Tag Archives: chamonix

The Vallée Blanche: An Unforgettable Day

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“The starting point of all achievement is desire”

Napolean Hill

I’m not what you’d expect from a girl who’s lived in Chamonix for 4 months. You’d think I’d be a whizz on the skis by now but I’m not afraid to admit that I remain pretty average… Some things click, others don’t and that old chestnut, fear, hasn’t quite been conquered slope-side yet. Which is what made yesterday all the more magical.

A Journey Into The Unknown

Doing The Vallée Blanche, Chamonix’s well-known off-piste ski route – 20km long with a vertical descent of 2700m – was something I was determined to do. I knew I probably wasn’t good enough, I knew it would be tough and frightening but most of all I knew that I’d really regret not doing it before leaving.

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As you can see from the pictures above and below, the views are stunning, with the high mountainous plains providing a sense of wilderness like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It didn’t matter that I nearly toppled down the side of a mountain at one point or that I was tethered like a horse to my patient companion, Mowgli, down the narrow descent at the start – this was a once in lifetime experience I wasn’t prepared to wimp out on. And boy was it worth it.

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Journeying into the largest glaciated domain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc massif, was nothing short of sublime. The sheer scale of the mountains and the giddy heights which see you looking down upon the puffy white clouds is incredible, swamping worries like little ants. No matter how bumpy the slopes were in parts, no matter how many wobbles I had, I couldn’t help laughing at myself – even more so during those moments tinged with terror. My anxieties simply felt so small compared to the grandeur around me.

A fitting end to an unforgettable few months.

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How Can You Apply This In Your Daily Life?

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or weighed down by anxiety, go to nature. The sound of the stream, the bark of the trees, the scale of the mountains – they heal souls. The beauty of nature cracks you open like a nut and relieves those man-made worries which so easily weigh you down.

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#nature

#peace

#beauty

 

 

The Power Of The Female Voice

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“Give people strength and encouragement. Build them up with good words”

Robbie Thomas

Never underestimate the power of encouragement.

When I first tried rock climbing back in May, I was scared stiff. Mind over matter wasn’t sinking in irrespective of how hard I tried to listen to people telling me to relax. But yesterday something clicked. The fear disappeared – so all was left was focus and enjoyment. What a feeling!

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This was down to something simple but powerful.

Encouragement.

More specifically, encouragement from a female voice.

How Is Female Encouragement Special?

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I’d had advice from well-meaning men before and helpful as it was from a technical perspective, it took the voice of a woman to really break through my fear and push me outside my limits. The nurturing that comes from the female heart can be truly transformative – perhaps it’s the safety that comes from feeling that someone understands and truly cares about your vulnerability and is able to really empathise, because, they too, have been there.

How Can We Apply This In Our Daily Lives?

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Never underestimate the power of encouragement or the beauty of using your own experiences to help others overcome challenges. Finding female role models who show you the way in new and sometimes scary situations can be magical – reminding you that the expert in anything was once a beginner.

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#empathy
#encouragement
#femalerolemodels

Thanks again, Maudie Johnson @Loveyogabum

Mountain Healing

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A Starry-Eyed Sight

I have a ‘wow’ moment every Saturday evening driving back from Geneva to Chamonix.

The mountains are spectacular by day but even more so by night, I’d say.

What Gives Mountains Such Dreamy Drama?

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Maybe it’s their snowy peaks illuminated against the night sky or the stars sparkling a little brighter against their sleeping summits. Or maybe it’s the way they wrap themselves around you, imposing and protective all at once as you drive through the valley towards your cosy bed – almost indiscernible but definitely there – stillness and drama combined.

How Do Mountains Nourish The Soul?

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Whatever it is, it’s sublime – and a relieving reminder of how small we are in a big world.

Happy Monday All :)

#mountains #nature #peace

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16 Roof Terraces Worldwide You Have To See!

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Where’s Your Dream Summer Destination?

Poolside, Caribbean cocktail in hand, surfing across beautiful, frothy waves in Hawaii, or whiling away a sunset on a roof terrace overhanging city lights? I could happily indulge in all three, but found myself with plenty of opportunity to sample the latter last year, hopscotching from roof terrace to roof terrace across Madrid. 

What’s So Heady About Being On A Roof?!

The best thing about rooftops is the sense of space and freedom that you find high above the crowds of craziness down below. Peaceful, glamorous (and sometimes with a price tag to match), these treasures really are some of my favourite places on Earth. What’s more, they usually come with cracking views over beautiful cityscapes and warm, starlit climates to match. Romance at its best.

Searching For A Cure For the Monday Blues?

This is a beautiful slide show from Architectural Digest, featuring some of the world’s best designed rooftops. From Miami and Mumbai to Madrid, Chamonix and Paris, these are high points in more ways than one.

I seem to be doing a pretty good job of following them around the world and look forward to sampling Le Panoramic in Chamonix very soon :)

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Chamonix In Pictures

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Four weeks in Chamonix and I’ve survived belly-flopping face-down into the snow (unwitnessed – small mercy), breaking a pair of skis (apparently pretty hard to do at my ‘level’), four hour-long hikes and learning to cook. Those are some of the lows (not really).

The highs are a no-brainer. The daily intake of scenery is nothing short of spectacular. From snow-drenched forests and lake-side views clearer than glass, to breath-taking glaciers heaped in ice-like lava and heavenly amounts of cheese and wine (raclette, fondue, fondue, raclette), this is a place to spend a while.

Below are a few snaps of the pretty little town that goes by the name of Chamonix. A town which is bigger than I’d imagined, where St Bernard dogs drink out of fountains and vin chaud is consumed like water. I can see why the Romantics came here to feel better.

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1. Chamonix Centre

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The quaint little valley town is flanked by the Alps, billowing and calm all to once.

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A stretch of the main shopping street which typifies Chamonix rural-chic. As one of the more prestigious ski resorts, it’s no surprise it’s on the pricier end of the scale…

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The ultimate Christmas location… Chamonix by night.

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La Calèche, a well-known restaurant in Chamonix centre, is one of three excellent restaurants owned by a local entrepreneur. Lined with wood and pictures a-plenty, it’s a super cosy place to while away an evening.

2. The Sky Line

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The views from Brevent, one of the most popular skiing areas in the valley.

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First day back on the slopes after ‘the accident’.

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Trees, trees and more trees, this is the perfect place for nature-lovers and tree huggers.

3. The Glacier

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The view of Glacier des Bossons and its icy, pale turquoise covering. Not a bad way to start your day.

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The view of Chamonix from above, nestled between the Alps.

4. Para-Gliding and Rock-Climbing

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Hiking down the mountain after my ‘accident’, I stumbled across these para-gliders setting sail across the pistes. Although things could only get better after ‘Incident Whiplash’, this was definitely the high-point of the day.

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Rock-climbing in Gaillands between Chamonix Centre and Les Houches. Cold on the hands but super fun.

5. The River

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The River L’Avre runs the length of Chamonix. Not a bad view from home and lovely to wake up to the rushing sounds of nature.

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6. The Lake

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The stunning Lake Gaillands with its mirror-like reflection of the mountains is hard to beat for wow factor.

7. The Forest

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The Gaillands Forest nestles behind the lake and is a beautiful place for a run.

8. Hiking A-Plenty

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Innocuous this may look, but this was the scene of a four hour hike that may have involved more than a literal stumbling block… The moral of the tale… don’t forget to use your poles properly… and be prepared to feel unfit even if you count yourself ‘sporty’ (I blame the altitude…)

Interesting fact – hiking is, apparently, a wonderful form of couples’ therapy (presumably the making up part makes up for the arguments which ensue on the way up)!

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A little friend I found on the easier hike near Les Bossons. Surrounded by snow-covered trees, this really is Christmas Heaven. Like something from Narnia, I half expected elf-like animals to hop out from the undergrowth. Scenery like this is the perfect distraction from exercise!

9. The Slopes

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In the bubble on the way up Brevent to the safety of the blues slopes. Never trust a man who tells you to go on a black run on day one… Bad idea…

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One of the chair lifts on Brevent where blue slopes abound – perfect for experts in clumsiness such as myself.

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The skis I managed not to break…

And last but not least….

10. Apres Ski O’Clock

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Tick tock tick tock – vin chaud o’clock. Whatever the hour, with bars a-plenty slope-side, elevensies and afternoon ‘tea’ abound!

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Some delicious treats from a local bakery… A dangerous place to pass with an empty stomach…

French Word Of The Day!

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Exiger - To demand / require

Wider Context

Le rétablissement du pays va exiger un engagement de la communauté internationale - Restoring the country will require the commitment of the international community.

Nous avons le droit de les poser et d’exiger des réponses des autorités américaines - We have a right to ask questions and demand answers from the US authorities.

exiger qch – to insist on stg

exiger beaucoup de – to make great demands on sb

exiger son dû – to demand one’s pound of flesh

French Word Of The Day!

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faire des bêtises – to do something silly / to play the fool

Nous savons tous que, dans leur exubérance, des jeunes peuvent parfois s’écarter du droit chemin et faire des bêtises - We all know that young people, in their exuberance, might sometimes be led astray and do something foolish or stupid.

Synonyms - Faire l’idiot, faire le zouave, faire l’imbécile.