Italy comes visiting

Well, as usual things mainly focus around work so day-to-day goings-on aren’t as interesting as they were when I was country-hopping or walking across Europe for charity. Talking of the charity walk, I had a visitor over the weekend – Giuliana who put me up for a night when I was in Turin and had incredibly sore feet. She brought with her a food package from her lovely parents, who’d also accommodated me for one evening when I passed through Cùneo. At which time my feet were only a bit achey.

She arrived late on Thursday evening, not helped by the mont Blanc tunnel having roadworks inside. Thankfully she got to the Jekyll just in time for the comedy show starting. This was our late work’s Christmas do – it’s far too busy around Christmas itself for an office party in Chamonix, so Sheridan delayed it until now and we had a nice three-course meal and tickets for the comedy night. Giuly’s single ticket was only 10 Euros in advance (meal and ticket was €35) and the entertainment wasn’t too bad at all. Well, two out of three comedians were funny. The other just… wasn’t. Still not bad for a night out.

We didn’t stay out on the beer too long as Giuly was only here for a couple of days and had a carful of ski equipment to use. Yes – despite being a lovely person, she’s a skier. I suppose we all have our faults.

I’d changed my shifts so I had Friday off and after ferrying lost luggage around on my day off a couple of weeks ago, I’d scrounged an extra half-day as well. This meant we had pretty much all the daylight on Friday and Saturday to get out and play on the snow. Friday was spent up Brévant and Fleger, where we sunbathed at lunchtime at around 2400m. A beautiful big dog came and sat with us, begging scraps off our sandwiches. I also rediscovered how much fun sledging is by sitting on my board and scooting down some smaller hills!

On the way back down to Chamonix in the bubble lift I spotted an Ibex. I saw loads of chamoix when I was trekking in France and Italy, but I’d not seen one of these smaller deer-like creatures before. It just stood on the slopes and watched the cars as they slid by on the cable above.

Back in town, I introduced Giuly to the gastranomic wonder that is Midnight Express which she enjoyed. Praise indeed from an Italian! To settle the evening off, we watched Nancy Drew which was much better than either of us expected. An early night as we wanted to be up early to dodge the Saturday crowds.

This, of course, didn’t happen. But we tactically dodged the crowds by getting on the bus later than anyone else. It was still busy – the busiest I’ve seen all season as I’m normally out midweek – but not too bad. I expect things to pick up further next week with the UK half terms. Today’s trip was to La Tour, which I’ve heard very highly spoken of amongst the skiers on our staff.

Giuly loved it, I wasn’t so keen. It’s definitely skier country, with lots of steep, hard snow and a couple of long, shallow runs. Shallow and flat are very hard for boarding on, which is a shame as the scenery up there is fantastic. It’s just hard to concentrate on it when you’re trying very hard not to catch an edge or swerve and shove a group of three skiers off the edge of a narrow path as they undertake you. tempting as it may be.

I headed back into town at lunchtime as I wanted to watch the match on telly (I wish I hadn’t), but Giuly stayed there until they virtually kicked her off the mountain. I had work in the afternoon and was very glad to come home to a home-cooked Italian meal! My compliments to the chef!

As I had airport duty on the Sunday morning, it was another early night. I don’t think I woke Giuly as I snuck out past the bunks at 6:45 and when I got back later in the day she told me she’d gone back up Brévent for a few hours. We had a quick wander to the MBC for a sneaky beer (great site-brewed beers, excellent food, crappy service) where Giuly caught the last ten minutes of the Italy Six Nations game (England won, but who’s bothered about egg-chasing? Really?).

And that was about it for my Italian visitor. She headed off and hopefully dodged most of the queues on the way home. I crashed out and watched some old episodes of Spooks while blowing my runny nose into a hanky. Yup, I’ve had a cold the last few days (far away from man-flu, but annoying all the same) but I have to say that getting out in the snow and fresh air really seems to have helped.

So another visitor down and a couple of weeks free before Esther and her friend come down from Amsterdam. At least I know she’s used to bunk beds as we shared a hostel room in Darwin a few times!

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