Sunday, May 27, 2012

Skiing in Tignes

Early in the morning on Sunday March 18th, (our 6th wedding anniversary and UK Mothers Day), we headed on the shuttle bus to the airport and checked in for our flight to Chambery. I've never seen so many kids on a flight. The plane was 80% families with young kids. The flight was uneventful (good) and we arrived at Chambery but then had to wait for all the other flights to arrive to get our transfer to Tignes. Overall, it was a long travel day with a 2.5 hour bus ride but everyone travelled well. We checked into Chalet Corniche - our home for the next 7 days. It was very nice and the kids were very excited to see real snow. We went to hire skis and boots and lugged them back to the Chalet. The company we travelled with Espirit Ski, had a great schedule of kids dinner at 5:45 and then cocktails and hors d'ourves for adults at 7:30. A baby sitter sat outside the kids bedroom listening to ensure they stayed in bed (was never a problem with our 2)! What a great setup! We had a fabulous week. The kids went off to childcare in the morning and had a 2 hour ski lesson in the afternoon. They were exhausted each night and slept really well, whilst both being keen to go back the next day for more fun. We went to the Tignes swimming pool one afternoon, which was great - having a dip whilst looking out the window at snow covered mountains. Gary and I got our 'ski legs' back (it was our first ski holiday in 5.5 years). Despite doing a black run on the first day (by accident - misread the map!), we had loads of fun and the snow was a delight. On our last day skiing (Saturday 25th), we took the kids in the Gondola up aeroski to have a hot chocolate at the top. What a beautiful place. We then took them down and played in the snow which was exhausting. We dropped them off at lunch time with the childcare team and we went off for our final afternoon's skiing together. We went on a couple of lifts, did a few smooth runs and were heading down on a blue run. I was pointing completely downhill and had the thought that it was a bit further to the bottom than I had originally thought so I'd better put a turn in. I went to turn and obviously misjudged, it went wrong, I crossed my skis and ended up with both skis and 1 pole up the mountain. My initial thoughts were "well that was silly, and I've slightly hurt my knee, I don't think we will ski much more today, what a shame". There was a lovely older French couple who stopped to help me as Gary was down the bottom of the mountain. They rescued my skis and pole and helped me up. I was explaining my knee was a bit sore but I thought it was alright. The man looked at my ski and it was slightly broken. He was able to fix it but warned me that I shouldn't ski much with it as it needed to be looked at. I then tried to clip into my ski. I put my toe of my boot in and went to push my heel down. My whole left leg went to jelly and collapsed underneath me. I freaked out a bit with that and realised I couldn't walk. The kind French couple helped me out, he skied to Gary holding my skis, she took my poles and I slid down on my bottom. We explained it all to Gary and then asked the French couple to call mountain rescue for us. What a saga. Ski patrol came very quickly. I told the guy what happened and he immediately said "ligaments". I was a bit puzzled as I wasn't in much pain but he said it was most probably torn ligaments and sometimes they weren't immediately painful. The ski rescue medic then came to take me down to the bottom. Whee, off in the sled I went, with my leg in an air cast. We were met at the bottom by the ambulance who took us to the Tignes medical centre. Gary skied down and met us there. I was examined by a doctor and he confirmed after x-ray 2 torn ligaments. Once Gary arrived at the medical centre, he was given the pharmacy shopping list and after a while, he was back with a brace, crutches, pain killers and DVT prevention injections. Wow! What a spectacular end to our holiday.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our European holiday - part 1 - England

We last went back to Europe 4 years ago when Alex was just 9 months old. During that trip we found out we were expecting Tara and although we had a great time, it was hard work. So it was with both excitement and trepidation that we prepared for our European holiday. The one thing that concerned me the most was the 14 hour flight and how the kids would manage. Having done the trip by myself just 4 weeks earlier (for a work trip, therefore at the front of the bus), I was nervous about the long flight. Also Gary had been ill for a few weeks before we went with a hacking cough and the cold also was a concern. We left Changi around midnight on March 10th. The kids were troopers, mainly excited about the trip and both were asleep as soon as we boarded, before the plane had got in the air. Alex desperately tried to stay awake but tiredness won out. So far so good. I managed a bit of sleep on the plane as did Gary, but it's still a long flight! We landed at Heathrow in the early hours and got to the car rental around 6am. That was all very smooth although a bit daunting leaving in the dark and wet. However our trusty GPS managed to navigate us onto the M25 and the M1. Both kids got a bit more sleep in the car and the drive to Nottingham was pretty good. We were at Gary's parents place by 8:30 even after a coffee stop. We picked up Ann and continued driving to Chesterfield in the peak district. Jet lag was kicking in fast, so it was great to finally arrive at our 3 bedroom cottage. What a beautiful place. We stayed at Cowclose Barn and it was superb. Comfortable, warm, welcoming - a freshly baked cake to welcome us. Ah, England! We had 3 nights in the Peak District and it was lovely. We had a trip to Chatsworth House (farm animals and great playground) and generally enjoyed catching up with Ann and having family time. On the Wednesday we drove Ann back to Nottingham and headed off towards Glastonbury. The kids were troopers in the car - iPads helped! We checked into our home for the next 3 nights and caught up with Holly - Gary's older sister. We also were fortunate to spend an afternoon with Gary's cousin Sarah, her husband David and daughter Megan. The kids bonded immediately. What a lovely few days. On St Patricks Day we headed off again to Gatwick. We checked into the Marriott at Gatwick airport and were ready for our early morning flight to France the following day.