Friday, March 27, 2009

Learning to Ski!!!

Last Saturday, I finally went skiing for the first time!

View at Les Contamines-Montjoie
(N.B. I did not ski on these advanced slopes shown in the video lol, but did enjoy recording anyway!)

Actually, one of the associations at my university organised a Journée Glisse, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out! 25€ included transport to and from Les Contamines-Montjoie in Haute Savoie (which entailed reaching the university at 7am to get the arranged bus), and lunch (or pique-nique as it was called) and some light snacks in the afternoon. I rented ski equipment (skis, boots, and poles) separately for 15.30€.

I must say that a lot of people were very helpful (merci beaucoup!!!), e.g. one friend lent me ski clothes, another taught me how to ski and let me sleep over by her after the trip (no buses after 8pm, remember!), and one of the teachers at my school lent me a pair of sunglasses to combat the snow & sun combination!

To be honest, I had ups and downs that day:
Walking what felt like at least 400m in ski boots on the side of the road to reach the ski station (not fun, lol), learning how to ski (fun), not knowing I was supposed to let go of the ride thingy and bouncing into the protective cord barrier which saved me from falling down a mountain (not fun, but at least I didn't die so I probably shouldn't complain lol), falling on my side on the snow (not fun but bearable), learning how to stop/brake (the fun really began!!!), sunshine!! (fun), lovely views (fun), waiting an hour in the cold after skiing (not fun!! I was just too tired and tooooo cold, to the point that I was unable to laugh at the students' sumo wrestling competition, and eventually just made my way to the bus!! (fun! lol). I was much better then, and especially after I took a nap on our way back to Chambéry.)
I'd like to give skiing another try!

Alright, time for some pictures!! Enjoy :-)

Alaska Store - rental of ski equipement. Such a cute town!

Heavy ski boots next to skis ... yes I was relaxing on the snow

I skied down the little slope to the left of the building)

The ride was fun! (left of the pic)

Cool... clearly I did not ski here! lol

Pretty!! Doesn't it make you want to ski?!


That ride again!

So much snow!

P.S. Three students from a high school here in La Motte-Servolex and their guide, died earlier this month in an avalanche at a different ski resort. Quite sad indeed, and a reminder that we're never 100% safe.

Time is flying!

It seems as though March is going by so quickly!
Here's a recap of some things I haven't had time to blog about.

Uni has me much busier than last semester, however, on the upside I feel more like a student :-)
Working (i.e. my teaching timetable) took away from those simple uni experiences like getting to know people, which I pretty much missed out on last semester but things have taken a positive turn this year.

Teaching is going fine, although I'm still impatiently awaiting my vacances scolaires! (one week to go!)

I didn't go cycling since my first ski trip last weekend mainly because of the not-too-fantastic weather this week, and also because I wanted to give my legs a rest! Oh yeah, sometimes it's easier to just take the bus than cycle for 30 minutes in the cold! lol

Well, at least the weekend is finally here!!! :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Spring!!!

Well it isn't officially Spring as yet, but the weather sure is great! :-)
For example: I no longer need to wear a coat; I even turned off my heating and opened the windows for some cool breeze (though the heating is back on now, but on a lower setting); and there are lots of people up and about cycling, jogging, rollerblading, etc!

View from my window. Sunny day, blue sky!
(This pic was taken 2 weeks ago!!)

Yesterday was particularly sunny and warm (around 18°C, could be higher) and I thought it would be a shame to stay in my apartment for the day! As a result, I rented a bike!!! Yayyyy, finally!!!

Voici mon vélo! I rented it from the Vélostation

Aujourd'hui, ça fait six mois depuis mon arrivée en France! and I continue to really enjoy it here :-) Today I did a bit of work for uni and teaching, then hopped on my vélo and cycled to Lac du Bourget! Gotta love cycle paths, especially the Avenue Verte!!
Here are some picture highlights from today:

Lac du Bourget

Mountains, green grass, sunshine!

Alongside the Avenue Verte: a river leading to the Lac du Bourget

The Avenue Verte! I'll be cycling here again!

Oh look! A Statue of Liberty behind a building next to the Avenue Verte