Monday, 31 December 2012

Au Revoir & Buongiorno!

Today was a travel day. We left the French Alps before 8am for our drive towards Geneva. The drive was pretty but Malcolm found stretches of it stressful because of the snow and the narrow roads. We accidentally ventured into Switzerland and had to pay 40 swiss francs (just under 40 euros) in tolls...The whole family very much enjoyed their $5 per min time on the swiss side...not! We finally crossed over back to the French side, found the french side of the airport and returned our rental car.

Beautiful scenery all around

Snow for about 2/3 of the drive

Long tunnels

Not happy about having to pay nearly $50 for being on one short stretch of motorway!

Geneva airport was not pleasant. The lines to check in was horrendous and took a long time. The food selections were poor and expensive, and the eating area crowded. I was surprised as I thought everything Swiss was efficient. The flight was a necessary evil as it was the cheapest and most time efficient way to get from Valmorel to Venice. To drive would have cost a small fortune in fees and tolls. To catch a train would mean a journey of over 10 hours with 3 changes.

The flight itself was short and uneventful, and it was quick getting out of Venice Marco Polo airport. The children were excited to find Nana and Grandpa waiting for as we exited from baggage claim. We took our pre-booked private water taxi to meet up with our contact for our apartment. I love Italy and I love Venice! Unfortunately, we were taken to the wrong apartment which we only realised AFTER lugging all our suitcases up 1 flight of stairs! We finally arrived at the correct apartment just on 6pm.

We found ourselves some yummy pizza which was surprisingly cheap and delicious! Dinner for all 7 of us including drinks only cost a mere 60 euros, cheaper than the Burger King that we bought at Geneva airport in desperation! Malcolm went for a stroll after dinner to buy provisions. We're ready for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow. Buona sera!

Beautiful day in Venice. Getting into our water taxi

The children loved it!

So happy to see Nana and Grandpa! Walking across Piazza San Marco to our apartment

Wandering the streets looking for food. This one looks good!

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Our Last Day At Valmorel

We all slept in after a very busy 5 days of skiing. It was a relief not to have to get the children to kids club by 830am! The children were very much looking forward to skiing with Daddy. And Daddy was equally keen to validate the children's high assessment of their own skiing abilities...He subsequently discovered that they were telling the truth and could handle the slopes with little difficulty. We were glad that we were able to give them this opportunity to have one week of continuous lessons. It has certainly helped us as adults. Previously only having had one or 2 short lessons at the beginning of ski trips really did not help us learn to ski properly nor improve. I must admit that I did not enjoy the first three days. I was sore, tired and scared! However, I was determined to give it a good go. I needed to know that my dislike was not from poor skills. I was glad that I forced myself to continue as I really did enjoy the last two days.

Another beautiful day to be out skiiing. The ski in and ski out area of the resort

The view from our rooms, one that I will miss

Ready and excited to go skiing with Daddy

I believe she can now ski better than me. Sigh...

The slope turning into the resort where I infamously slid down the steep part  on the right. The children managed. Sigh...

Jonah having a bit of fun in the snow whilst waiting for his siblings
As we had to leave early to ensure that we arrived at Geneva in time for our flight to Venice, we decided to end our skiing just before lunch. The return of skis couldn't be easier. We were told to leave our equipment in our lockers and that they would pick it up for us. It was then time for some shopping, a nap and a swim. We packed, checked in for our flights and enjoyed our last meal at the resort. What a wonderful time we've had here at Club Med Valmorel. It was a great way to end our time in France We're sad to leave but very much looking forward to meeting up with Malcolm's parents tomorrow to begin our Italian adventure.

A trip is never complete without the purchase of merchandise

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The End Of Ski Lessons

Today was the last day of ski lessons. Roland wanted to show us the beautiful mountain and took us skiing along a most picturesque route amongst the trees in the morning, as well as a spot of off piste skiing. This lulled me into a false sense of security. My near death experiences of the day came in the form of moguls and ski jumps in the afternoon. My thighs just burned at the end of the day.

Blue skies and powder everywhere. Great day to be on the slopes

One of the pretty paths we skied on

Going back up the mountain to head back to the resort

Mr "On Y Va"

The rest of the day was a blur as everyone was exhausted from 5 days of skiing. Lara and Elliot went on a snake gliss with Malcolm. It is akin to the craziness of a banana boat on snow. The children received their ski certificates and it was off to dinner at the specialty restaurant.

Ceremony for the children

Dining at the specialty restaurant

Entree. Duck salad

Stone grill


Friday, 28 December 2012

Happy Birthday Elliot!

This is a rather belated post due to a certain mother's inebriation last night. Although I insist that it was all Malcolm's fault...

The cake that Club Med organised for Elliot. Merangue with coconut base and white chocolate. It was a nice cake and I would have eaten more if I wasn't feeling so ill...

Elliot chose to go to ski class for the whole day on his birthday as he was going to be taken to ski on the "big" slopes. We later found out that Lara also went to the mountain to ski and both successfully manoeuvred the run that I fell down several times on. Sigh...

I pushed past my fear, the pain and the tiredness and went to ski lessons again. Weather conditions was very different today with visibility of only 4 to 5 metres in front of you. I was told to be brave, be confident and on y va! Arghh!!! So easy if one was able to turn left, but unfortunately that wasn't me. I took the afternoon off to relieve my sore muscles. Stretches in the pool, a stint in the steam room and a hot shower helped.

The children put their gear on inside, then wait until their name is called. The  4-5 staff then find the matching skis and put them on and they're off onto the magic carpet

There's a familiar face...

The "polite" boy having just finished his ski down hill

At our now regular visit to the bar in the late afternoon, I foolishly accepted a cocktail rather than my usual mocktail in celebration of Elliot's Birthday. Perhaps I was subconsciously trying to forget that it had been 10 years since we first welcomed our first child into this world. How quickly those precious 10 years have flown by. Not long after the cocktail, I started to feel ill, developed palpitations and became short of breath. I managed to hang on until Elliot had his cake but crashed very soon after that!

The offending Strawberry colada

The children thought it was special to have a mocktail each


Duck with pear


Happy Birthday Elliot! 
Young Jonah didn't wish to go to ski class or kids club today so Malcolm and I had to take turns to go to ski lessons. He had the pleasure of going for a walk with Jonah and I went to the morning session. The weather was again against us. Malcolm had got some snow shoes for his walk but unfortunately there was none small enough to fit Jonah's feet. The snow was so soft and deep then Jonah was sinking to his thighs. Malcolm had to carry him on his shoulders. Meanwhile at the top, the winds were blowing like crazy. Although there was good snow as there had been heavy snowfall, skiing was difficult and painful! Malcolm unfortunately missed out on skiing as the lifts were closed after lunch. We borrowed some equipment from the mini club and had some fun right outside the resort instead. As I type, Lara and Elliot are performing with the rest of the children from the kids club. Let's hope Malcolm takes some good footage!

"I'm a ninja". Yep, that's what you become when you wear your ski helmet back to front

Sledding on the slopes

On y va!

Dinner as usual is delicious and elegant

The best chicken schnitzel ever, cooked fresh in front me

Thursday, 27 December 2012


Dear all,

Apologies. There will be no blog today. I gave Belinda a strawberry colada and she fell straight asleep. Not quite the effect I was after!


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas

On this special day as we celebrated the birth of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, we were reminded of how blessed we were. Firstly to have God send his only son to die for us and give us hope, but also for the opportunity to be where we are right now.

It did feel a little bit strange to celebrate without any of our family or friends but it was a wonderful day nonetheless. With muscles aching, we braved the slopes again. However, I do not wish to hear "on y va" ever again! It appeared that everytime that phrase is uttered, I was forced to do something that scared the living daylights out of me. Roland thought we should practice some "speed" today, so he picked a slope and told us to ski straight down with skis parallel and no turns. On y va. No time to think. GO! NO! The feeling was not pleasant. He then decided that we were good enough to attempt parts of a red piste. On y va. Again no time to think! I really thought I was going to die...Perhaps skiing is not for me. He kindly told us that we had made big improvements in 2 days. Umm...thanks. But no more "on y va" please! I made a most graceful entrance into the ski in area of the resort on my behind as one ski came off in a most spectacular tumble and slid all the way down without me. With that, I decided to call it a day.

Malcolm and I enjoyed our children free lunch, watched the children ski and had a nap. Bliss. Malcolm then met up with the children's ski instructors for a progress report. We were told that Jonah was very polite. Really?!?! Lara is doing well and Elliot will be going on the real slopes tomorrow. The rest of the day was spent enjoying time together as a family, playing with the children with their presents, treating ourselves to the Christmas festivities and having yet another wonderful meal. It was a feast of oysters, crayfish, different types of fish, prawns, mussels, and much much more. We discovered that Jonah loves oysters!

A beautiful Christmas morning. The resort from the other side of the mountain

A surprise on the way to breakfast with a present for each child to go!

Wowing everybody with great fashion sense not...bright pink and neon green

Lara on the magic carpet

Elliot excited about going on the "big" hill tomorrow

A special Christmas snack offering

A mocktail or hand

Fairy floss and other goodies before dinner. Only on Christmas day

Opening Christmas presents

Lara loved what she got from Club Med

Wearing her creation proudly
A new wig to add to the collection

Elliot's present from Club Med

Jonah wasn't too fussed with his...might help him with his french though!

More interested in what Daddy bought him

Not sure who Maloclm bought the present for...


Dinner's theme was "Ocean Perfumes" so it was mostly seafood. Awesome