Ischgl

We’re back. It’s been a long time since a week has gone by so slowly and I mean that in a very good way. It may sound strange but when we arrived back it honestly felt like we’d been away much longer than 10 days. The girls even looked different to me. You know how one week just flows into the next and one second it’s Monday morning and then before you know it, it’s Monday morning again. Last week was not like that at all. It was a lot of travelling I have to say. We left PE at about 3pm on the Friday afternoon and arrived in Ischgl on Saturday lunchtime after 2 flights (1 to Joburg) 2 trains and an hour’s bus ride.We left Ischgl on Saturday morning at about 10am and got back to PE at about 11am on Sunday so a good 48 hours of travelling. 2 weeks would’ve been better but I couldn’t leave my children for that long, I would miss them way too much.

Ischgl is a gorgeous Alpine village full of Chalet-style hotels. Our hotel was way better than I expected with the most incredible food. We got breakfast, an afternoon “snack” (rolls with cheeses, cured meats, puddings, cakes, soup, you name it) and then a 5 -7 course dinner all beautifully presented. Thank goodness we skied for 6 hours a day as we might not have been able to fit into our ski clothes if we hadn’t. When we arrived the weather was gorgeous – sunny, about 6 degrees and it had snowed a few days before we arrived so conditions were excellent. Towards the end of  the week it started to snow and got very cold. Up to minus 20 on the top of the mountains. Let me tell you that is cold, very, very cold. It’s not that easy to ski when it’s snowing as everything is very white and one can’t see contrast and it’s hard to know exactly how steep everything thing and where all the moguls (mounds of powdery snow) are. I was glad we got to get the feel of skiing again in such ideal conditions and eventhough it was unbelievably cold on the last 2 days, we still did manage to ski all day (with a few welcome breaks in the mountain restaurants for hot chocolate and goulash soup). I’m by nature a control freak and I like to be in my own little comfort zone. Skiing takes me out of my comfort zone completely. It’s not the hardest thing to do in the world but it’s a little tricky if you haven’t grown up skiing all your life. I find it quite tempting to just keep skiing down the gentle beginner slopes but we had 3 days of lessons to get us into the whole swing of things and our instructor was great. I’m not great at listening to Chris tell me what to do but I thrive on group stuff. I’ll try anything and do anything if there are other people also in my position and someone with loads of knowledge and ability showing me what to do. When you’re following other people down a very steep slope you can just look at the person ahead of you and not worry too much about exactly how steep the slope is. Then, you turn around and look back at what you’ve just done and the next time you do the same slope (or one similar) on your own it suddenly doesn’t seem that steep and you start to enjoy it. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it but there were times when I was pretty terrified standing at the top of a slope looking down at how steep it was. I’m not a good enough skier yet for it to come completely naturally. I still have to concentrate most of the time and when it’s so cold it’s sometimes hard to engage one’s brain all the time. I’m the same on scuba diving holidays. I do actually enjoy it but I’m always nervous and slightly terrified to start with. I think it’s a good thing. It’s good for me to move out of my comfort zone and what a feeling of achievement one gets. I can’t wait for our next ski trip and we’ll defintely not wait 7 years before we go again. It’s such an incredible holiday as you’re outside, surrounded by stunning scenery, being active, socialising, eating divine food, getting away from all the stresses of life,etc.,etc. As far as holidays go I can highly recommend it and worth every cent it cost.

It was good to be away from the girls and not have to worry about anyone else for 10 days. We slept on average about 9 or 10 hours a night, didn’t have to worry about grocery shopping, cooking or any mundane stuff like that. We’d wake up at about 7am, have breakfast and start skiing by about 9am or just before. By 4pm we were usually down from the slopes and then had a sauna (every hotel seems to have a sauna area), our snack, a snooze, read a book, maybe go out till supper at 7pm. Blissful. I just have to mention something though. The Europeans sauna naked. I find this completely weird. Naked! Men and women of all ages, shapes and sizes sit in the sauna and then walk around in the sauna area going for a shower, steam bath, whatever absolutely starkers. We didn’t, we kept our bikini’s/costumes on and they probably thought we were weird but I just absolutely couldn’t do it. I know it’s just how they are and what they’re used to but it just doesn’t feel right. Why would you want to sit next to a man that you don’t really know without your clothes on??? Why???? And then see them later on at dinner. No thanks not for me.

Another thing you forget about is the amount the Europeans smoke. I honestly don’t know anyone that smokes anymore and yet there, the number of people smoking is staggering. There you are with these incredible snow-capped mountains all around, this wonderful mountain air and every second person seems to be smoking.

The only blip of the holiday was that I managed to lose our return train ticket (for a group of 6). I have absolutely no idea what happened to it. I am generally a pretty organised person and nothing like that has ever happened to me before. 185 euros later we had a new ticket. Ooops. Thank goodness Chris doesn’t get bothered by stuff like that. I guess we’re even now after his little fender-bender but none of this is helping our building fund. It was great being overseas again but I was also extremely grateful to leave the cold behind and fly back home. As long as we can afford to go on holiday overseas every 2/3 years I will much rather stay right where I am. I was quite envious of some of the other people staying at our hotel that had an 8 or 10 hour drive home (to Belgium or Germany or Holland) while we had a 10 hour flight home but when I got home and we took the girls for a walk and play on the beach and I knew that they were stuck in that cold I was very grateful for my 10 hour flight home.

The girls were absolutely fine. Not one moment’s problem and they’ve been 100% themselves since we got back. I thought Ava might be a bit more clingy or difficult to punish me but clearly granny was an ideal substitue for mommy. I did miss them lots and would love to take them along next time although I’m not sure how they’d handle the cold.

In other wonderful news my niece, Isabella Grace arrived safely this morning. My mom flew down this morning to help with Lara while my SIL is in the hospital and with driving as she had a c-section so no break for her yet. I can’t wait to see a photo. My brother isn’t the best emailer or facebooker so I’m not too sure when we’ll get to see a photo. When I spoke to Richard and my mom earlier my mom hadn’t even taken a photo yet!!!What kind of a granny is she???

In more exciting news (I think) our building should start in about a week’s time. We’ve got a quote from a builder we like and have seen his work and know him personally (he’s a good friend of very good friends’ of ours) and we can afford it so let the demolition begin. We are still waiting for a second quote but we much prefr the guy that we know and the quality of the work he does is better so because we can afford him, we’d much rather go with him even if the other guy is cheaper.

I’ve put some photos on facebook of our trip.

One more thing. Accessorize had a 70% off sale at  Munich airport!!!! If you know Accessorize you’ll know how incredible that is (especially if one has 2 daughters). I could’ve and should’ve bought so much more stuff but I was still reeling a bit from the 185 euro train ticket so held myself back a little. For all those Hello Kitty fans out there you really need to take a trip overseas, you will utterly freak out, the world has gone Hello Kitty crazy.

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