Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Ski ski, roadtrip
After approximately 15 years I found myself on the ski slopes again. We were on a trial skiing holiday in the French Alps. Could this become a new family tradition? Others seem to like it.
All I can say is, I am glad a holiday is not rated on the basis of the first two days.
Lost in translation, we fumbled our way through. How did all this work again? And why do we need so much stuff?
The roadtrip down started slow, Rosie asking if we were there, every thirty minutes. At eight p.m, our intended stopping time, we had not yet managed to get through the Benelux, so we drove on. The roads were empty after everyone else had retired for the night, the crumbs of our running evening-meal-sandwiches dispersed through the car, the music louder, the beat stronger.
We felt good when we got the last room at a hotel on the edge of the industrial zone in Dijon- north, at 1 am in the morning. They turned others away that were barely behind us. We were not sure if the green hue in the room was actually in the walls or came from the atmospheric lighting, but we were glad to have it.
Driving into Val d'Isere at 4 of the next afternoon, Allard accused me of not being able to map read. My defense is that we were moving, and it was the unclearest map ever presented. Also he did not listen to my instructions as he was talking too loudly, trying to prove his point.
So, with that tradition out of the way, we entered our 30 m2 abode, the smoke from the previous occupants still so thick we had to wrestle our way in. The children opened doors and cupboards trying to find more space but found none. They did find the beds tucked away behind the kitchen drawers.
That night I found myself on a mattress under a single blanket on the floor, near a drafty window, sucking in the ashtray air, wondering why I had let myself be talked into this.
The next day we traipsed past the skiing schools with reluctant children trying to book a week of lessons for them. Everything was fully booked. Lunch then? We did not have a reservation. Val d'Isere was not holding out its arms to us.
To cut it short, we found the lessons, we made a reservation at the creperie for the next day and when we left the windows open for a bit, the smokey air in our apartment drifted away. My bed on the floor had legs that folded out.
And a small space proved excellent for i-pad sing-alongs.
Morning and evening, after a day in the snow we sang to this song.
Just try getting that out of your head after a listen or two.
You are welcome to sing along. Loud now.
Oh, let's get rich and buy our parents homes in the South of France
let's get rich and give everybody nice sweaters
and teach them how to dance
let's get rich and build our house on a mountain
making everybody look like ants
from way up there, you and I, you and I, you and I,
We are available for family performances.
And the skiing? We had hoped that a bizarre genetic mutation had taken place at conception and our children would take to the slopes like naturals athletes. Unfortunately this was not the case. Rosie got demoted from the five year old starter class to the four year old starter class after day one, but was happy for it, and Jip, who was so excited to be snowboarding, felt the pressure mount daily, to make a turn. On the last day, last slope, he made four good ones and we have never seen him so pleased with himself. Both want to go back, and even I must admit that I liked to be on the skis, even with a rented egg helmet on my head.