Thursday, 7 January 2010

On coming home in one piece.

For weeks leading to Christmas and new year, I have been fretting endlessly that somebody in the family might break a bone before the end of the year 2009.

We were booked on a skiing trip to celebrate the New Year in Andorra, a beautiful country wedged between France and Spain.

Instead of looking forward to the holiday and to skiing for the first time in my life, I found myself worrying about every possible aspect there is to worry about, the dog, the danger of the sport, packing, timing to the airport...... yada yada yada.

So Christmas was celebrated with Steve's family with lots of lovely, lovely food, fantastic pressies and lazy Christmas telly. And before bedtime, there was a frenzy of packing and getting all the travel documents ready and making sure the weather condition was fine for us to drive up north to catch our flight to Girona.

Then came boxing day, and one by one, the 'to do list' was ticked accordingly.

::Take Sasha round to my colleague's so that she can be looked after while we were gone... CHECK

::Collect rental car from the airport and get the luggage packed in...CHECK

::Getting luggage FINALLY packed with all the winter gear... CHECK

::Making sure we don't leave anything on in the house that might set the house on fire while we were gone....CHECK

And finally, at 12pm we were on our way to the East Midland Airport to catch our 7pm flight.

As soon as we landed in Girona at close to 11pm, our journey has not stopped. There we picked up another hired car, and Steve started driving, in the dark, in a foreign country, in very icy and cold condition, on the other side of the road, up the mountain, heading towards Arinsal in Andorra which was more than 3 hours away.

By the time we got to our destination, it was almost 4am and we were all tired and exhausted.

The next morning, in order to make our week-long skiing trip worthwhile, we were 'ushered' and 'herded' out of our rented accommodation like a bunch of moo-cows (against our will) as early as it was humanely possible by Steve's brother so that we would get started with buying our week-long ski pass, and renting our ski gear and securing a locker room... etc.

One precious lesson learnt was that skiing in itself was not at all tiring or physically demanding.... it was the pre-skiing 'rituals' that tire you out...
First you have to get yourself all nicely 'wrapped' up for the weather condition up at the mountain top.. which means, thermal vest, and then a ski-top, a fleece and then your ski jacket.... longjohn, and then your sellopads, and thermal socks, and hat and gloves and ski goggles and in some cases, a scarf.

Second, you walk to the ski lift, hop on the ski lift which will take you to the top where you proceed to your locker room to collect your ski gear.

Third, ski gear consists of a pair of 'Robocop' boots, which makes it extremely awkward and difficult to walk around in. And then with the ski boots on, you have to carry your skis and your poles on your shoulder.

Fourth, to make it more challenging, they have decided to put in lots and lots of slippery stairs made from metal leading from the locker, to the actual place where you can eventually start skiing.

So by the time we reached the top, and have our boots properly clipped on, I was sweaty, exhausted and was ready to put my feet up and call it a day.

The first day was difficult. Although we signed up for a lesson on that first day, the language barrier (instructor was Spanish so she, at one time referred to the toe as the 'finger'.. and she said 'to control your skis, you must know how to use your big finger....hmmm), exhaustion, tiredness and frustration took the better of me and the next day by lunch time I was ready to quit skiing.

But I'm glad I did not because after falling down countless times, and performing a rather impressive split going down hill backwards on my ski .... we learnt better and better control of the skis and were beginning to enjoy ourselves a little.

So up and down and up and down the travellator we went, familiarising ourselves on the skis down the nursery slope, along with children as young as 5, whizzing past us as they cruised downhill, effortless, fearless and carefree.

The difficulty level of the slopes range from the Nursery slope, to Green, Blue, Red and Black with Black being the most challenging, obviously. We took a couple more lessons after the first day (fortunately with someone who spoke better English and who did not refer to using the fingers to control your skis) and by the end of the skiing trip, Steve and I were both rather proud that we had managed to progress beyond the nursery slope and had gone up and come down the Blue and even a bit of the Red slope.

In summary, it was a really, really enjoyable first skiing trip for me and I can't wait to go again. Nevertheless, it is an expensive sport and money were spent on ski wear, ski lift pass, ski gear rental, locker room... and the list goes on...not to mention the cost of travelling involved. But it was absolutely great fun and I highly recommend it !!

This is moi in my full ski gear !!

*notice the specially requested pink skis?

And oh, if you click on the picture to enlarge it, see that man with the stripy black and purple jacket on the right in the background, looking at another man who has fallen on the ground? That's Steve's brother trying to help his 80-year-old dad to get back up on his skis. He's amazing. For two whole days he tried his very best to learn to ski and only on the last day, he eventually gave up and said it's not his cup of tea...


wenn said...

wow, such fun skiing! i never experience that before.

escape2 said...

me likey all the pink ;)

Fely said...

Loving those camo trousers!!! Balances all the pink very nicely :-)

Glad you had fun hun! XX

SJB said...

Will try skiing one day (^_^).

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