1st of December. The day I’d been waiting for since last December. THE START OF THE SNOWBOARD SEASON!!!
I’d been resting up all the week before (refusing nights out like such an old lady) so I would actually be able to make the most of my 6:45am – 17:00pm snow day on the Saturday. This failed on the Friday night anyway by my managing to stay up with two of my Spanish friends drinking beers until 2am discussing village parties and French films…fail, (but a fun fail at that.)
Next thing I knew my 5:40 alarm was going off and I don’t think I could’ve been more exhausted. I gathered up my beautiful new Burton snowboard, Nike snowboard boots, already packed backpack, and blindly chucked on a combination of snow clothes that I hoped would be appropriately warm later. My friend Sara and I trundled to the tram, queued for the University Snowsports’ (EGUG) bus and 1 and a half hours later we arrived at Les Deux Alpes!
And I cannot explain to you how brilliant it was to finally be back on a mountain! It’s not often that I’m jumping around with excitement at 8am in the morning, especially when I’d only had 4 hours sleep, but this was one of those times. So, at the top of the slopes, eager and grinning I…fell over straight away of course aha. But this immediate error was a blessing in disguise, it meant I got put with a rather attrayant French snowboard instructor, so sure, why not? However he did then proceed to make our group do exercises that made us look and feel like idiots so I won’t expect a marriage proposal based on my own attractiveness that day any time soon. However, by sunset I felt pretty much back to my boarding standard of last year. Sunday brought the prospect of a return to Les Deux Alpes but unfortunately for me this was not meant to be, but only because I’d already booked train tickets to Montpellier. So nursing my bumps and bruises I curled up for another early night to be ready for another fresh start.
Turns out that more than one pre-7am wake up call can only be a bad thing. Ended up waiting for my train at the wrong Grenoble station and missing it…problem. Also, it being a Sunday meant that trains weren’t frequent enough for me to just catch one an hour later, so I had to wait a little while…5 hours…cough. In this time I was woken up from a nap by a drunk man screaming ‘I DON’T HAVE A MOBILE PHONE! / JE N’AI PAS UN PORTABLE!” down his mobile phone… and was contrastingly asked by a lovely old man if I could help him do up his top button and tie because his hands were too shaky. It was just starting to snow on the station platform when I stepped onto my first train. The snowflakes chased me half way to Montpellier, which was more than strange considering I hit the beach when I got there and was greeted with this….
The reason I’d booked to come to Montpellier in the first place was to help my friend Lea take some reference pictures that relate to our ‘Deep’ assignment, but because the weather was nicer than expected whatever photos we took wouldn’t have fit Lea’s brief, which was a shame, but meant I didn’t have to go neck deep into the sea as I’d volunteered to earlier! (Phew…)
We went to go warm up (don’t be completely fooled by the sun) with hot chocolates and crepes, then worked our way back to our hostel. We spent a couple of hours switching between English and French, teaching each other new words/phrases and laughing at each other’s ridiculous attempts. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘pajamas’ as strangely as Lea did but equally I couldn’t pronounce the simplest of French words on occasion e.g. ‘le mur’ ‘the wall’. Next morning we found a cosy restaurant to have a stereotypical French breakfast in before becoming tourists for the day exploring kitsch shops on winding streets punctuated by sunny cafe spots. You may not be a snowy mountain but you’re not bad Montpellier, not bad.
Also, casually befriended a kid and his tiny tiny goat.