The last fortnight has flown by, with 5 airports in as many days during the first week! So much for slowing down……
The first stop was a brief 48 hours in Spain to finalise everything there & get the house up for sale. I managed to squeeze in a couple of great evenings out with two of the wonderful people who helped my Parents and I all the way to the end. They know who they are, & I cant thank them enough. Here’s to a brighter future for us all hey!
The plane home from Spain was unfortunately Easyjet. It never ceases to amaze me how poor the service is. We landed 10 minutes early at 1am only to be told we would have to wait on board 20 minutes while they “found’ some steps. Well unless they were looking for the pop band I would have hoped they could find some fairly sharpish on an AIRPORT runway…
We finally got off the plane half an hour later. No apology, no explanation. Back to BA for sure in future. Lesson learnt!!
After 5 hours sleep i dragged my bleary eyed self off to Yoga. As always, after an hour of that I felt amazing. Mind, body & soul all regenerated. So off home to do all the washing & repack! Why? Well I am off to the Alps to a very kind friends ski chalet for a week in Chatel with my partner in crime for this week. A week of fresh air, walks, rose & cheese. The simple things in life. Both of us needed that!
Friday morning and off to Heathrow my favourite airport. I know some of you disagree, but T5 works. Its efficient, speedy, & i love it. Although we are only flying to Geneva which is a mere 1hr and 15 minutes away, we are flying business. Why? Well for £20 more i get lounge access & priority security clearance and fast track luggage arrival. Worth every single penny.
On board the wonderful stewards try to ply us with champagne and food. We stay sober (only because I need to drive) so they even give us bottles to take away with us. We disembark happy and clunking along with our mini champas & kettle chips. Thanks BA!!
Now for the tricky bit i have been dreading. Driving from Geneva to Chatel up a mountain. My experience of driving abroad on the other side is limited to Spain which is pretty traffic free, so this should be interesting! Avis give us a Vauxhall Astra turbo. The make of car I dislike the most in the world is Vauxhall. My Mum used to have to drive one for work, and I have had hire cars since that are Corsas and they are shockingly difficult Cars. Heavy steering, rubbish gear boxes, but im willing to give it a try. Open mind and all that!
Geneva isn’t too tricky to navigate due to the large quantity of traffic lights, pedestrian crossings every 100 metres and speed cameras! Allow lots of time to get around the town! However, the views of Lake Geneva & the picturesque countryside are more than enough to keep me & my companion amused. Along with some hilarious road names & signs… Well, if you call an area Melon what do you expect!!
As we wind our way round the clear roads, we reach the beginning of our mountain ascent where it takes about 2 minutes to realise how poor this car is. You cant actually see to turn left due to a ridiculous design that had a huge piece of plastic blocking your view – the ‘turbo design’. Well, I would like to be able to see fort then worry about the aesthetics after!! Ffs. So at every bend to the left I was having to lean forward to see round the windscreen or my poor passenger was having to assist!!! We carried on up the road slowly, and at the second tight corner a huge coach just flies round without looking. Misses us by centimetres! Well at least the brakes work!! Not the best start…..
The car did not improve when it came to refuelling. Now, most cars have on the inside of the petrol flap what fuel should be put in. Oh no, not this one. Was it in the manual? Noooo, why that would be too helpful. So after ringing Avis several times, we finally got to know its petrol. Vauxhall, you really are as bad as you always were!
The only good thing about the car was the most excellent Sat Nav. Mrs Sat as she became known, although she does need to work on her pronunciation & her definition of a slight right or left turn…… but she got us to our chalet safely – and what a beautiful chalet it was. Of course the view was spectacular, but the chalet itself is a stunner. It has all the mod cons, hot tub overlooking the mountains, sauna, beautiful decor & for me the piece de resistance – the master bedroom. A magnificent view over the Alps looking down onto Chatel, which I would just lay in bed staring at! Night or day the view is spellbinding. With a private balcony I would sit and gaze into the mountains, and i could literally feel every little bit of worry & stress leave me. What a totes amazeballs place.
Both of us needed a chilled out time, especially my hard working guest. So, our 5 days consisted of walks into town, shopping, eating good food & drinking some very good wine. (Only 1 night of excess!, I know, progress hey!)
We even managed a few day trips to Yvoire, Evian, & across the wonderful Lake Geneva to Laussan in Switzerland for a brief wander & a look at the Olympic Museum (great fun if you are ever there). We also had time for a cheeky ice cream stop – mainly because I cant seem to be able to read a ferry timetable correctly.. but it all turned out ok!! (Sorry T)!
Obviously we were in Chatel out of season, so a lot of places were shut which was not an issue. But it was highly entertaining to see how all shops close at 12 till 2.30 for lunch. Even the large supermarkets. We always seemed to mis time it, but no harm done, just a good old giggle and another coffee!!
It was interesting to see the lifestyle though. The 2 hour lunch breaks and how vermently that is adhered to.
The thing that struck us was was the simplicity of everything. Simple food – cheese, meats, bread, fish, wine. And how healthy everyone is from walking, running, but from being outdoors. It certainly made me think about how our lives can get so tangled up we do not get time to or notice the beautiful thing around us. Why it takes us all to go away to another country to wind down
Sometimes you need that distance, but we all need to start taking more breaks, nearer to home, shorter periods but equally regenerative.
The main thing i realised is how important taking regular holidays is. I am not very good at that even when life isn’t throwing up its daily challenges & testing times. I seem to think the place will fall apart without me. How arrogant of me!! Thats what your work mates and colleagues are for, to take the strain when you are recharging, and then you return the favour for them. I can understand why some Companies enforce a minimum holiday break to be taken-we all know how it recharges us, but we get so caught up in our jobs & loves we forget that feeling. Even just a long weekend being at home with the laptop away & the evil red light of the blackberry switched off – YES SWITCHED OFF – is enough for us to feel better. I guess the moral is the big wheel of anyones work does not stop turning without us.
Don’t let life pass you buy, work and no play! You are not here for half as long as you think, so get out there, have those crazy evenings with special people, get your exercise in and good food, take those long weekends away to be selfish and restore yourself – your friends, families and colleagues will thank you for it!!
But just do not hire a bloody Vauxhall to drive up a mountain………
Time to go, off to yoga then I need to pack again for a special weekend with my girls celebrating one of the crew’s beautiful wedding day. Too excited!! Now, I hope my dress fits post cheese eating! See you all in a fortnight!!!!