Chamonix

And before you go mis-pronoucin’, it’s CHAMONIX – as in shaw-mah-nee. Ever heard of it? It’s in France.

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OH how I miss the Nard Dog…

Anyways, back to the vacay.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I married a mountain-man. A crazy, oxygen-filled, iron-lunged, skiing, ice-climbing, beer-drinking sonofagun. And ever since this Heeman was a wee-man (baahaa) he has wanted to ski in Chamonix. And being the kind of gal who will NEVER turn down a trip to France ever, I obliged and went along.

Our flight over could not have been more perfect, save for flying first-class international in one of those mini-suites where they do everything except birth you a child. We left around 2 pm out of the ol’PDX, carpet and all, and 1o hours later arrived in Amsterdam. We jumped on another hour-ish flight to Geneva and were picking up our rental car in no time!

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The Renault was a nice lil ride and the drive to our hotel in Vallorcine (about 20 miles outside of Chamonix) was wonderful, until we realized we had missed our exit…

Many of the roads in France are on tolls which is FINE when you have a credit card that works or euro. We had neither. And after we flipped a B to head back to where we had missed the turn, we immediately hit a toll booth. Assured by the rental car company that our Visa would be fine, we were very surprised to learn that we had no viable currency to pay with. Yippeee!

“Autre card!!?” (Other card!?) yelled the middle-aged French women through the crackly speaker.

“No autre card!!” we retorted (for the 10th time I might add).

After 10 minutes of explaining we DID NOT have euro OR another card, she had us hold up our Passports to the closed-circuit cameras so she could write down our home address and bill us. Whatevs, madame.

After spouting off over 20 cuss words we were on our way and headed in the right direction!

Upon arriving in Chamonix we immediately found a petit cafe (get used to me using French where I can here, folks) and ordered a cheesy, delicious hot sandwich with pomme frites!

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We pinched our little selves and just couldn’t believe we were there. Colossal mountains just spewed out of the ground, and felt like they were just feet away. Somber French couples, sporting his and her messy buns, being chic and chain-smoking while probs laughing at my clothes from the Gap.

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We stayed at the Residence and Spa Vallorcine, which was quaint and perfect. Our room was a decent size, with a little sitting area, dining table and kitchenette. The bedroom was small and the bed was even smaller. I kindof felt like Shaq sleeping in that tiny European bed.

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The only thing that would have made the room perfect would have been carpet. You guys KNOW I love me some carpet, especially in cold environments such as Chamonix. The cold tile flooring did not help the fact that the heaters in France are just NOT up to snuff. I need that central heat, yo.

The first night we threw on our ski sweaters and I debated making Bryan call me Bunny (or Muffy) all night. I would call him Carl…as in,”Oh Carl, we just have to order the brie!”

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We went to the cutest little restaurant in Vallorcine (one of like, three restaurants) and ordered fondue, a goat cheese salad and wine, obvi.

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 The next few days went something like this:

Wake up around 7, consume croissants and/or pain du chocolate.

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Gear up

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Go skiing

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Ski more

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Annnndd ski some more

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Stop for café au lait

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Make some videos

Have lunch

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A bit more skiing

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Apres

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Our late afternoons and evenings were spent in a variety of ways. A couple of days, it was shopping around Chamonix, buying macarons and stopping for wine and crepes.

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If you can believe it, my favorite crepe turned out to be plain ol’ sugar. Something about the crunch I think. Another funny thing that happened in Cham, was that I got a bit of altitude sickness. Nothing crazy – just a bit of dizziness paired with a loss of appetite. You can imagine how great is was to lose my appetite while in FRANCE! No – actually it sucked. And when it finally came back I was hungry AF.

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One day, we took the tram up to the Aguille du Midi which takes you to about 13,000 feet, which makes it the highest cable car in Europe. It is interesting how I never learn my lesson, agreeing to do these things. The St.Louis arch = meltdown. Top of the Space Needle = no thanks. Yet somehow I let Bryan whisk me up in a shaky tram and walk along a staircase clinging to the side of a precipitous cliff. Oh, and did I mention the steel staircase was see-through? I would have snapped a pic had it not been for the mounting terror surging through my body.

Dinners out occurred daily and the fare ranged from elegant French cuisine to the nachos I ordered on our last night, made with DORITOS. God bless those clever little Frenchies.

I was left on my own a few times and Of COURSE y’all know I frequented the French Pharmacies I was so excited about. I spent a good hour in one, picking up product after product and trying unsuccessfully to read ingredient lists. I did ended up with a few GEMS so stay tuned for a WHOLE post on that, mon cheres!

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I also did a fair amount of pretending to be a cool photographer, taking pics that were all arty and deep. Really, my point-and-shoot and I just kinda mozied around, taking sub-par pics.

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It’s meeeeeeeee

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So there you have it, our super -relaxing ski vacay in the French Alps…I think it’s time to go back to Hawaii :).

Whistler 2015

But first, let’s take a mome to address the fact that I have been skiing five times this year. FIVE. I’m pretty sure that’s worthy of the Guiness Book.

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Anyways, if you can get over the fact that I am basically Lindsay Vonn then let’s move on. We had a wonderful long weekend in Whistler a few weeks ago and it is high time I write about it.

We went with our pals the Lipes (see Melissa’s post on the trip here) and it could not have been more fun. Well, maybe if you added in a couple a’ sassy gays and five rounds of tequila, but STILL. I love these three humans and the fact that we hadn’t hung in nearly 7 months made this reunion that much better.

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This time around, we rented a two bedroom/two bathroom  condo in Whistler Village with our own hot tub! Since we had a kidlet, this set-up was absolutely perfect and the hot tub was much-appreciated after a long day on the slopes.

After the Lipes’ arrival the first night, we were all hungry so we did what any Canadian would do – we went out and ordered POUTINE. French fries + cheese curds + gravy.

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M’s voraciousness perfectly captured all of our feelings on the dish:

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The next day, Kyle and Bryan hit the mountain early while Melissa, M and I scampered around Whistler Village. Watching this little girl grow up has been such a joy and her almost 3-year-old repartree is just too much. Example:

Me: “What do you think about skiing, M?”

M:”I CAN DOOOO IT!!!”

We mozied slowly toward the base of the mountain, pausing to gather tiny globs of snow, inspect snowboards and skis and pet doggies. We had lunch together and the combination of the sun, 2 pitchers of beer and burgers made for a wonderful afternoon.

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That night, we went to a brew pub for dinner where Bryan’s artistic skills were tested at the demand of M’s requests for Anna and Elsa from Frozen. I have to say I was impressed at Bryan’s representation of the braids! Such a talent.

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The next day was Bry and I’s ski day. We waited in line at the base of the gondola for about 30 minutes (ugh!) and the start of the morning included my usual problems and subsequent complaints. Boots too tight, boots to loose, my heel moving too much, my toes being numb – you get it. We had luncheon at the “fancy” restaurant Christine’s where we shared a salad and a burger on a pretzel bun. Two glasses of wine later and I was ready for a couple more runs.

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We called it quits around 4 pm and immediately headed back to the condo for a hot-tub party.

The next day we said our goodbyes and while Bryan checked out I popped into the drugstore to obviously check out the cosmetics. As I was browsing, I was elated to see ONE solo bottle of BIODERMA on the shelves. I gasped and probably scared the people next to me. I paid $22 for this size and of course promptly went outside to take selfies with it. Hahahaaaa I’m so weird.

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the eyebrows are soo bad

 

Then we made the 7 hour drive back to Portland. Per usual, Bryan drove home and I watched Netflix (a new show called The Fall! SO GOOD). These weekends in Whistler are NEVER long enough – maybe next year we’ll do week!

OH, CANADA.

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