Trip Start Dec 10, 2012
Trip End Jan 12, 2012

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Flag of France  , Rhone-Alpes,
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I've lost track of what day it is which is a lovely feeling. New Year's Day was spent mostly in our pyjamas watching the various productions from Cirque du soleil, eating leftovers, watching it snow outside and getting and giving lots of cuddles.

Daniel went for an afternoon walk and discovered an old barn which he claims he wants to renovate (thanks Kevin McCloud/grand designs) now convinced he lived here in a past life. Sounds weird, but we do both have a very strong sense of 'place' or belonging here. Maybe it's that vacationer's romance or reverie one enjoys when you find yourself in a beautiful place with nothing to do except enjoy the best of it. We're thinking about how to plan for retirement here!

After such a restful, lazy day and a fitful night's sleep I woke the troops early (9am) to hurry them down to breakfast to prepare for some skiing activity. It was a beautiful morning and the sun was shining on the fresh snow. After all the cheese I've eaten lately, I was relieved to find I still fit into my ski pants.

We jumped in the car and drove maybe 3 minutes up to the village and rented some boots and skis for Daniel and Alexandra (about $30 for the lot including a helmet for Alexandra) and then walked another 2 minutes to the telecabine to take us up to the summit. Lift tickets for all us (Saskia and I not skiing) about $50 in total. It could not have been any easier (or cheaper).

Given our last Buller experience, which was a lot of effort with little reward for Saskia, we decided that Saskia and I would stick to tobogganing today so that she'd come to have a more positive association with 'skiing'. She loves the snow and is constantly looking for a nice deep patch to throw herself into. Tobogganing was lots of fun, and we found a nice, steep slope to toboggan down. We went up and down our little mountain perhaps a dozen times before I decided that her red cheeks and frozen hair probably needed a little warming up and we headed inside for an early lunch.

We had planned to get Alexandra into ski school but upon arrival discovered that you had to enrol at the beginning of the week, and could not enter mid-week. Daniel decided to take her skiing instead and they headed off by themselves for a few hours. I am told that she is progressing beautifully, snow plowing gracefully down a long, decent green run.

Eventually Alexandra and Daniel joined us for a hearty lunch which again, was good quality and cheap. I had a delicious roast chicken with pasta and vegetables, all for under $10. The girls had sausages and chips and ice-cream. Not so healthy but exactly what they needed to give them energy to keep going for a little bit more.

After lunch the fog had rolled in so after a few more toboggan runs I took the girls home and left Daniel to do some skiing by himself. The fog only became heavier so he skied for about another hour and then walked home by himself.

Saskia needed a sleep which gave me the perfect excuse to have a lay down too (after a nice hot bath). As I lay down I had that very pleasant 'exhausted but happy' feeling. I've now woken, about an hour later, thoughts turning to dinner.

I hope to get some more skiing in in the week we have left. I am told things will be quiet from Saturday (not that is too busy- I didn't have to queue) when the families leave in order to get their kids back to school. I'll definitely be on the skis, and Saskia has confirmed just now that she's keen to get on the skis too. That is something we all look forward to - I can't wait for the day when we can all literally ski together as a family.
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Leonie on

These photos are some of my favorites! Especially the last one of the two girls on the chairlift? I think? What an amazing sight - all that snow! Poor Australia at the moment - we are in the grips of fire storms, bush fires and some significant devastation in places around Tasmania and NSW - also parts of SW Victoria around Warnambool. Sydney today is 43 degrees and Melbourne last week got to 42 degrees. Far too hot - the only option being indoors or in the car or visiting a shopping centre, with this kind of heat. The absolute antithesis of what you are experiencing right now! I can see ahead that little Saskia is on skis; how exciting for the family and for her. She's doing so well for a little one!

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