I’ve been away. Two weeks out of the city and into the fresh air of the Alpes for a week of energetic skiing at Chamonix, a couple of days exploring Geneva before venturing further north for brisk walks beside the Alster lake in Hamburg.
I love the buzz of city living, but escaping to the outdoors is such a refreshing and invigorating change! Even though it was later in the season than our previous visits, there was still plenty of snow on the vast ski fields surrounding Chamonix. First day up on the mountain the early clouds prised themselves off the mountain tops and there in all its snow covered glory Mont Blanc sparkled in the early spring sunshine, and stayed that way for the next few days. On our last day light cloud returned but through it (and our goggles) we enjoyed a great view of the partial solar eclipse as we rode the chairlift – a fantastic sight.
I’ve confessed before that I’m not a proficient skier, nor have I been an avid fan; it has always seemed to be a lot of clobber and discomfort to slither down a slope with little, if any, control and a bit more than a healthy dose of fear. But this time was different. For a start the boots seemed to fit better, the ski bindings weren’t such dang-fangled things to get in and out of, I felt more familiar, even a little bit confident. Starting out where I left off last year everything fell into place so that I conquered the slopes designated red for difficult on the Balme field. (Maybe conquered is a slight exaggeration – there were a few spills.) It was exhilarating and remarkably picturesque skiing in the sunshine along ski lanes winding down a forested valley. Oh the serenity!, and I was tickled pink to have added a few new skills to my (old dog’s) repertoire of tricks.
We farewelled Chamonix and made the short train, train, and bus trips to Geneva. After a week of energetic skiing in the mountains any remaining cobwebs were swept away with lashings of freshly chilled lakeside air as we walked along the promenade for a glimpse at some of the international organisations located there: World Trade (WTO), European HQ for the UN, International Red Cross, and the World Meterological Org (WMO) amongst them.
Leaving my DB in Geneva for his meetings at WTO, I headed off to Hamburg for some quality mother-daughter time with my Kiwi-hamburger.
There was no let up in Project Invigoration! She had me up at 6am and out walking around the Alster lake en route to Boot Camp. To be clear, she ran as her warm up and did the group boot camp with trainer Ollie from Original Bootcamp – which did seem to be quite fun despite the occasional groans and grunts coming from the participants – while I followed at a brisk walk. Inspired by the early but definite signs of spring we weren’t the only ones out and about. On the weekend the track around the Alster is a highway for runners, the grassy verges are alive with dogs chasing balls and sticks, while the lake ripples with yachts racing along, every now and then their sails ruffling noisily and then snapping taut again as they tack back and forth into the bracing wind.
After two weeks of fresh air and lashings of outdoor exercise I’ve been well and truly invigorated and inspired by the beauty of nature.