Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Ski Report... Day 1

Yesterday we left the comforts (and warmth) of Barcelona to once again head north to France.  Only this time we were driving and heading just over the border to La Llagonne in the Pyrenees to do some skiing.  We rented a chalet and Jake was coming along as well, so lots of family fun!

And so we packed up our rented VW Touran minivan (which is soooo much smaller than a US minivan mind you) and headed a little over 2 hours north to France.  Literally the car was packed within an inch of free space.  I don't know how we did our road trip this summer with 3 adults and 4 kids in a car this size because we could barely fit our family of 5 in it.  In typical Marcus roadtrip vacation style, Liam vomited not just once but twice.  So I spent a chunk of time twisted around in my seat in order to hold the puke bag under his chin - thankfully I made in time both times.  And conveniently each time we were near either a field or a rest area so we could pull over for additional puking.  Ah the joys of parenthood and a carsick child :)

Liam with his DS, oh so content among the luggage - he's wearing his Barca shirt that he also wore the day before and is all time absolute favorite shirt now... I have a feeling you will be seeing a lot of pictures with him in this shirt!

Did not hear a single word from Aidan in the entire 2+ hr trip, even when we stopped for Liam to puke

Josh carrying Liam thru a field after he threw up trying to calm him down... what a great daddy!

The owners of this chalet do not speak any English, which given they are French is understandable... but they do speak Spanish. And so many of our emails have been in Spanish and I almost prefer they were in French, their native tongue. Because regardless I had to google translate most of the emails and their Spanish was a bit rough with many words not translating at all which on my end required a lot of guesswork. We weren't 100% sure if there would be sheets, pillows or towels supplied. In the end there were sheets and pillows though I'm glad we brought our own since they are comfier but there were no towels so really glad I brought those!!

We were supposed to call when we passed a certain spot on the way here... I did and tried to understand in Spanish if we were supposed to meet him at the chalet or a meeting spot near there. We just went right to the chalet where the owner's wife happened to be waiting - she asked if we had seen her husband and so I guess we were supposed to meet him somewhere else... oh well! We made it and that's all that matters.

We had seen pictures of the chalet on the internet when we rented it but like anyone who is good with a camera or has any marketing skills, the reality of the chalet left a bit to be desired. The chalet is pretty much the way we pictured it with the exception of the very rustic kitchen - a refridgerator that's probably slightly smaller than the one I had in my college dorm room and an oven that's more of the microwave style that's seated on top of a small table - not exactly prime cooking space. But then, I'm not much of a prime cook anyways and rustic is a part of the vacation, right?

Anyways, we had trouble connecting to the internet which was a bit frustrating and the language barrier wasn't helping. I had a bit of a panic about that but this morning we were able to rectify it with the owner's son who lives downstairs. Oh that was the other slight disappointment. When Josh and I were looking for a place to stay we really wanted a stand alone chalet so that the kids and Jake could run wild and free and we wouldn't be disruptive to anyone. No where in the ad for the chalet did it say "an apartment within a house" - I double checked it this morning. And the owner's son has aggressive dogs himself so we cannot let Jake roam free in the yard. It's a little disappointing as that was part of the trip that we were looking forward to. However, it's something that we won't let disrupt us and knowing that the son looks to be maybe 20 years old, I'm not overly concerned with us being too loud or anything.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning and took Jake for a little walk. It was peaceful and serene and reminded me of why we did this trip. The mountains in the distance only added to the splendor of the area and we are looking forward to starting our exploration today. It's almost 11AM so we've gotten a late start but given we have 10 more days, I'm not too worried. We're going to check out the ski area today to find out how we get the kids signed up for lessons, rentals, etc. And of course a trip to Carrefour to get some more groceries as Josh went last night to get some essentials we hadn't brought with us and said the local Casino supermarket had a lot to be desired (let's just say that my spaghetti last night was made with hamburger from a hamburger patty - enough said). So nothing super exciting planned, but nice and mellow. We're also waiting for Aidan to lose yet another tooth. It was "almost" out during our trip last week but it's still hanging out... by a thread. I'm guessing it will come out today which will make it his second tooth lost on vacation - his last being when we went to Marbella and Gibraltar at the end of October.

The view from the back deck of our chalet

The view from the front

Liam still wearing his Barca shirt (he wore it to bed too) and relaxing with Jake this morning

I'm sure there will be more to catch up on later once we've explored the ski area and the area in general.  Have a great day and hope most of you are enjoying some much needed time off!


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