The pangs of wanderlust linger, even now that our friends in Europe are done sharing photos of their gorgeous summer holidays. All summer Facebook reminded me of our adventures in the past few years. Now I’m tackling a photo book to recap our 2017, which is a bittersweet task. We traveled a lifetime’s-worth that year. This life is so different, but we’re so grateful to have had the chance to live that one, too.
One of our best getaways was to the mountaintop resort of Avoriaz in the French Alps. “Let’s escape the heat and crowds of Italian summer,” we thought. We booked the kids into camp, loaded up the mountain bikes, and drove toward Mont Blanc with smiles on our faces.
Hot spots for skiing turn into superb mountain biking destinations in the summer. My husband upped his downhill game when we visited the previous year and was prepared for some epic mountain biking.
I looked forward to hiking and just chillin’ in general, away from the siren song of chores and yard work. The kiddos were off learning new sports and activities in the mornings and afternoons, with a couple of hours for lunch as a family.
Then the clouds dropped in and stayed. And rained. And it was perfect. The boys still had their fun camp. The mountain biking was cancelled. So my husband and I lounged. I read books, he played Zelda. We had coffee and pastries. We went to the spa. All of which is as much “nothing” as we can stand to do. It was great.
It was also great when the clouds cleared. The views are spectacular. The air, fresh. Visitors aren’t allowed to drive within the resort (in the winter horse-drawn carriages bring your luggage to your apartment), so there is no sense of busy-ness. It feels like proper vacation.
To me, a “proper vacation” in France requires a visit to a market to buy cheese. We found some Beaufort in Morzine and couldn’t/still can’t shut up about how good it tasted.
We also went paragliding. It was my husband’s idea. I spent many weeks mentally preparing for the experience –– something about jumping off the side of a mountain and floating through the air really terrified me. But I promised myself to go about this year with a little more courage and agreed to do it. To hang somewhere between the clouds and the trees, to see exactly how small life on the ground is, is an extraordinary experience. I’m glad to have done it. Now I never have to do it again.
Really tops? The kids’ mountain biking school. Seeing our 6-year-old tear it up on an obstacle course made us feel like badass parents.
We’re hoping to find some place in the Rockies (or perhaps even Utah, you don’t have to say it, Sis) where we can have such a great time. We’re happy in the mountains.