A Week Away from London


I love to travel. That’s really how I got into writing. Rapidly I realised that I don’t like to write while I travel. I travel to disconnect. Being in London is therefore perfect for writing; I’m sort of travelling, in a static way and am constantly finding new things to write about and to do.

Despite what Mr. Johnson (Samuel, not Boris) may have said about London, there does come a point when it is necessary to leave. If only for a short period and for a specific purpose, but still it is necessary. Even if it is only to remind yourself how lucky you are to live there and that it is the greatest city on Earth.

So, with that in mind, I packed my bags and headed for the French Alps for one of my favourite methods of R&R; skiing. Since I entered the world of work I try and go every year and so in keep with my relatively new annual tradition I headed off to the Three Valleys.

Having lived in France and near the mountains I am quite familiar with the region, so, it is possible to reach the French Alps very easily. Ryanair, Easyjet and Swissair fly into Grenoble, Geneva and Lyon airports for a very reasonable price and the drive, either by taxi transfer or self drive takes between 2 and 4 hours depending on where you are flying from. Regardless of what level of skier you are, the Three Valleys will have something for you. It is the largest ski area in the world and it really shows. This is the third time I have been there and I still haven’t really scratched the surface.

Being a fairly experienced skier, every time I go I hope for those magical conditions that get serious skiers salivating; bluebird skies and feet of powder. Thankfully, this year was no exception. Despite a couple of days of cloud and snowstorms, we had several days of beautiful conditions and lots of fresh snow.

As with any extreme sport, part of the fun is pushing yourself to your limits, so finding myself at the top of a mountain heading over what looked like a potential cliff edge with no idea of what was beyond, only to find fresh snow and lots of it, was a welcome surprise and something of a relief.

It may come as a surprise if you’ve never been, but skiing is pretty seriously physical exercise, despite the fact that you are essentially going downhill for half the day (- the other half is spent on lifts going back up) and so at the end of the day it may seem completely illogical, but there is nothing better than spending a good few hours partaking in ‘apres ski’. That is to say, a few cool beers, some vin chaud or even just a good old glass of red wine or two. Meribel offers some fantastic après ski in the form of one of the infamous La Folie Douce bar on the slopes, as well as myriad pubs, clubs and bars at the bottom of the slopes.

Next month I will be heading off the Jordan for a week, so my next week away from London will be sunshine and sand. An exercise in contrast.