Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Grand Alpine Tour

Have spent the last couple of weeks mooching around various parts of the Alps (in between office stints, of course). Highlight definitely the skidoo trips up to one of our snow-bound hotels at Morzine. If you've never been on a skidoo carrying FOUR passengers and driven by a manic Frenchman, I highly recommend it. Was scary as hell, but lots of fun! We got slightly airborne at times, I swear. Not too shabby when you think people pay to do these sorts of things. If you, like my Mum, don't know what a skidoo is, here you go:

Lowlight was the trip down to Alpe d'Huez on Friday. A trip which took about 3 1/2 hours on the return leg on Tuesday took, with various stops and detours, 8 hours on Friday. I just kept thinking "if I set out from Cham, what kind of fun places could I have driven to in 8 hours??" Add in the creepy driver and the fact that I was in the back (which was a blessing thanks to creepy driver, but rather dull and nausea-inducing) and you have one hell of a crappy day.

Things only got better at Alpe d'Huez - I thought I was there until Sunday, but no, turns out I was there till Tuesday - nice to know - and had to attend a three-day management course, why? It wasn't too bad as it happens, and the food was good (and free!) but would have enjoyed a weekend out on the piss still more!

Alpe d'Huez itself was quite nice - and very high up - 1850 metres! Most days we were above the clouds, looking longingly out of the dining room moments at the mountain peaks peeping out above the clouds. The road up there is something else - I pity the fools on the Tour de France coming up here:

On the way down, a helicopter was flying down from the mountain to deliver concrete or something to a truck on the side of the road - it was amazing seeing it coming in that low, dropping off its load and flying up again, over and over again.

Apart from that, nothing's new except the pile of work on my desk I came back to! Am having tomorrow off so catch you all later.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All the news that's fit to print

Chamonix was blessed with snow last week, and today I made the most of it by finding a park out of town and frolicking in the snow... by myself like a loser, but hey. I even made a snow angel (leaping into the snow and waving your arms and legs about, for the uninitiated). This made me a wee bit cold, but as I walked out of my apartment thinking "it's warm this afternoon" (temperature = 1 degree according to the post office, as opposed to a frosty -7 when I was walking home at 1 am last night) it wasn't too bad. Everything is so beautiful, all sparkly and white (if you don't look at the grey/brown mush on the pavements, that is...) and snow's so much fun! Mum says she doesn't understand why I like it, but frankly I don't see what's not to like. Apart from the constant puddles by the door in my apartment, unfortunately I am unprovided with a mop to deal to them either. Apart from the snow at street level, you can already really see the difference in the mountains from when I arrived a month ago. They were pretty much bare (apart from Mt Blanc), and while they're not entirely white, you can now see veins of snow settling down in the valleys and crevasses running like white rivers down the mountain sides and settling on the peaks.

Apart from my snowy ramble, haven't been up to a great deal this weekend. Friday night I had the crew round to my apartment for pre-outing drinkies, which was fun, then we went to the (seasonal) opening of a bar, which was average but full of people I know so fun enough. Yesterday I headed round to the chalet to hang out with my mates - we had a kitchen disco complete with podiums (chairs) strobe lights (someone flicking the lightswitch on and off) and house music, lots of fun. There was also 'drinking Jenga' - Josh had actually customised a Jenga set with drinking game instructions on every block, class! I'm just glad I didn't have to drink the jug as reward for knocking over the tower - that was poor Fi's fate. We were going to go out, but everyone lost steam a little bit and we ended up gathered round the laptop watching Father Ted - not a bad Saturday night.

In other news, most people who actually bother reading the blog these days are probably appraised that I'm not loving my job. Going to have chats with one of my bosses on Monday so we'll see how that goes... Otherwise there's an unconfirmed possibility of moving to Poland and working in a public library. Will keep you posted.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Country no. 13, come on down!

Finally, I've been to Italy! Hurrah! It was to Tiana's old stomping ground, Turin, for only about 5 hours on Saturday, but still, it was Italy and it was cool. With that much time, we didn't do a lot, but we ate pasta (mmmm gnocchi) followed in the afternoon by gelatos (mmm tartufo) and then picked up a couple of slices of delish spicy sausage and goats cheese pizza to go on the way home. And we stopped in a supermarket where I got some yum Baci chocolate. So, yeah, it was all about food and I spent an absolute ton with nothing to show for it but a bigger belly, but it was worth it! Wandering around the city a bit was also fun - it wasn't spectacular, but it was pretty and there were some nice squares and particularly some interesting things in the way of street decorations - a couple of places with things suspended above the street, hanging down, which were really cool. It was also a lovely warm sunny day and a fun 2 hour roadtrip each way, although thanks to being out the previous evening to the wee small hours I did fall asleep on the way back.

Fri and Sat nights were also good, lots of drinking and dancing and talking to Frenchies. I was also the victim of a straw attack - evidently if you melt the ends of straws you can attach them to people's bums without them noticing. Apparently he managed to get 9 on my arse (obviously it's HUGE)before I twigged. This is fun when you see it done to others, not so much when it's your bum being victimized! Note for anyone trying this at home - apparently only to be attempted with jeans, unless you want to burn a hole in people's pants.

Sunday was devoted to lounging around in bed reading the paper, excellent! Oh, and receiving delivery of my fridge and microwave, yes! I even tied up the flat and did some laundry so go me.

Tomorrow I'm out of the office all day - thankfully because today was another nightmare busy one (caused in part by Friday's day-long IKEA trip, which of course means Wednesday will be even busier! arrgh!) roadtripping it to Albertville (again) and also Val d'Isere, where I've not been and I will have some time to mooch about by myself and see whatever sights there are to see since I have about 10 mins' work to do there and the girl I'll be with has to meet with people, hurrah!