting the resort were locals, so they all spoke French, and very broken English.  So when trying to get instructions from our instructors, it was always a laugh, as there was more hand gesturing than anything else.  Everyone was very friendly and helpful, especially when one came pipe on the slopes, random people would stop and offer to help you up.  On the second evening we headed for the village for some drinks and snacks before dinner time at the hotel. We found a cosy little restaurant, ordered a bottle of red wine, and a mixed cheese & meat platter.  The food was delicious, and so was the wine, although we all decided that the South African wine was far better.

By the third day we knew more or less which slopes were where, and how everything worked, so we decided it would be a good time to hit the slopes together on one of the days.   In the morning we went with our ski groups, but in the afternoon session we headed out together.  It was great excitement as we had planned the route before hand, but took the map with, just incase we got lost.  The boys, being snowboarders, were taken up to the highest peaks and saw the most beautiful scenery, so they wanted to share this with us.  We skied down to the village where an enclosed lift/cable car, took us to the top of the mountain.  The entire time I was thinking, I have to come down this!.  It was another afternoon where it was very misty and snowy, but not as bad as the first day, so it couldn’t be that bad.  Once we got to the top, we made our way to the bar, had gluhwein & beer to warm us up, and then set off down the blue slope towards the village.  The first bit was steap, but Lindsay was a great coach.  Although, if she went 100m in front of me, I could not see her through the mist, so I tried to keep up.  We all made it down safely, and had so much fun going together.  It wasn’t as romantic as we’d hoped it would be as there was no view from up there because of the mist.  So we decided we would do it again when the sun came out.  The run ended at the village, where we had some hot chocolate with rum to warm us up and then waited for the bus to take us back to our hotel.  The ski lifts all closed at 5 so we had to wait for the bus in the thick snow, but while we waited we made snow angels. Linds & I also took to racing on the boys snowboards through the snowed in bus stop. There was never a dull moment!

Our time in France was going too quickly!  Before we knew it, it was our last day at the resort.  We had seven days in total, but they just seemed to disappear so quickly!  The last morning consisted of skiing, and then in the afternoon Linds & I went down to the village to return her ski equipment, and the boys would catch up later.  The afternoon turned into a beautiful day, so Linds and I walked around the village, buying little trinkets for family & friends, and then came across caramel waffles which we couldn’t resist.  After our waffles we needed some more gluhwein and then headed back to the hotel to meet up with the boys.  We had decided that we were going to have dinner in the village at a traditional french restaurant that we had found earlier in the week.  Luckily we had made a booking, as it was packed by the time we had arrived.  We ordered a cheese fondue to share, which was delicious, but very rich after a while, although it was holiday, and its not every day that you go to France, so not much was left to waste. It was a great evening, and by the time we got back to the hotel, it was time for bed and the last bit of packing.

Monday morning we headed for the airport in Geneva.  We had asked to be in the same cab this time, so luckily we were all together for the last few hours.  Geneva’s airport was jam packed with people heading back after work, or holidays, but it was the busiest airport we’d ever been in.  We got there very early which left lots of time for duty free shopping, and just walking around.  Our flight was slightly delayed, which meant we’d be departing around the same time as Linds & AJ.  It was very sad saying goodbye to them, but we know that we will see them again soon before the year is up!

Thanks Linds & AJ for such a special time, and for making life long memories with us, it really does mean the world to us.  We look forward to seeing you guys again in the near future!

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